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View Full Version : Part 107 Airspace Question

01-29-2018, 09:55 AM
Somewhat off-topic for this site, however I figured the knowledge base here would be higher quality than any "drone" forums.

I live near a class B airport, with other controlled airspaces in the area as well (D, surface E). In addition to my pilot certificate, I also have a part 107 certificate for commercial UAS (side job/for fun). My question pertains to 107.41 which states:

107.41 Operation in certain airspace.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).

The FAA has a waiver/authorization application process that can be applied to this section, but approvals are running 4 months for authorization, and two years for waivers (per FAA headquarters). I called a contact I have at the local FSDO, and he says that the requirement to operate in these controlled airspaces is to BOTH possess a written waiver or authorization AND to contact ATC. I asked him if the actual regulation was going to be updated to reflect this and he said no.

A waiver to a section would indicate/imply that compliance with that section is waived, eliminating the need to get ATC authorization, correct? If you contact ATC for authorization (calling the local tower/approach over the phone and asking for permission immediately before the flight), that is just complying with the regulation as written, so why would you also need to waive that?

The website for waivers and authorizations has been updated to read: "An airspace authorization is the mechanism under which a proponent may seek ATC approval for their operation (please do not contact the facility directly)." This must have been in the last couple of weeks, however the FSDO contact said even with an authorization or waiver in place, you STILL need to call ATC immediately prior to the flight to be in compliance with 107.41. Uh, what??

01-29-2018, 11:37 AM
It appears the FSDO is mixing apples and oranges.

101.41 applies to hobbyists

107.41 applies to UAS operations for hire or compensation.

By virtue of you filing application for an airspace authorization via the web site, the ATC facility WILL be notified. No need to call them directly. If you are going to operate for hire per 107.41, you must comply with the rule, obtain an airspace authorization and be patient with the backlog. You could call your elected official if you feel the timeframe for authorization is unacceptable to you. Good Luck!