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We Lost our Flying Sites Due to DoD Regulations regarding COTS UaS

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We Lost our Flying Sites Due to DoD Regulations regarding COTS UaS

Old 03-29-2020, 02:58 PM
  #26  
Rocketman612
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Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Yes, it was disappointing that all of our prior members could not transition over. For myself the trip to the field went from 15 minutes to an hour but, It's better than nearly 2 hours to fly with the RAMM club south of Montgomery. Some of the members could not make the trip to the new field. Also the membership dues went from $30 to $275. With more members we hope to reduce that going forward but that's an unknown we are willing to accept. . Our new field is cannot support Turbine aircraft so needless to say I had to selling my Sprint was bittersweet.

After much debate in January we decided not to pursue flying on Government property. The waiver process is so onerous that even if the present command were to work with us there is no guarantee that future commands would continue the program thus shutting us out again. The only reliable way forward is to get off the reservation. Living in rural Southeast Alabama gave us good odds of finding a site in a remote location. Remember we are on the clock for registering your field with the FAA to avoid having to have a transponder in your aircraft. We are pleased that once our site was registered with the AMA they will send that over to the FAA for us.

While I had hoped the AMA could have done more for us last year the harsh truth is that they did not have the power or leverage to change minds at the DoD. I don't think it's because they don't care or didn't try. The AMA people I worked with were responsive and gave me contacts for Ft. Rucker to follow up with. We just don't have the numbers to go against the monetization of the national airspace for Amazon, Google, UPS, etc.

It's my sincerest desire that all of us find a safe place to fly and enjoy this incredible Hobby.

Pete
Old 03-29-2020, 04:32 PM
  #27  
franklin_m
 
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Originally Posted by Rocketman612 View Post
After much debate in January we decided not to pursue flying on Government property. The waiver process is so onerous that even if the present command were to work with us there is no guarantee that future commands would continue the program thus shutting us out again.
I think that was a wise move given your situation. Rucker is primarily a helo base, which means a lot of aircraft that spend a lot of time at low altitude - not just at the facility but also in the surrounding area. Their operational problem would have been a lot more challenging than mine was at a TACAIR base. Also, that place is covered with NOE routes ... where it's common to find helos operating at 100 feet or below quite often, day and night. Strongly recommend that you have really good lookout doctrine for your field. Remember, even if helo is not where it's supposed to be, it's the sUAS operator that is presumptively in error.

Originally Posted by Rocketman612 View Post
While I had hoped the AMA could have done more for us last year the harsh truth is that they did not have the power or leverage to change minds at the DoD. I don't think it's because they don't care or didn't try. The AMA people I worked with were responsive and gave me contacts for Ft. Rucker to follow up with. We just don't have the numbers to go against the monetization of the national airspace for Amazon, Google, UPS, etc.
In the case of DoD it has zero to do with Amazon, Google, UPS, etc. Those in charge of that facility are concerned with one thing, mission accomplishment while minimizing risk. Without RemoteID, it's an uphill fight. There's anti-terrorism / force protection concerns on top of midair concerns. Whether WE think we're safe or not matters little, all that matters is what THEY think. And in case of operations on base, especially a helo base, it's waaaaayyyy easier to say no. Ample reasons to justify it.

So like I said, with proximity to NOE routes, I'd have robust lookout SOPs, follow them without fail, comply with any limit they impose (like NOTAM), and enjoy flying.
Old 03-29-2020, 06:52 PM
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Franklin_m,

Living in the area for 30 years you see and hear Helo's all the time. We are always on the lookout for them. My comments about the monetization of the airspace lends itself more to the Federal Government as a whole not the military/DoD.
We agree that our Military is there to protect the Nation and take out bad guys. We were blessed to use the three fields we had access to for over thirty years. It's a different world we live in today. We have to think outside the box and find our own solutions and accept the cost that goes with freedom. Take care,

Pete

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