Flyers with the 333 exemption

Discussion in 'Flight Regulations' started by Dave King, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    311
    How are you tackling the issues of the 2 mile heliport rule? It never dawned upon me until I actually got out a map of all airports with helipads and then plotted them on google map to get the radius that they cover. Here in Pittsburgh it takes out about 85% of the entire area within a 6 to 7 mile radius of the city and suburbs.

    Since heliports don't have any control tower or staff is it even possible to coordinate with a hospital to get permission? Does anyone know if you have to get written permission in advance? Has anyone run into this yet or thought about the implications of actually how limiting this is?

    I know this doesn't affect rural or urban areas that don't have many airports but this is a major issue in large markets. I will have my 333 sometime in the next couple weeks and I definitely do not want to violate the rules of it.
     
  2. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    5,211
    Likes Received:
    460
    Welcome to the world of the FAA. We give you permission to fly but there isn't anyplace that you want to fly that you will be legal....

    I've looked at a couple of the 333 that have been granted. Wording is constantly changing. Some mention getting permission from the agency that can grant it. Others don't seem to have any workaround. Simply says you can't fly within X miles of whatever the multiple items are listed as being the basis of the restrictions.

    Good source is https://www.rotor.org/fox/heliport.htm. 761 listed in the state of PA. 18 in the city of Pittsburgh. Not all of them are shown on the Pit Terminal Area Chart.
     
  3. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    311
    Thanks Gary that's very helpful. It's interesting to see that wording is changing. I guess I will see what language is in mine when I get it. If the language indicates that you can permission from the heliport how would go about getting it.

    Does anyone have experience with how strict the hospitals are or does any of the language mention written or verbal permission?
     
  4. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    10,312
    Likes Received:
    1,153
    Dave: If you have an iPhone, get a copy of the FAA's b4ufly app -- it shows all the airfields and heliports overlaid on a map.

    Andy.
     
  5. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    5,211
    Likes Received:
    460
    Doesn't look they are signing up any additional beta testers. At least it isn't in the Apple app store. No link on the FAA web page announcing the app. From the FAQ document. https://www.faa.gov/uas/b4ufly/media/UAS_B4UFLY_QandA.pdf


    Q. I can’t find the B4UFLY app in the app store...how can I get it?
    A. The FAA is currently conducting a limited beta test of B4UFLY. We distributed it to 1,000 beta testers on a first-come, first-served basis after FAA Administrator Huerta announced the app in May. As a beta version, B4UFLY is not publicly available in the Apple App Store.
    We are maintaining a waiting list in the event not all the first 1,000 users download B4UFLY. If you’d like to be added to the waiting list, please email b4ufly@faa.gov.
     
  6. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    10,312
    Likes Received:
    1,153
    Oh....I didn't realize they'd closed the beta test....sorry....
    Andy.
     
  7. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    311
    Thanks Guys. I have S5 anyway didnt matter. The timing of this question is really odd because I just reviewed publications and charts in preparation for my written FAA test. The section covers a publication called Airport facility directory and contains all airports, sea bases and heliports open to the public. It contains all communications data, navigation facilities and special notes about each facility. The document is $16 and I just purchased it and downloaded it. It covers the US in 7 different regions so I am still looking through all the info.
     
  8. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    5,211
    Likes Received:
    460
    Beware of the AFD. You wrote, and are correct, it contains "all heliports open to the public". Read your exemption closely. It may say 'any' FAA airports/heliports/etc. and non public airports/heliports usually aren't on aeronautical charts.

    That said, looking at the most recent 333 issued (https://www.faa.gov/uas/legislative_programs/section_333/333_authorizations/) the language is much broader and doesn't mention heliports. Recent language from one issued on 11/2/15


    1. The UA may not operate within 5 nautical miles of an airport reference point (ARP) as denoted in the current FAA Airport/Facility Directory (AFD) or for airports not denoted with an ARP, the center of the airport symbol as denoted on the current FAA-published aeronautical chart, unless a letter of agreement with that airport’s management is obtained or otherwise permitted by a COA issued to the exemption holder. The letter of agreement with the airport management must be made available to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon request.
     
  9. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    311
    Yes I noticed that this morning when I pulled up a bunch. In fact the one you refer to is the same language that I see in the majority of the accepted applications as far back as June. So that then asks the question how do you interpret the broad language? I had a chance to review the AFD that I downloaded and it excludes the majority of the heliports probably because they are for emergency trama and not available to the general public.
     
    Michael McVay likes this.
  10. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    5,211
    Likes Received:
    460
    That is a great question and one which will be made clear when the FAA contacts you with a complaint. Smart ass response but probably way to true. Early 333's seem to have mentioned every possible location that has regular flight operations, public or private. Direct read of the item I posted above would say if it isn't in the AFD or on an current aviation chart it doesn't count to that item. If that is true then your operation just needs to stay clear of other aircraft or however they have it worded in the FAA. And this is my opinion and is probably 180 degrees wrong if the FAA comes calling..... That's why their are lawyers who specialize in defending operators...
     
    Dave King likes this.
  11. MIke Magee

    MIke Magee Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2012
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    103
    FWIW, my plan (once we get the exemption) is to sit down and establish a good working relationship with the local FSDO. This may be a great place to address the grey.
     
    Dave King and Michael McVay like this.
  12. Jason Toth

    Jason Toth Active Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2013
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    45
    You can operate within an aerodrome once you have prior approval / permission from ATC + speaking with the FISDO who will assist on if a NOTAM is needed or not.

     
  13. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    127


    The Blanket COA that came with my exemption used the wording of "Public Use Airports and Heliports" I consider Hospital ports to be private use. For me it is a moot point. All of the heliports are inside the 5 mile ring of Albuquerque Int. I have to operate on a special COA with an LOA from the tower manager at KABQ. It is a messy process, but I have been able to streamline it a bit since the tower guys know me now as well as the AFS-80 folks in DC.

    Having said that I shot a commercial for a hospital with a heliport. The process was fairly straight forward. I simply coordinated with the hospitals flight manager to get the discrete frequency that the helicopter uses when coming into land as well as a phone number to announce the beginning and termination of the flights.

    Where it is going to get real messy is in major cities inside class B like LAX, DFW, etc. There is an internal memo where granting flights inside B where they are going to make flying inside B almost virtually impossible. I believe the wording is that the flight will only be granted under "exceptional circumstances."

    My experience is that it all depends on the airport or tower manager how complicated they will make the process. Once the tower and local FAA FSDO ASI's get to know you, it seems that the process is much much smoother. After speaking with my ASI's at the ABQ FSDO. The FAA is concerned on who is flying. They are not stupid and are fully aware that there are 333 holders flying without pilot certs. This is why there is an initial hesitancy to let a specific shop fly without additional scrutiny.
     
  14. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    5,211
    Likes Received:
    460
    For those new to the forums a bit of an introduction to Shaun's background. He was flying 'real' drones for a number of years. And knows the ins and outs of the FAA. FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) is the local FAA office. Every major city typically has one. ASI is Aviation Safety Inspector. Those are the folks that you will have direct contact with. And there may be a typo. AIS-80 is probably AFS-80 which is the UAS office that is putting all of this stuff together. Part of the commercial operations team.

    COA is the Certificate of Operating Authority (333 exemption) and LOA is Letter of Agreement. If you need to work within an airport traffic area then get an LOA. Get it in writing that you have permission. Don't rely on a phone call.

    As they used to say on Hill Street Blues - be safe out there.
     
    Shaun Stanton likes this.
  15. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    127

    Yup Typo AFS-80
     
  16. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    311
    I had recent conversations with local ATC and the FSDO and they both have mentioned to me that this process has now changed. From what I have been told the FAA sent communications to all ATC not to issue LOA's for PIC's with commercial 333's. I've dealt with a couple local airports in Pittsburgh from time to time and would love to help but their hands are now tied. The ATC in Pittsburgh also explained that they are being instructed to issue LOA's only to hobbyists now. I have a location where I need to film 4.8 NM out but I'm required to file a COA if I want to do it. Right now COA's are taking about 3 months. What I find interesting is the radius of airspace on the sectional is 4 NM but they require that we stay outside 5NM.
     
  17. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    127


    You are dealing with the Class B issue. I am not sure what the reach around to fix that will be. There was the internal memo not to grant exemptions inside the Class B except for "Exceptional Circumstances," Whatever the hell that means. Yeah I think now the Regional FAA office has to review your flight then they get the LOA from ATC, from what I understand to submit to the AFS-80 office for the COA. The trick is to get in comms with the regional office. Once this is done the process in the future is smoother.

    I would emphasize that by not getting you the COA in time may result in a rogue pilot doing without permission at all.
     
  18. James Adkins

    James Adkins Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    21
    First I have heard of this. I'm calling my local FSDO tomorrow to confirm class bravo is off the table.
     
  19. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    127

    I thought I had a digital copy of the memo. Now that I recall I only saw paper copy that another 333 company in ABQ got a hold through a FOIA request by his attorney. It was around late October when it was produced. At the time my local FSDO did not have a clue about it. I live in an araea where our highest class airspace is C. You may have to contact the AFS-80 office. As I have found that the FSDO's are not always kept in the loop with this stuff until they, themselves investigate further.

    Now having said that the other company here in NM flies engineering surveys in Dallas and has done so since than. However, they may have been outside the SFC ring.
     
  20. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    5,211
    Likes Received:
    460
    Dave the standard LOA would be with an FAA ATC facility, so a towered airport. Non towered I would just use a copy of an LOA and have the local airport operator sign a version of that. Pitt Northeast, Monroeville, Greensburg for example. They are below the Class B airspace for all practical purposes. Your main Class B issue would be in the core where it is Ground - Up.

    Go down to Wheeling, OH (HLG) and that is a towered airport so that 5 mile would need an LOA.

    And there always seems to be this paragraph at the end of the 333 exemption:


    Unless otherwise specified in this grant of exemption, the UAS, the UAS PIC, and the UAS operations must comply with all applicable parts of 14 CFR including, but not limited to, parts 45, 47, 61, and 91.

    So all FAR's are applicable not just the items listed in the 333.

    At least my read of all of the various choices you can make with the regs.
     

Share This Page