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Trying to understand flying near airports... any experience?

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billem16

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So first... I understand the rule of thumb is to not fly within 5 miles of an airport.

I just got my Mavic Pro, and wanted to test it out at my in-laws house. They live in a neighborhood with a huge backyard and a lot of space. I knew I wasn't super close to any airports, plus I was just going to fly under like 60 feet on their property. I was able to fly around their yard with no problem.

Then I decided to drive to another part of their neighborhood and fly over a pond for some more space and practice. I was able to take off from where I was, but I hit an imaginary wall when flying forward about 10 feet infront of me. I realized the DJI app wouldn't let me because (what I found out after) that imaginary wall was the line of exactly 1.5miles radius from a small airport in their small-ish town. Makes sense. Definitely don't want to fly within 1.5miles. But where I flew in their backyard was probably uhh 1.8 miles from the airport, according to that imaginary wall I hit at 1.5 miles. Soo... as a hobbyist (for now), I think I was NOT supposed to fly there. Or do I just simply give a heads up to the ATC/airport manager saying "hey I'll be flying a drone under 200 feet about 1.8 miles west of the airport" ? I have a feeling they wouldn't like that.
ALSO - more confusion - I've heard you're technically not supposed to be calling ATC anymore? They don't have the time & resources to talk on the phone with drone pilots all day, or something. But that you're supposed to submit some online request to FAA and it could take 90 days?! Umm, I'm not that serious of a drone pilot right now, just want to fly it here and there, not far away, probably under 200 feet always.

Can someone try to clarify these rules/laws for me? Apparently I may have broken one already when I was about 1.8miles away from a small airport. I actually think it's cool that the imaginary wall stopped me at 1.5 miles, I don't mind that at all. (side note, even at 1.5miles I was only planning to fly around a pond within 100-200 feet from me, and under 100feet AGL), so in reality, I wasn't causing any trouble in the airspace... but I get it, rules are rules.
 

billem16

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ONE MORE thing... this weekend I am planning to fly my drone and did some research ahead of time... the location will be exactly 4.75 miles North of another small airport. Ugh... still within 5 miles!! I found the airport/ATC #, I'll give them a call & a heads up, but again... not sure if that's the correct method?

*** upon further research - the small airport that I want to fly 4.75 miles North of is a class E airport. From what I understand, the magenta circle on SkyVector indicates that the class E airspace starts at 700 feet and not at the surface. Apparently on sectional chart/maps the magenta vignette circle around class E airspace indicates that the E airspace does not dip to the surface. Very confusing, but trying my best to understand. Sooo... If I'm flying under 200 feet... that is clearly below the 700 feet floor of the class E airspace. so am I good to go? this is a fulltime job trying to figure out how to fly my drone legally haha. bare with me I'm a newb
 
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tcope

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There are a lot of threads on this but it is also very confusing, especially for beginners.

First and foremost, when flying for hobby, you need to notify the airport (airport "and" owner) if flying within 5 miles. This is just a call to them to let then know you will be flying. Yes, you just call the airport. If they put you over to the control tower, so be it. That is up to them. Congress has required you to call by law. I've _never_ had any issues with airports and its actually been the opposite. I've had conversations with the managers who liked that I called and gave me good information on flying in the area. I think you will find that most airports either have an answering machine or are used to the calls. If you leave a message just let them know where you will be flying, when, how high and your contact information.

DJI does have a lock out at something like 1.5 miles as you mentioned. I _think_ you can get authorization from DJI (I'm not sure if they will even unlock that 1.5 miles near an airport).

DJI - Fly Safe

I've never dealt with an unlock so I don't know the details.

BTW - Kudo's on starting this hobby and knowing a _lot_ about this issue.
 
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BD0G

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Since the DJIGO 4 app allowed you to fly in an area you believed to be 1.8 miles from an airport. Either the DJIGO4 app does not have the current information that contains that airport or you are perfectly fine flying in that area.

Either way as tcope stated above. A quick call to the airport informing them of planned flight and an unlock from DJI's site will allow you to fly. The unlock can be obtained from the link posted above and is good for 24 hours . Its a code that one enters within the DJIGO4 app that allows one to fly.

 
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Canuk

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I agree that the airport warning can be frustrating at times . I get one at my house and it is relentless with warnings . Thing is our little airstrip has been shut down for over 15 years . It was just a grass strip when it was open . I will get two or three warnings most flights . I was thinking maybe some photos with the GPS coordinates and see if I can find anyone that cares and would update the geo system . If not I guess I will keep clearing them . Problem is the warning log looks terrible .
 

billem16

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Since the DJIGO 4 app allowed you to fly in an area you believed to be 1.8 miles from an airport. Either the DJIGO4 app does not have the current information that contains that airport or you are perfectly fine flying in that area.

Either way as tcope stated above. A quick call to the airport informing them of planned flight and an unlock from DJI's site will allow you to fly. The unlock can be obtained from the link posted above and is good for 24 hours . Its a code that one enters within the DJIGO4 app that allows one to fly.

thanks for the info. so if I am ever about to fly my drone and I need to unlock a zone, I can do so right from my phone on the DJIgo4 app? if you have any other tips/experience on the unlocking process, please let me know, thanks!
 
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beachcombing

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ONE MORE thing... this weekend I am planning to fly my drone and did some research ahead of time... the location will be exactly 4.75 miles North of another small airport. Ugh... still within 5 miles!! I found the airport/ATC #, I'll give them a call & a heads up, but again... not sure if that's the correct method?

*** upon further research - the small airport that I want to fly 4.75 miles North of is a class E airport. From what I understand, the magenta circle on SkyVector indicates that the class E airspace starts at 700 feet and not at the surface. Apparently on sectional chart/maps the magenta vignette circle around class E airspace indicates that the E airspace does not dip to the surface. Very confusing, but trying my best to understand. Sooo... If I'm flying under 200 feet... that is clearly below the 700 feet floor of the class E airspace. so am I good to go? this is a fulltime job trying to figure out how to fly my drone legally haha. bare with me I'm a newb
None of the Class E 700 feet or anything like that applies to you if you are flying for hobby/recreation.

What you need to do is to check the map and call any airport that is within 5 miles of your flight location and notify them that you will be flying.

Additionally, if you are within a red area in the DJI Go 4 app, you won't be able to fly unless you have an approved unlocking. For yellow areas on the map, you will be able unlock them on your own in the app. (Or you can do it in advance on a computer.)
 

ac0j

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I agree that the airport warning can be frustrating at times . I get one at my house and it is relentless with warnings . Thing is our little airstrip has been shut down for over 15 years . It was just a grass strip when it was open . I will get two or three warnings most flights . I was thinking maybe some photos with the GPS coordinates and see if I can find anyone that cares and would update the geo system . If not I guess I will keep clearing them . Problem is the warning log looks terrible .
You know you can shut the warnings off right?
You can select by airport class what warnings you want to display. Also heliports can be shut off. A few other options i believe.
OR, if you dont want to read instructions, downgrade to a prehistoric firmware like others do.
 

Canuk

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I did not know that the warning system can be fine tuned. Thank you very much
 

Canuk

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You know you can shut the warnings off right?
You can select by airport class what warnings you want to display. Also heliports can be shut off. A few other options i believe.
OR, if you dont want to read instructions, downgrade to a prehistoric firmware like others do.

This is the warnings for a closed grass airstrip that dji thinks is still operational .
 

Canuk

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Ok how do I get to warning space settings .
 

Canuk

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Ok I got it. I put the map in full screen then the icon was right there .
 

Oyibo VFX

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There are a lot of threads on this but it is also very confusing, especially for beginners.

First and foremost, when flying for hobby, you need to notify the airport (airport "and" owner) if flying within 5 miles. This is just a call to them to let then know you will be flying. Yes, you just call the airport. If they put you over to the control tower, so be it. That is up to them. Congress has required you to call by law. I've _never_ had any issues with airports and its actually been the opposite. I've had conversations with the managers who liked that I called and gave me good information on flying in the area. I think you will find that most airports either have an answering machine or are used to the calls. If you leave a message just let them know where you will be flying, when, how high and your contact information.

DJI does have a lock out at something like 1.5 miles as you mentioned. I _think_ you can get authorization from DJI (I'm not sure if they will even unlock that 1.5 miles near an airport).

DJI - Fly Safe

I've never dealt with an unlock so I don't know the details.

BTW - Kudo's on starting this hobby and knowing a _lot_ about this issue.

When I did my examination for my license, the test was done on an active airport. I contacted Air Safe and that went fully automatic and without problems. Had my authorisation within minutes
 
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