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Dec 23, 2019, 08:53 PM
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Let's discuss: four sites were granted permission for ops > 400' in controlled aspc


Let's discuss: four sites were granted permission for ops > 400' in controlled airspace

Discussion has been splattered over at least four different threads; we might as well have a dedicated thread.

From http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/ama...a-fixed-sites/ --

Quote:
At the beginning of December, AMA participated in a safety risk management (SRM) panel at the national level, in Washington, DC, with the FAA and other stakeholders to address the 400 altitude issue in controlled airspace. As a result of the national SRM panel, the FAA selected four AMA clubs in controlled airspace to participate in SRM panels at the local level.

The clubs were selected by the FAA because they had requested to operate at flights over 400 AGL at their fixed site. These panels included the AMA club contacts, AMA HQ, FAA national, local Air Traffic Operations and other stakeholders. During these panels, safety data and air traffic patterns were looked at based on the location of the fixed site to the airport. Based on the analysis, mitigations were discussed to operate safely at higher altitudes. The four clubs that participated in these panels have each been granted flights over 400 at their fixed site in controlled airspace.

Moving forward, the FAA will be working on a case by case scenario to select clubs to participate in local SRM panels to grant flights over 400. This will be a slow, lengthy process but congress recognizes AMAs longstanding safety record which is why the FAA has shown flexibility in working with our fixed flying sites.
Last edited by aeronaut999; Dec 28, 2019 at 12:10 PM. Reason: remove word "waivers" from title
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Dec 23, 2019, 09:01 PM
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Here's what I have to say:

1) What sites were they? Enquiring minds want to know. I wonder how far each is from the nearest actual runway surface for full-scale? And how high do they get to go?

2) "This will be a slow, lengthy process"-- I bet we can figure on a year minimum for any results for most sites-- and I bet if flying at the site is not limited to AMA members only, the FAA will be less likely to seriously consider the request to operate above 400' even if local ATC is happy to sign a LOA granting a higher ceiling. Too much chance of a rogue operator coming in.

That's just me guessing though.

3) I'll be awfully curious to hear what the "mitigations" were. I wonder if "we've had a LOA with local ATC to operate up to 1000' AGL for years and there have never been any issues; all the instrument approaches and other established traffic patterns are well above that altitude at this location" would be sufficient, or if further "mitigations" would be required?

Maybe a dedicated spotter?

4) ( deleted )

5) Some people have already expressed that they will be very irritated if one of the sites turns out to be a certain site in Indiana. But sounds like the FAA decided in advance to start with only a few sites; might as well start with that as one of them, as well as any other, no? I'm glad this is happening even if it the initial four are only the spearhead and it will take a long time for the good stuff to trickle down to more clubs. Now, if they had only picked ONE, well... that might not look so good.

(EDIT: we've been reminded that the Muncie site is below controlled airspace, not in controlled airspace. The airspace there is Class G (uncontrolled) to 700' and thus doesn't seem to fit the wording of what the AMA blog post is describing here. See posts #10 and 11 in this thread for more.)

(EDIT: the four sites have now been revealed; Muncie is not one. See post #37 in the present thread -- https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...3#post43458949 )

6) Don't forget that we're all waiting for some good news about flying higher than 400' in UN-controlled airspace as well. That would actually have the greatest effect on the most fliers.
Last edited by aeronaut999; Dec 27, 2019 at 11:44 AM.
Dec 23, 2019, 09:06 PM
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Lufo's Avatar
Links to the other 4 threads where this is discussed please.

For now, not much to talk about until AMA reveals a dyed in the wool process that fixed sites can use. I expect it is a long and arduous task getting approval and most clubs likely will not go to the hassle to get approval.
Dec 24, 2019, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeronaut999
Here's what I have to say:

1) What sites were they? Enquiring minds want to know. I wonder how far each is from the nearest actual runway surface for full-scale? And how high do they get to go?

2) "This will be a slow, lengthy process"-- I bet we can figure on a year minimum for any results for most sites-- and I bet if flying at the site is not limited to AMA members only, the FAA will be less likely to seriously consider the request to operate above 400' even if local ATC is happy to sign a LOA granting a higher ceiling. Too much chance of a rogue operator coming in.

That's just me guessing though.

3) I'll be awfully curious to hear what the "mitigations" were. I wonder if "we've had a LOA with local ATC to operate up to 1000' AGL for years and there have never been any issues; all the instrument approaches and other established traffic patterns are well above that altitude at this location" would be sufficient, or if further "mitigations" would be required?

Maybe a dedicated spotter?

4) I'm glad they're keeping the locations under wraps for now. Till I hear otherwise, I'll assume one of them is my local field. Yay!

5) Some people have already expressed that they will be very irritated if one of the sites turns out to be a certain site in Indiana. But sounds like the FAA decided in advance to start with only a few sites; might as well start with that as one of them, as well as any other, no? I'm glad this is happening even if it the initial four are only the spearhead and it will take a long time for the good stuff to trickle down to more clubs. Now, if they had only picked ONE, well... that might not look so good.

6) Don't forget that we're all waiting for some good news about flying higher in UN-controlled airspace as well. That would actually have the greatest effect on the most fliers.
What some may fail to realize is that when Congress set 400’ by law, they did give the FAA the ability to waive that if certain criteria were met. Problem is, now the FAA needs to determine the criteria. So, to that end, they are going to start slow. Hence why only 4 sites now, which will allow them to work out both the criteria as well as the process to approve such.

As far as Muncie, who cares if they are on the list? They are no less worthy, and arguably more, since they are really the only CBO for recreational the FAA is working with, and Muncie is co-located with their headquarters. If there is going to be a process for all clubs to achieve a waiver, then doesn’t it make sense to have the national organization have first hand knowledge of the process?

Hopefully yours is one of them. I’m going to check with some friends up at the Fox Valley club, and see if they are as well.

RStrowe
Dec 24, 2019, 08:01 AM
Hey Guys, Watch This.......
mike2663's Avatar
Discussing hearsay isn't really productive is it?

Mike
Dec 24, 2019, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike2663
Discussing hearsay isn't really productive is it?

Mike
No, its not. We need to be patient while the FAA works out this process and criteria.

RStrowe
Dec 24, 2019, 08:05 AM
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aeronaut999's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lufo
Links to the other 4 threads where this is discussed please.

For now, not much to talk about until AMA reveals a dyed in the wool process that fixed sites can use. I expect it is a long and arduous task getting approval and most clubs likely will not go to the hassle to get approval.
Well, you are posting in one of them; you said this thread was needless and also that it was important to keep the location of the sites secret or it might sink the whole process. Maybe not a practical stance to take in the internet age?
Dec 24, 2019, 08:12 AM
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atreis's Avatar
Generally speaking, secrecy is bad. It leads to mistrust, concerns of favoritism, nepotism, etc.

Generally speaking, releasing information about a process before that process is fully baked is bad. It leads to confusion, questions, churn, mistrust, concerns about actual requirements and chances at success, etc.

Sometimes one has to choose one's poison, knowing that people will be unhappy either way. This seems like one of those times. As for the 3 other sites leaking - if they had to sign an NDA they might not leak. The general members of the club might not even be aware.
Dec 24, 2019, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RStrowe
What some may fail to realize is that when Congress set 400 by law, they did give the FAA the ability to waive that if certain criteria were met. Problem is, now the FAA needs to determine the criteria. So, to that end, they are going to start slow. Hence why only 4 sites now, which will allow them to work out both the criteria as well as the process to approve such.
I take your point about the FAA wanting to take it slow when exploring the idea of raising the ceilings they've recently imposed via the LAANC grid etc. However a small correction is needed here--

Actually the law ("recreational exemption") says nothing at all about a 400' ceiling in controlled airspace. 400' is only mandated for uncontrolled airspace. For (most) controlled airspace, the recreational exemption states that "prior authorization" is needed, which presumably is a license for the FAA to set whatever altitude ceiling they deem suitable each time they issue that authorization, regardless of whether that "prior authorization" is granted by the LAANC system, or by the blue-dot system for recognized fixed sites, or by any other means. Up till now they've set the upper limit in controlled airspace at 400', but not because any law or regulation makes any reference to a 400' ceiling in controlled airspace. It's just the number they've deemed suitable.

Steve
Last edited by aeronaut999; Dec 24, 2019 at 01:50 PM.
Dec 24, 2019, 08:39 AM
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The AMA site is not within controlled airspace. They are located in Class G with a ceiling of 700 feet.
Dec 24, 2019, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray93J
The AMA site is not within controlled airspace. They are located in Class G with a ceiling of 700 feet.
GOOD POINT; thanks for pointing that out. I knew that once.

The wording of the AMA blog posts SUGGESTS that the 4 chosen clubs are in airspace that is controlled to the surface, as opposed to clubs that are seeking permission to operate in controlled airspace above a Class G ceiling, (which would mean they must ALSO be seeking permission to operate in uncontrolled airspace above 400', so they could get to the Class G ceiling), although I'd say there's some chance that the language of the release is a little imprecise or inaccurate and Muncie is one of the sites after all. Actually that would make me really happy, to know the FAA is finding a way to get around the language of the "recreational exemption" which PRESCRIBES a 400' limit in uncontrolled airspace. Probably not what's happening though.

Steve
Last edited by aeronaut999; Dec 24, 2019 at 02:00 PM.
Dec 24, 2019, 08:43 AM
Hey Guys, Watch This.......
mike2663's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RStrowe
No, it’s not. We need to be patient while the FAA works out this process and criteria.

RStrowe

it's already being discussed in other threads. Not to mention we're discussing hearsay. Never a good thing.


Mike
Dec 24, 2019, 08:57 AM
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Lufo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aeronaut999
Well, you are posting in one of them; you said this thread was needless and also that it was important to keep the location of the sites secret or it might sink the whole process. Maybe not a practical stance to take in the internet age?
Wrong. Go back and reread that post...I never said anything about keeping the sites a secret.

As mentioned by others, everything is hearsay about the waivers; until AMA makes an announcement about the process there is nothing to discuss....but hearsay. Hearsay is not advocacy, no where near advocacy.
Dec 24, 2019, 09:00 AM
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Right, so stand by for more thread moving? At least I was smart enough not to put "AMA" in the title this time, so where will they move this one to?
Dec 24, 2019, 09:00 AM
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Lufo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray93J
The AMA site is not within controlled airspace. They are located in Class G with a ceiling of 700 feet.
Precisely.

Does someone really think they are going to get a 1200 foot waiver a mile away from an airport and in the flight line?

This was not a cut and dry arrangement with the FAA; too much speculation about these four arrangements is a bad thing and may lead others to a false sense of what they can do or get away with. Rest assured the FAA is not handing out waivers like candy at Halloween.


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