The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires registration by recreational UAS operators. In Section 336 of the Modernization and Reform Act of 2012,
the FAA defines a “special rule for model aircraft,” which mandates that drones under 55 lbs must operate “in accordance with a community-based set of
safety guidelines” and “when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the drone must provide the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation.”
If you intend to operate your drone for recreational purposes and your planned drone flight will be within 5 miles of any airport — big or small, you have a legal obligation to inform the airport before the flight.
There are a few Smartphone apps available that can help you plan your flight, but none of these apps currently provide a mechanism for drone operators to automatically inform a private non-towered General Aviation (GA) airport of an upcoming planned drone flight directly from the app. So, if you are within 5 miles of 57AZ and you want to fly your drone inside that airspace, you must inform the LaCholla Airpark using these procedures:
- Plan you flight either by using an app of your choosing or by using any available flight planning tools.
- Determine the date/time when you plan to fly your drone on the flight path that you have planned.
- At least 5 hours prior to the flight, send an email to the following addresses: [email protected] and [email protected]
- Make sure your emailed notification contains the following accurate information:
- Your Name: Your First Name and Your Last Name
- Your Contact: Phone Number: _________________
- Your Email: Verifiable, non-spoofed email address
- Your Flight: Date and Time of the planned flight.
- Flight Duration: Approximate amount of time you plan to fly your drone on that date.
- Frequency: Indicate if you plan to repeat this exact same flight on another day. You will still need to send a separate email to the addresses listed above with the required details at least 5 hours before each future flight.
- Flight Path: Indicate where you will be flying, the origination and destination location (could be the same), what altitude you plan to maintain, and the border perimeters in Lat/Long of the flight you have planned.
During your flight, you are required to fly within visual line of sight and only in VFR conditions.
The FAA requires GA aircraft to use ADSB-Out to notify other aircraft of locality position. If your drone is equipped with ADSB-Out, you must enable it.
The La Cholla Airpark (57AZ) requires all piloted aircraft to communicate and state intentions using Unicom 122.975.
Drone operators must take responsibility for and avoid all GA aircraft – no matter if this may be a difficult technical challenge. The point is:
GA Aircraft operating in the vicinity of the LaCholla 57AZ Airpark have priority over any drone activity,
and drone operators are required to stay away from operating aircraft.
If you are a business and you fly drones for your business, you must follow FAA Part 107 which contains all the current rules for flying small unmanned vehicles (55 pounds or less) for business within the US. If you are a business and plan to fly your drone at night, you must follow Part 107 and obtain a waiver directly from the FAA. Furthermore, you must be aware and you must be fully knowledgeable about the restrictions listed in Part 107 including but not limited to the following restrictions that exist unless a waiver from the FAA has specifically been obtained:
- not exceeding 400 feet above ground level (original grade),
- not flying over people,
- not flying at night,
- not flying beyond visual line of sight.
If you are flying a drone for business and/or if you are intending to fly your drone at night within 5 miles of 57AZ, you are still required to follow the notification procedures outlined above.
Remember, if you cannot visually look into the sky and see your drone — you’ve gone too far — even if the drone equipment is live-streaming video to you.
If you have any questions, please contact the LaCholla Airpark Office at (520) 297-8096
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