FAA – UAS Facility Maps

In addition to just talking about our productions on here, we want this to be a place for you to learn about the Drone Industry as well. Today the FAA made a big step forward in approvals for Drones to fly in controlled air space. Here is the way things work. If you book us for a shoot we have to pull out a VFR Chart (Airspace Map) of Oklahoma City. We have to look up the address of the shoot, convert it into GPS Coordinates and look at that on the VFR Chart to see if we have any controlled airspace to deal with. In OKC, there is a lot of controlled airspace that reaches the surface. Most of it is hundreds, if not thousands of feet from the surface, giving us some ability to fly, but it is those areas that extend all the way to the surface that get tricky.

If you hire us for a shoot in one of those areas, we have to put in a request for an Authorization from Air Traffic Control. Not the guys in the tower, but the guys in Washington D.C. AND it can take around 3 months to get that authorization. What this new system does is stream lines the process. You can look at a 1 square mile grid section and see what the max altitude for a more or less “no questions” approval is. So, If you want us to do a shoot, and you are in controlled airspace to the surface, and your grid shows 100′, but you only need us to be at 75′, we put int he request, they see that it is 25′ lower than the limit, and here comes that big approval stamp. However if you needed us to be at 125′, and the limit is 100′, here comes the questions, and the 3 months of waiting that we are used to already. Eventually, this should move into an App based system, where as long as you are flying under the limits, you can get instant approval.

There are a lot of people upset about the list of airports that made the first list. In Oklahoma, it is Hobart, Ponca, McAlister, and Bartlesville. These are the Class E airports with a surface extension (In Class E you can usually fly up to 700′, unless it extends to the surface like these 4 airports), and they make up the smallest airports with controlled airspace to the surface. In 56 days they should release the list of Class D which should include info for Wiley Post, Norman, and RL Jones in Tulsa. For now we still have to ask for authorization, but we are looking at Days or Weeks, instead of the Months it takes now, and hopefully in the near future moving to an automated system capable of giving instant authorizations.

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