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Old 10-16-2021, 08:21 PM
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speedracerntrixie
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I just got this in my email concerning a soaring club in Visalia California. It appears that they have an altitude exemption in the works and that Tyler Dobbs at AMA was involved. The process is a bit slow but is in fact working. I won’t be contributing anything more to this thread except for when I find out that operations up to 2,000’ have resumed. Hopefully the thread won’t be flooded with petty bickering between now and then.


Fellas,

As you know back in 2018 the FAA issued new mandates for altitude limits for Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS) in controlled airspace. The CVRC flying field is within that controlled airspace in proximity to Visalia Municipal Airport. CVRC board members have just, this morning, joined and completed a Safety Risk Management (SRM) panel Zoom meeting to ask for a 2,000 ft AGL altitude flying clearance for our flying site.

After 5 hours of talks about risks to manned aircraft and mitigations to reduce that risk, it was decided by the panel to approve our request to fly to 2,000 ft AGL with certain mitigating actions to be implemented as well as a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with Visalia Municipal Airport and Fresno Air Terminal. Tyler Dobbs from the Academy of Model Aeronautics, who has helped many other RC clubs through this process, was present and helped us get the approval, however, the LOA has not yet been drafted and signed, this paperwork process will take approximately two months to complete. Tyler said that we should not hold any events with flying above 200 ft. till we get that document endorsed, as now we are on the FAA and Fresno's air traffic controls radar. If we are observed flying above the 200 ft. mandated ceiling before the LOA is implemented, we could lose our requested 2,000 ft. limit. Once it is implemented, CVRC can resume events as we have done in the past

I am very sorry for the late notice. I was hopeful this would not affect the Aerotow. We are considering rescheduling this event for maybe January or February 2022, what do you guys think, will you come in the colder months to beautiful Visalia?

Again, please accept my apologies for this, I know there will be many questions, so please let me know. I'll probably wait a few days before responding and then answer many questions in a group email. Don't worry, we'll all be flying together again real soon.

Thanks,

Tim Johnson
Old 10-17-2021, 01:10 AM
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Hydro Junkie
 
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Speed, I'm curious. Is the VMA a tower controlled airport? If it is, I can see the FAA requiring the club to have to call the tower(if there is one) when people start arriving at the field if this is approved. The reason I'm curious is my local municipal airport is not tower controlled and they fly manned gliders and ultralites from a second, shorter runway.
Old 10-17-2021, 11:35 AM
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Dick T.
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Visalia Municipal does not have a tower but a Unicom based FBO. Fresno (FAT) is tower controlled and it's radar coverage extends to Visalia. The CVRC Soaring Site is not in VMA's traffic pattern but is in line with Fresno about 40 miles to the North. Commercial traffic passing over CVRC is generally above 4000ft AGL so a 2000ft ceiling for soaring is workable.

CVRC has a stellar 30 year plus record of soaring events (monthly and annually) in full coordination with Visalia and Fresno. They have an enviable flying site with winches, large grass areas, a fabric runway for electric power planes, permanent cover structure with bench/table and electrical power. Locked storage and portable outhouses. The site is basically a peninsula on a flood control basin so in the right conditions two huge ponds are available.

Glad to see them getting the exemption as the club and site are one of the best in California and visited often by flyers from around the USA as well as International.

Flying Site | CVRC – Central Valley RC (wordpress.com)
Old 10-17-2021, 01:39 PM
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Thanks Dick.
Sounds like VMA is similar to Arlington up in Washington. Arlington is 18.4 miles from Everett's Paine Field, home of the Boeing widebody factory while Oak Harbor's AJ Eisenberg Airport is 30 miles from Paine Field. I wonder if Paine's radar covers Arlington and Oak Harbor in the same way? The only other towered, radar equipped field would be at NAS Whidbey Island and I doubt they would work much with civilian aircraft
Old 10-17-2021, 02:55 PM
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It's great to hear some good news, and this is truly great news! When the agreement is officially implemented it'll be a great victory for the AMA, with hopefully many more to follow

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