This is the first of several/many blog postings introducing new pilots – Drone and Fixed and Rotor Wings types – to some of the ins and outs of how the FAA handles airspace in the United States. It is meant to be informative and helpful but should not serve as a substitute for the several excellent, formal (read that you give someone money!) courses out there. One that I am associated with (and thus, of course, an excellent site!) is Drone Academy (https://droneacademy.com/).
The way I see it, there are two main aspects of flying aircraft. The First is the physical part, you manipulating the controls of the craft to keep it flying and you safe. There is an old adage that notes, ‘It is a Good Landing if you walk away alive. It is a Great Landing if the craft can take off again!’ As a pilot you want to be able to take your craft off from the earth, maneuver it without injuring anyone or breaking any property, and land it back safe enough that you can use it again. The better you do the that happier you will be and anyone associated with you and the airspace you will be flying in. The Second Part is the one that involves you flying without violating any of the FAA and local rules. These rules are primarily designed to keep pilots from bumping their craft into someone else’s or back into the earth and those things jutting out from it. In the course of this blog both aspects will be dealt with but I will begin with the Second Part – the FAA’s regulations. Flying your bird involves the hands on that a blog cannot provide and for those drone driver types, you have not gone through the training that fixed wing and rotor wing pilots have, or for the most part, to the degree that they have. Here is where I fit in. I am a licensed pilot flying Bonanzas these days and I am also Instrument rated, which is always a good idea when flying something as fast and long legged as a Bonanza.
When I worked at a drone store (Drones Plus Dallas – https://www.dronesplusdallas.com/), the most frequent questions from new customers concerned the airspace and how to make heads and tails of it. This is particularly important in the Dallas-Fort Worth area because we have some serious airspace here and it can be daunting maneuvering around in it without getting local and federal attention!
What I have below are two links to maps from the FAA. Those are followed by three types of maps. I will talk about these in more detail in my next post.