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Small airport advisory and no answer

BAGraphics

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Jul 6, 2018
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Hello all,

I have 3 small airports that I get advisory notices about in AirMap near my home. If I win too fly and do not get an answer when I call the supplied number what should I do? Can I assume they are closed, after 2/3 calls or so and not need to be concerned?

I’m new to this great hobby and don’t with to learn all my lessons the hard way. Thanks in advance.

Bruce
Mavic Air
 

Astom22

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I have an airport that shows up near my house, but I know for a fact it is closed down. They are building a neighborhood where it used to be. If it was me, I would keep it under 200' and not worry about it.
 

MavicFlyer

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Hello all,

I have 3 small airports that I get advisory notices about in AirMap near my home. If I win too fly and do not get an answer when I call the supplied number what should I do? Can I assume they are closed, after 2/3 calls or so and not need to be concerned?

I’m new to this great hobby and don’t with to learn all my lessons the hard way. Thanks in advance.

Bruce
Mavic Air

Welcome to the world of UAVs, and this forum.

The FAA database of airports is grossly out of date, when it comes to small airports, especially heliports. My experience with private ones has been that if you call the number the FAA has, it always rings a few times and drops you into voicemail. In only one case (in 6 months of UAV flying) did I get a callback, from a pilot who was asked to do so by the guy I called. Very nice conversation - I told him where I was flying (about 3 miles away) and he said no problem. If they flew their S76 helicopters they’d be way above my 400’ by the time they got over me (noise abatement). He told me that I didn’t have to call each time, and just be careful if I was flying near the helipad (like within a mile). If they saw me first, they’d go around, and if I saw them first I should just land.

In one case near me, there is a heliport listed as active, which closed along with the associated hospital years ago (actually just moved a few miles away). It was a very nice facility with a hangar, and a fair amount of traffic - I often saw med copters taking off and landing as I drove by. Today, there is no hospital, and no hangar. The Google view shows nothing to indicate there ever was a facility there. Yet, it still appears in the FAA database. Calling the number shown, ends with voicemail, and nobody has EVER called back. If the FAA expects UAV operators to take safety seriously, they should keep the database up to date. We’re all on the same team guys!!

As I recall the requirement, it says notify. Any reasonable person would consider your obligation satisfied when you called the number provided. There is NO requirement to get their permission. That’s the letter of the law.

Having said that, I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t take notification seriously. I used to be in the left seat flying from uncontrolled airports (no tower). If there is any significant amount of traffic at a facility, somebody will be there at ops with a radio, who can advise pilots when they announce their position/intentions on the radio. If the airport is unattended, how is your notification going to get to pilots?

You can call anybody you want, but you may still encounter a low flying aircraft, particularly a helicopter, that isn’t talking to anyone, even if there are no facilities within 5 miles - it’s see and avoid, always. I hear helicopters long before I see them, and can easily get out of their way, if I had to. The same is true for fixed wing aircraft, and it’s extremely rare that they are below 500’, unless they are taking off or landing.
 

Underdog1964

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I have the same trouble.

There are two volunteer fire departments within 5 miles of me with helipads.
One is listed on the app and the other, FAA is not aware of and can't do anything about it until the operator contacts them to be added.
The other I drove to but no one knows who I should contact. Go figure.

I usually call and leave a message on their machine but recently I could not get through after 4 attempts, so I flew anyway. I believe the FAA requires that you make a "reasonable attempt" to contact the operator.
In this case, the fields are only used in emergency for medevac so I notify and keep my eyes open for traffic.
 
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