Drone flying on airports
Recently, a recreational drone flyer told the airport mangagement that he was going to fly his drone at our airport (non-towered).  He assumed that was contact enough and he flew his device at night over our runway and taxiway.    Since then he has flown again after legal nightfall and says he will continue because he can and there are no rules to stop him.
This person is flaunting his drone in our face and we dread they day he hits one of our aircraft.   
My question is this:  is there anything we can do to prohibit this persons flying "on our airport".    The rules only seem to address withing the vicinity of an airport.
We don't allow RC aircraft on the airport, why can't we prohibit drones?
 
12 Replies
Ronald Levy
1516 Posts
This person is operating in violation of several sections of 14 CFR Part 107, which governs the operation of such small unmanned aircraft systems.  Gather what information you can and present it to your local FSDO.  They'll take it from there.

Ronald Levy:
This person is operating in violation of several sections of 14 CFR Part 107, which governs the operation of such small unmanned aircraft systems.  Gather what information you can and present it to your local FSDO.  They'll take it from there.

Part 107 only applies to commercial operations; hobbyists operate in gray areas. Hobbyists "Must follow community-based safety guidelines." (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/) I cannot imagine that any such safety standard would condone flying over a runway after dark, but I don't know for certain. Clearly the drone pilot will know when a manned aircraft is using the runway, and he can get out of the way. I don't know who has the authority to ban hobbyist UAV flights at an airport. The FAA has not done so, yet airspace is theirs to regulate. I think that hobbyists can even operate in controlled airspace without permission. Gray areas, as I said. I don't know how you prohibit RC aircraft, for that matter, as hobbyist drones have been grandfathered in under the same rule as RC aircraft under the "Special Rule for Model Aircraft." https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showatt.php?attachmentid=7046677&d=1409015278
Ronald Levy
1516 Posts

Lauren Mcgavran:

Ronald Levy:
This person is operating in violation of several sections of 14 CFR Part 107, which governs the operation of such small unmanned aircraft systems.  Gather what information you can and present it to your local FSDO.  They'll take it from there.

Part 107 only applies to commercial operations; hobbyists operate in gray yield right of way to manned aircraftareas. Hobbyists "Must follow community-based safety guidelines." (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/)

[Levy] If you read that page on the FAA web site, you'll see there's a lot more to it than just following "community-based safety guidelines", including:
  • No operationg withing 5 miles from airports without prior notification to airport and air traffic control
  • Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight) -- hard to do at night.
All things considered, the operation originally described does indeed violate portions of Part 107, whose applicability sections do not exempt hobbyists.  I still recommend bringing the FSDO into the situation if this hobbyist cannot be convinced to operate more safely.
 

 

 
Adam Smith
1 Posts
This is a bumor and maybe with humor you can convince this guy that just because you can, doesn't mean you should. You can run across a busy freeway but probably shouldn't.
At VG18, Sky Bryce Airport, a private airport with public access to Bryce Resort in Basye, Va., we permit drone pilots
to operate with prior permission and by following the same guidelines mentioned in prior emails.  We also monitor
122.8 via a hand-hled radio and have a private pilot's oversight of these drone operations.  It works for us.
  • No operations withing 5 miles from airports without prior notification to airport and air traffic control
  • Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight) -- hard to do at night.
 
[Levy] If you read that page on the FAA web site, you'll see there's a lot more to it than just following "community-based safety guidelines", including:
  • No operationg withing 5 miles from airports without prior notification to airport and air traffic control
  • Must yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight) -- hard to do at night.
All things considered, the operation originally described does indeed violate portions of Part 107, whose applicability sections do not exempt hobbyists.  I still recommend bringing the FSDO into the situation if this hobbyist cannot be convinced to operate more safely.
 
Yes, there are those other stipulations; I was trying for brevity. But he contacted the airport, I assume that he was yielding to manned aircraft (maybe an incorrect assumption), and it is possible that he could see his drone, depending on lighting (again, maybe he could not.) So I don't see that he is necessarily violating any rules that apply to hobbyists. I still think that Part 107 itself does not apply to hobbyists, though some of the rules are the same.