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FAA DroneZone - first experience - some questions

Mavic Mac

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I needed to fly in controlled class D airspace near CEF (Westover Air Reserve Base). This airport does not participate in LAANC so my only option was DroneZone. I have never applied for authorization before.Yesterday I applied for the authorization. I have read that it may take a while to get the authorization approved. Based on that I requested a start date of 12/7/19 with an ending date of 3/31/20 and flights limited to 75' AGL and 1/10 mile radius from my launch point
Much to my surprise I received a call from the FAA this morning. The representative I spoke with said after reviewing my application they made the following changes.
1. Start date is today's date 12/4/19
2. End date is 12/03/21
3. Wide spread authorization - covers the entire controlled airspace for CEF.

They also listed the below Special Provisions.

My questions:
Is it unusual to get authorization this quick ?
Are these special provisions pretty typical, especially the one concerning direct two way radio communication and emailing the day prior?

As always thanks in advance for your replies.

2. SCHEDULE OF FLIGHT OPERATIONS:
a. This Certificate of Waiver or Authorization and the Special Provisions shall be in effect between civil sunrise and civil sunset local time.
b. This airspace authorization does not relieve the remote pilots from the responsibility to check the airspace they are operating in and comply with all restrictions that may be present in accordance with see 14 CFR 107.45 and 107.49 (a)(2), such as restricted and Prohibited Airspace, Temporary Flight Restrictions, etc.
c. This authorization does not give permission to enter the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR), Special Security Instruction (SSI) that overlies Westover Air Reserve Base. Location and contact information for the TFR SSI is depicted on the FAA website: Legacy UAS Data Delivery System. Proponent must request permission and receive authorization via the contacts listed on the website prior to entering the TFR SSI.
d. To prevent sUAS contact with Special VFR (SVFR) operations, sUAS operations are not authorized when there is a ceiling of less than 1,000 feet AGL and/or visibility less than three (3) statute miles without specific authorization from CEF ATCT. These requests will be considered on a caseby-case basis.
e. If this authorization was granted using UAS Facility Map altitudes, prior to each operation the proponent must verify the current altitude allowed by the CEF UAS Facility Map for the requested flight area. UAS Facility Maps are published at Legacy UAS Data Delivery System
f. Photographing and/or video recording military installations or equipment without obtaining permission from the installation commanding officer is prohibited by Federal Law.
g. CEF ATCT/Base Operations may deny, terminate, restrict, or delay UAS flight operations covered by this authorization at any time.

3. COORDINATION AND COMMUNICATION REQUIREMENTS
a. UAS PIC must email CEF ATCT at [email protected] the day prior to flying operations and provide the following:
(1) COA number​
(2) Primary telephone number of the pilot in command.​
(3) Schedule of flight (time and duration)​
(4) Location where flight will occur (coordinate and radius)​
(5) Altitude​
(6) Verify current weather (ceiling/visibility)​
(7) Communication requirements​

b. If UAS PIC does not receive an email response before date of UAS flight operations, the Proponent shall contact CEF ATCT at 413-557-2916 to confirm approval.
c. UAS PIC may be required to maintain direct two-way radio communication with ATC, and if required must comply. When necessary, the ATC frequency will be provided to operator during the ATC coordination prior to flight.
d. UAS PIC shall notify CEF ATCT immediately upon completion of UAS flight operations at 413-557-2916.

4. EMERGENCY/CONTINGENCY PROCEDURES - Lost Link/Lost Communications Procedures:
a. If the UAS loses communications or loses its GPS signal, the UA must return to a pre-determined location within the operating area and land.
b. The PIC must abort the flight in the event of unpredicted obstacles or emergencies.
 
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R Martin

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I needed to fly in controlled class D airspace near CEF (Westover Air Reserve Base). This airport does not participate in LAANC so my only option was DroneZone. I have never applied for authorization before.Yesterday I applied for the authorization. I have read that it may take a while to get the authorization approved. Based on that I requested a start date of 12/7/19 with an ending date of 3/31/20 and flights limited to 75' AGL and 1/10 mile radius from my launch point
Much to my surprise I received a call from the FAA this morning. The representative I spoke with said after reviewing my application they made the following changes.
1. Start date is today's date 12/4/19
2. End date is 12/03/21
3. Wide spread authorization - covers the entire controlled airspace for CEF.
I fly under a non-LAANC airports airspace most of the time. It usually takes me 1-2 weeks to get my approval. I always file for at least a year and always get a wide area. I do give them an option to do more paperwork and apparently they hate paperwork as much as I do.
 

PHZ

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I have filed for and received authorizations in airspace where LAANC is active but where I needed airspace outside their automated parameters.
Turnaround with conversation from the FAA has been as quick as one day, to about seven work days via DroneZone.
There are always specific requirements relevant to the airspace you want to fly in and yours is one of the more extensive list of requirements.
 

R.Perry

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The requirements they listed are pretty typical. Make sure you have a radio, and as stated don't photograph military operations without permission.
 

Mavic Mac

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The requirements they listed are pretty typical. Make sure you have a radio, and as stated don't photograph military operations without permission.
Again, being new at all of this I don't have a radio yet. As the crow flies I am 4 miles from the airport, with trees and hills in between. Any recommendation for a reasonable priced radio that would work? I have read reviews on various hand held units and the biggest drawback I have seen is that most don't work unless the operator is very close to the ATC tower.

I can fully appreciate the possible requirement for radio contact as this is also a military installation and we have numerous military flights over the area. A fair number of these flights are low altitude.

Since this was my first authorization I wasn't sure if the requirements were more stringent than normal because it also involved the military. Also I have no plans to photograph the operations - wouldn't want to see my drone shot out of the sky :eek:
 

R.Perry

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I have the I com A-14 radio, it is about $300.00, I know there are less expensive ones. One thing about aviation radios and talking to the tower. Keep your communications short, always repeat back to the tower whatever instructions they give you. DO NOT start chatting with aircraft that will get you on the wrong side of ATC. Make sure you know what frequencies to use. Good luck.
 
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Mavic Mac

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I have the I com A-14 radio, it is about $300.00, I know there are less expensive ones. One thing about aviation radios and talking to the tower. Keep your communications short, always repeat back to the tower whatever instructions they give you. DO NOT start chatting with aircraft that will get you on the wrong side of ATC. Make sure you know what frequencies to use. Good luck.
Thank you.
Any idea what useful range the radio has ? Since we don't have "tail numbers" do you use your drone reg number for ID, your Part 107 Certificate number, your name or will the tower assign you an identifier ?
 

Earnest Ward

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If you're new to ATC communications (i.e., don't have a Part 61 background) I highly recommend the free Plane English app. (There are in-app purchases available but you really won't need them.) Do the free LEARN lessons to learn and practice terminology & annunciation, then do FLY sessions to put it all together. You'll feel much more confident and far less stressed.
 

Mavic Mac

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If you're new to ATC communications (i.e., don't have a Part 61 background) I highly recommend the free Plane English app. (There are in-app purchases available but you really won't need them.) Do the free LEARN lessons to learn and practice terminology & annunciation, then do FLY sessions to put it all together. You'll feel much more confident and far less stressed.
Thank you
 

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