Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft
July 14, 2020 No Comments Drone Laws,FAA,Hobby Drones,Industry News Tim Trott

FAA AC 91-57B  is of interest to hobby drone operators and law enforcement responding to drone complaints. The updated Advisory Circular includes a number important changes.

Visual Observer: Visual observers need to be co-located with the recreational flyer, and able to communicate directly with the recreational flyer without the use of technological assistance.

This means the visual observer must be within “shouting distance” –  no phones or two-way radios for the pilot to communicate with the visual observer.

Limited flight locations:

This issue has the hobby community in an uproar. It implies no more drone videos of beaches, parks or other “interesting places”:

For now, recreational flyers may fly in controlled airspace only at fixed sites specifically authorized by the FAA, which are posted at the FAA’s interactive map on the UAS Data Delivery System. On the map, small blue circles depict the location of these sites in controlled airspace, and the altitude limits imposed on those sites. The altitude restrictions are derived from the UAS Facility Maps (UASFM) which form the basic structure of the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) and its operating procedures. Recreational flyers can access site-specific information by clicking on the blue circle. Recreational flyers may also refer to the actual airspace authorization and a list of sites on the FAA’s UAS website at https://www.faa.gov/uas/.

The advisory also notes that these sites have existing letters of agreement (LOA) with the FAA. For the CBO to operate in controlled airspace, an agreement between the CBO and the FAA must be in place. Certain sites may have access restrictions or other operating limitations, which are available from the site sponsor.

Hobby drone operators may no longer “call the tower” for permission to fly near airports. That got replaced with the online LAANC function.

It’s important that law enforcement involved in responding to drone complaints as well as those operating UAVs for recreational use should download and carefully review the advisory circular.

About The Author
Tim Trott Tim Trott has a long history of association with aviation. His father was a glider pilot at one time. Tim grew up with the Sky King television program and later met Kirby Grant after the TV star retired to Florida in the 1970's. Many years later, with the assistance of Kirby's wife and son, Tim wrote "Out of the Blue - The Life and Legend of Sky King". When drones began to become popular, Tim bought an early DJI Phantom. When drone licenses were required, Tim took and passed the drone test in the first hour of the first day it was offered. He later went on to develop a series of training courses and was certified as an instructor by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, teaching first responders around the country, from Boston to Houson and from Lansing to Ft. Lauderdale.