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Fields w/ >400 ... since AMA won't share info

Old 01-01-2021, 05:55 AM
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franklin_m
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Default Fields w/ >400 ... since AMA won't share info

Despite being asked by a number of folks, AMA is quite silent on exactly which fields are able to fly >400. They've been working on getting higher altitudes for over two years. So I did some sleuthing and decided to post what I've found. I've found just two significant successes in that time, and they are posted below.

I have confirmed that the Las Vegas Radio Control Club got higher altitudes. It's located in controlled airspace and seems dominated by jets and large aircraft, and serves a major metropolitan area. From their website:


"Important announcement. LVRC has established an official Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the FAA. The LOA allows Bennett pilots to fly up to 1000 feet AGL (above ground level) with no changes and up to 2000 AGL with a few stipulations. If you wish to operate aircraft above 1000AGL the FAA must be notified one day in advance and you must have a spotter." - Note 1

While not yet approved, it appears that Coachella Valley Radio Control Club near Palm Springs CA is next. Like the club above, they're near a mega metropolitan area (LA Basin), predominantly jets and large aircraft, and also in controlled airspace. From their 1st and 2nd Quarter Newsletter:


"Unfortunately as of this date the long anticipated meeting with CVRC, the AMA and the FAA has been postponed. But the first meeting with the FAA and the Las Vegas club took place. They were successful in getting a 2000' ceiling around their field. I was called by Tyler Dobbs after that Las Vegas meeting who said that we were next. Then came the shutdown with the virus and all travel from Washington and Indiana was stopped. Tyler said that we should get between 1500' and 2000' without any problem." - Note 2

So what's common to both? They're in controlled airspace, where we already knew 49 CFR 44809(a)(5) law gave FAA ability to allow higher. Also, they both are near major metropolitan areas and big clubs with a lot of money. And both support large models and jets principally. So if you're a big club, near major cities, in controlled airspace, and have big population of large aircraft and jet flyers, it appears you're in luck. If you're in class G, not near a big city, not a big club, etc., I've yet to find one where AMA has had similar success.

I would encourage others who can confirm limits above 400 AGL to post those here as well. It'll give us some idea as to the AMA's success rate and give us an indication of whether there's any hope for greater than 400 in class G.

Note 1: Home
Note 2: http://www.cvrcclub.com/files/Propwa...20_Revised.pdf

Last edited by franklin_m; 01-01-2021 at 08:45 AM.
Old 01-01-2021, 07:11 AM
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Why won't the AMA just answer the question that was directed at them? They've announced numerous times in several different print and digital media articles that they have been successful in negotiating these ceilings.

Astro
Old 01-01-2021, 08:39 AM
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franklin_m
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
Why won't the AMA just answer the question that was directed at them? They've announced numerous times in several different print and digital media articles that they have been successful in negotiating these ceilings.
Honestly? I think these two clubs are the only ones approved for significantly above 400 - despite AMA "working on it" for over two years since the FAA reauthorization act was signed on 5 October 2018 (note 1). I don't doubt that they've got LOAs with other clubs in controlled airspace, but I don't see getting a LAANC sector from 200 to 400, or zero to 200, or 400 to 500 as "wins" worth bragging about.

Note 1: https://www.faa.gov/about/reauthorization/

Last edited by franklin_m; 01-01-2021 at 08:42 AM.
Old 01-01-2021, 09:00 AM
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What was your methodology for sleuthing? Public records? Club web sites? How many clubs did you find yourself researching (if that question applies)? Are there records (even if not a complete list) of clubs that have requested higher limits, and how they requested?
Going strictly by the above first post, it appears really only one club so far has been approved.
It would be more meaningful if we had an idea as to how many might be "in queue", or might have been denied from even applying by one entity or another, before we extrapolate ("big club, near major cities, in controlled airspace, and have big population of large aircraft and jet flyer") what it might take to get approval.
Old 01-01-2021, 09:09 AM
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Sorry you're wrong on several accounts.

There's a number of clubs that have completed SRM's and as they go on they are getting easier.

It has nothing to do with money or what you're flying, though clubs that host jets, IMAC and gliders are certainly more motivated towards getting their waivers.
Old 01-01-2021, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
Sorry you're wrong on several accounts.

There's a number of clubs that have completed SRM's and as they go on they are getting easier.

It has nothing to do with money or what you're flying, though clubs that host jets, IMAC and gliders are certainly more motivated towards getting their waivers.
Where might one get a list of all the clubs that have obtained approval for ceilings higher than 400'?

This question has been asked numerous times here, and you have replied to just about every one of them with extremely vague language. Based on your replies here, it would seem that you have a list (or at least access to one). Would it be possible for you to share that here?

Astro
Old 01-01-2021, 09:34 AM
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franklin_m
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Originally Posted by tedsander View Post
What was your methodology for sleuthing? Public records? Club web sites? How many clubs did you find yourself researching (if that question applies)? Are there records (even if not a complete list) of clubs that have requested higher limits, and how they requested?
Going strictly by the above first post, it appears really only one club so far has been approved.
It would be more meaningful if we had an idea as to how many might be "in queue", or might have been denied from even applying by one entity or another, before we extrapolate ("big club, near major cities, in controlled airspace, and have big population of large aircraft and jet flyer") what it might take to get approval.
I did some initial digging via word searches on forums, then made some educated guesses from there. Of course this is all necessary, for as we see from BC's post below, AMA will not give anything except generalalities. For example, look no further than the most recent post from our esteemed EC member:
Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
There's a number of clubs that have completed SRM's...(emphasis added)
"A number?" Is that one, two, ten, or twenty? Why can't (or won't) he give specifics? The AMA EC knows (or has available to it) how many were initiated, how many completed, what FAA limits were before the LOA, and what they were after. And yet the absence of details, and our EC member's unwillingness to give specifics, is significant. After all, if they're doing such a bang up job and generating such success, then why not give details? Why not post on the website? Why not be transparent? But again, they're not. And we need to be contemplating why.

The most obvious answer is of course that what they're actually achieving may not be all that significant. And remember, AMA has huge incentive to "spin" their results, i.e. "... a number of ...". And that incentive is membership $$$. So to our esteemed EC member, "Give us specifics."
Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
It has nothing to do with money or what you're flying, though clubs that host jets, IMAC and gliders are certainly more motivated towards getting their waivers.
IF that's true, then one would think you'd be more than happy to share details so we can see for ourselves what you're saying is true. Or is are we, the unwashed masses, not to be trusted with information?
Old 01-01-2021, 09:56 AM
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Here's metrics they could provide that would provide some level of transparency, allow us to see if they're getting the results we expect as paying members, and yet not have to name individual clubs:

For clubs in class G:
Number of clubs in class G airspace that applied for waivers?
Number of waivers granted?
Number still in queue?
How many changed to > 400 agl but 750 agl but 1000 agl but 2000 agl?

For clubs in controlled airspace:
Number of clubs that applied for LOA?
Number of LOAs signed?
Number still in queue?

For those where LAANC showed zero:
How many changed to >0 agl but 200 agl but 400 agl but 750 agl but 1000 agl but 2000 agl?

[b]For those where LAANC showed >0 but 200 agl but 400 agl but 750 agl but 1000 agl but 2000 agl?

[b]For those where LAANC showed >200 but 400 agl but 750 agl but 1000 agl but 2000 agl?

These metrics would be way more meaningful as to value of AMA than number of "mentions" in the RemoteID rule and/or "... a number of clubs ..." generalities!

Last edited by franklin_m; 01-01-2021 at 10:08 AM. Reason: WYSIWYG is not WYSIWYG!
Old 01-01-2021, 10:11 AM
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<duplicate>
Old 01-01-2021, 01:48 PM
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I'm actually wondering if the AMA had anything to do at all with the two known clubs getting a 1000+ft ceiling. Going off the second club's newsletter, it appears to me that the AMA wasn't even in attendance and everything was worked out between the club and FAA. It would be interesting to find out WHO was there from the AMA and what they actually did in the negotiations
Old 01-01-2021, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
I'm actually wondering if the AMA had anything to do at all with the two known clubs getting a 1000+ft ceiling. Going off the second club's newsletter, it appears to me that the AMA wasn't even in attendance and everything was worked out between the club and FAA. It would be interesting to find out WHO was there from the AMA and what they actually did in the negotiations
Re-read the newsletter. There was no meeting. Everything postponed. Nothing "worked out", and presumably still pending.
An earlier newsletter relates the club Presidents interactions with several AMA leaders, recapping where they were at at that time, confusion over the then standards of operation that they should be considering at that time, and thanking them for all their work prior to that.
So whether someone was on site or was communicating remotely, it appears there had been on-going working together for some time.
Old 01-01-2021, 07:54 PM
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I noticed on the recent AMA podcast where they were discussing the RID rules many questions were asked about the 400' foot altitude the three AMA guys on the podcast would not
answer one question they were clearly avoiding the subject.
I think something is coming down as it pertains to flying over 400' that the AMA knows we won't like. Im familiar with the Coachella location they are about 100 mi from LAX
but close to Palm Springs but not in the Palm Springs landing take of pattern . Even Ontario a busy airport is a good 65 to 70 mi by air.
Old 01-01-2021, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ira d View Post
I noticed on the recent AMA podcast where they were discussing the RID rules many questions were asked about the 400' foot altitude the three AMA guys on the podcast would not
answer one question they were clearly avoiding the subject.
I think something is coming down as it pertains to flying over 400' that the AMA knows we won't like.
I think they did not address those questions because the topic was the RID rule, which has nothing to do with the conditions contained in Section 44809/349, which include the altitude limit.


Im familiar with the Coachella location they are about 100 mi from LAX
but close to Palm Springs but not in the Palm Springs landing take of pattern . Even Ontario a busy airport is a good 65 to 70 mi by air.
The uncontrolled airport in Thermal, CA (Jackie Cochran - KTRM) was what was causing the issue. They are inside the surface Class E airspace for the airport. They are in a 100 foot grid on the UASFM.
Old 01-02-2021, 06:08 AM
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Isn't in interesting that regardless of the issue, there's always an "AMA Firefighter" that runs to the scene to defend their lack of transparency. They've been working on these waivers for over two years, we can find proof of just two successes. If there's more, the AMA EC surely knows but they will not tell us where, how many, or details of what they achieved (or not). Yet they refuse to tell us. And now, the firefighters run in to say "but that wasn't the topic" of the video. It's been two years, when WILL there be a video detailing specifics of successes - or lack thereof?

Again I ask, "If the AMA has been so successful getting waivers, why not share details with members?" On the other hand, the simplest and most rational reason for not sharing those details is that AMA has not achieved as much as they've led us to believe.
Old 01-02-2021, 09:43 AM
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If that was directed towards me, I was only stating my opinion and in no way was it meant to defend the AMA. Of course I do understand that there are those in this forum who will think that anything less than screaming "Death to the AMA" amounts to a mindless obedience to Muncie.

Personally I think the AMA is causing more problems than it may think it is solving when it comes to the altitude condition in 44809. Clubs located inside controlled airspace at least have a way forward. Those located in Class G have a far less clear path. Perhaps the FRIA process will provide a means to obtain a higher operating altitude than is currently permitted in 44809.

I have no idea why the AMA has not made a bigger deal of the success that has been achieved by several clubs. On the other hand it is also possible that there may be other reasons beyond trying to obfuscate a lack of success obtaining waivers from the FAA. That could be one, but that does not mean it is the only possible reason.
Old 01-02-2021, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by FUTABA-RC View Post
On the other hand it is also possible that there may be other reasons beyond trying to obfuscate a lack of success obtaining waivers from the FAA. That could be one, but that does not mean it is the only possible reason.
I agree, simply because we do not actually know what the reason is, but I cannot even imagine what another reason might be. Can You? The AMA has been asked to share that information numerous times, it is not like they haven't heard the requests, wouldn't you think they would at least acknowledge the requests by saying something like, "We are not able to discuss specifics of waivers at this time due to..."?

Astro
Old 01-02-2021, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
I agree, simply because we do not actually know what the reason is, but I cannot even imagine what another reason might be. Can You? The AMA has been asked to share that information numerous times, it is not like they haven't heard the requests, wouldn't you think they would at least acknowledge the requests by saying something like, "We are not able to discuss specifics of waivers at this time due to..."?

Astro
I am not in the mind reading business, so I cannot postulate why the AMA does what it does. And our inability to conceive of a reason does not mean there is no reason. I simply say "I don't know" and leave it to others to play "what if" etc.


Old 01-02-2021, 12:39 PM
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(5) 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, the operator obtains prior authorization from the Administrator or designee before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.

(6) In Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions.


That's why no response from AMA; class G 400' not negotiable

(c) Operations at Fixed Sites.—
(1) Operating procedure required.—Persons operating unmanned aircraft under subsection (a) from a fixed site within 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, or a community-based organization conducting a sanctioned event within such airspace, shall make the location of the fixed site known to the Administrator and shall establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the air traffic control facility.

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/...8-sec44809.htm

Last edited by revmix; 01-02-2021 at 12:44 PM.
Old 01-02-2021, 12:51 PM
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Look at Post #15 above.You simply restated what I wrote, but then decided to attribute your opinion as the reason AMA has not commented on the issue. That is beyond what little they have done.
Old 01-02-2021, 01:11 PM
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Yeah, maybe AMA is in talks with FAA and they don't want to give out details before any deal is finalized

Last edited by revmix; 01-02-2021 at 01:17 PM.
Old 01-02-2021, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by FUTABA-RC View Post
I am not in the mind reading business, so I cannot postulate why the AMA does what it does. And our inability to conceive of a reason does not mean there is no reason. I simply say "I don't know" and leave it to others to play "what if" etc.
I couldn't think of any good reasons for it either.

Astro
Old 01-02-2021, 03:15 PM
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I think going forward we are going to find most if not all of the FRIA sites will have a hard 400' limit especially for the models that don't have RID installed. For all the
modelers that are running to FRIA sites to escape RID requirements that won't be welcome news and I think it something along those lines that the AMA does
not want to discuss. I admit i'm just speculating but it as good of guess as any.
Old 01-02-2021, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ira d View Post
I think going forward we are going to find most if not all of the FRIA sites will have a hard 400' limit especially for the models that don't have RID installed. For all the
modelers that are running to FRIA sites to escape RID requirements that won't be welcome news and I think it something along those lines that the AMA does
not want to discuss. I admit i'm just speculating but it as good of guess as any.

Absolutely no way to know that. In fact, I think it is the opposite. If your field is out in the middle of nowhere the FAA may be inclined to allow higher altitudes based on knowing you are at a fixed location. Fly outside a fixed location and then I agree, 400 in Class G will be it (barring any other developments).

Frankly I am very surprised by the changes the FAA made from the NPRM. That is unusual for them. So maybe we are making progress with them.
Old 01-02-2021, 03:40 PM
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Bill, I don't think Franklin was pointing that one post at you. I do have a pretty good idea on who it was pointed at and will leave it at that.

Ira, your speculation is probably pretty close to what's going on. The fact that we don't have any hard evidence that the AMA was involved in any of the known successful negotiations says a lot. With its known history of false claims and telling the membership not to worry about what is put out by the government, has me, UNTIL PROVEN WRONG, sticking to my belief that the clubs did their own leg work and negotiating to get the altitude waivers they received and the AMA had nothing to do with it.
Old 01-02-2021, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by FUTABA-RC View Post
If your field is out in the middle of nowhere the FAA may be inclined to allow higher altitudes based on knowing you are at a fixed location.
I wonder what percentage of modelers fly at a club, "out in the middle of nowhere"?

Astro

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