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Big Changes to FAA Policy Starting 5/17

Andre Levite

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This internal FAA memo states that beginning 5/17/2019 hobbyists can no longer fly within 5 miles of an airport by calling the ATC. It further advises that electronic notification via LAANC will be the new method beginning sometime this summer. During the intervening transition period it is less clear exactly what the procedure will be.

They muddied the water further by suggesting elsewhere that the rules themselves will change in a significant but yet undisclosed manner. They have also requested permission to track pilots electronically. They have also eliminated the our friendly designation as "hobbyist" with the more serious-sounding "Limited Recreational Flyer". There are repeated references to flight in fixed/designated model aircraft fields but not yet clear if that's the only place flight that will be permissable in restricted airspace. There will need to be more details for FAA officials to enforce this and for hobbyists to comply - it raises many questions at present.

Hard to be certain if all this is as ominous as it sounds or it is communicated that way because this memo was not meant to circulate publicly. In the next few days there will be more details and probably some confusion. Hopefully when the dust settles this will be an improvement and not further restriction and marginalization of our HOBBY.

Stay tuned
 

Spark 317

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It further advises that electronic notification via LAANC will be the new method beginning sometime this summer.
So the WiFi only mini4 I purchased just for flying will have to be connected to another device via WiFi Hotspot to file a flight notification if near an airport?

Sounds easier to stay away from airports.

Or an excuse to purchase the mini5 with cell service.
 

Andre Levite

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So the WiFi only mini4 I purchased just for flying will have to be connected to another device via WiFi Hotspot to file a flight notification if near an airport?

Sounds easier to stay away from airports.

Or an excuse to purchase the mini5 with cell service.
The FAA will initially only require LAANC around airports and other specific restricted flight areas. Once that is up and running out would be trivial for them to require that for all flights - having the manpower to enforce that is another matter. There are several drone detection companies eager to assist in this however. As long is there is a perceived public safety issue and profits to be made we are headed down that road.

You won't necessarily need your flying device to have a wifi or cellular signal to get LAANC clearance because you can apply for a future time (limited) when still at home or from another cell phone in the field.
 
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