View Full Version : The "Is it ok to fly here?" thread

06-09-2017, 06:47 AM
For a beginner like myself, the biggest question for me is wether I'm allowed to fly somewhere or not. Factors such as roads, people, airspace, etc. can get confusing and it would be nice to have a single thread where people ask specific questions about a location to get a consensus for those who are more experienced.

To make this simpler let's try to stick to the following format:

Location you are planning on flying (provide physical address when possible) This is very important to determine country, airspace and sorounding obsticales.

Are you licensed (if so what type) or flying as a hobbyist

Why kinds of shots you are looking to get.

Any other information and/or concerns about flying in this area

06-09-2017, 06:52 AM
I'll start it off:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Congregation+Ohr+HaTorah/@40.913039,-74.0058054,257a,35y,280.78h/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x1a3f0e10ea99051!8m2! 3d40.91274!4d-74.005845

No license currently. Flying as a hobbyist working my way towards a part 107.

I want to get straight overhead shots. Tracking shot from the street. Lastly, a wrap around shot of the house/building from about 100/200 feet.

I'm not sure if there is a major airport in the area or what airspace it's considered. I also don't know if the wrap around shot would be allowed since it would mean flying over other streets and homes. Any guidance would be appreciated.

Liam Hall
06-09-2017, 07:02 AM
Lots of Apps can help you, like Hover, AirMap for example.

06-09-2017, 08:05 AM
Ok ... first question perhaps most importantly - if you are shooting aerial in the US... do you have your UAS remote pilot waiver?

06-09-2017, 10:38 AM
Good Point Mark, I've added it to the information to include.

Yes, Apps can help you know if the area is legal to fly but there are still questions that come up for beginers such as myself. Knowing what restirctions apply to a hobbyist v.s part 107 and if we need to contact a control tower or not. Also questions regarding safe flying practices or legalities around flying over homes, quite streets with little car traffic, etc.

This thread is meant more as a tool to ask about specific areas people are interested in shooting near.

Liam Hall
06-09-2017, 11:00 AM
Lots of places on the internet have all the info you need. Maybe start here:


06-09-2017, 11:19 AM
Just to be clear on this. Not trying to be a fuddy duddy... but rather to help you... it is my understanding - and I have taken and passed the part 107 test and received my 2 year remote pilot certification about 2 months ago -- that the FAA considers any unmanned flight done for gain or profit to be commercial in nature. So, when you state "hobbyist" - that would be the case if you are out flying simply for fun/recreation. But if you are getting specific shots that a client or you will use for financial gain or promotion - even you don't charge that client $ for your service - then the FAA considers this to be commercial. (I'm talking in US only here). And you are putting yourself at risk.
That link Liam sent above is a good place to get started to learn more...
In very very broad general terms - if you truly are a hobbyist - then fly in remote areas - never over people or near other flying aircraft & stay below 400ft. And don't use the pics or footage to promote anything.

06-11-2017, 05:46 AM
Just to be clear on this. Not trying to be a fuddy duddy...

For the sake of the thread I think we need to assume everyone is following the rules and not assume they are working the system (We don't just assume people pirate software when they ask a question about it.) That being said, there are situations where even hobbyists want to film in places other than remote areas. For instance I want to film over my synagogue and my home. I also want to get practice flying in residential areas. THere are also very few remote areas in my neck of the woods (no pun intended). So again, I'll say let's just assume people are doing what they should be doing and let this be a thread to be used as a good tool to get an opinion about questionable locations in order to give operators peace of mind whne flying.

06-28-2017, 12:11 PM
Download the B4UFly app from the FAA. That will alert you of airports and helipads nearby. Yes, you need to do your due diligence and call the towers if you are flying within five miles of them. I have the form that the tower operators must fill out when you call them, although there is a lot of gray area about whether you are merely calling them to notify them of your plans or if they can prohibit you from flying. According to the form, it's both, which means that a paranoid tower worker can basically just tell everyone who calls, "No, you cannot fly within 5 miles of our airport".

1. B4UFly app for your smartphone
2. http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/air-space-map/ is the U.S. Air Space Map, this is essentially the computer website version of the app
3. https://www.airnav.com/airports/ helps you ID airport codes and find phone numbers for their ATC towers/facilities so you can notify them
4. https://hivemapper.com/ Hivemapper has some interesting resources for drone users, worth a look
5. Using the B4UFly App and notifying towers is just the beginning. You must also check local, city and county restrictions and ordinances as well, many places are hastily putting out blanket "No Drone" policies in a panic. There really isn't much you can do than be aware of the local regs and make an intelligent risk assesment about your chances of being caught, prosecuted and or fined. I want to stay within the law, of course, but drone usage is exploding and frankly, the technology is way ahead of legislation and common sense solutions. You really can't have a multi-billion dollar business, selling hundreds of thousands of drones to hobbyists and pro users and then have what is marching toward a total ban on flying drones anywhere.

You will also encounter law enforcement and security who will make up fake/non-existant laws and regulations. Know the laws better than they do. Have them cite PC or Ordinances. If they cannot, they cannot prosecute you, although they can detain and arrest you. In the U.S., if something is not definitively illegal, then it is legal. If PC, regs or ordinances do not exist that prohibit an activity like flying a drone, then you can fly it. That doesn't mean you won't get hassled, arrested or detained or your private property like your drone confiscated or damaged. Be aware of your civil rights and the laws regarding drones. A DA cannot charge you if no law exists that prohibits what you were doing. But also beware that new laws are hastily being drafted and executed that you may not be aware of.

08-06-2017, 08:53 PM
This thread is a great idea. Thank you!

08-07-2017, 08:47 PM
Download the B4UFly app from the FAA...

DO NOT rely on the B4UFly App. In fact, if you have it, delete it and move to something that's reliable like Hover or AirMap (both use AirMap's data, btw).

B4UFly is a travesty and the FAA should be ashamed they released it. The data in there is full of inaccuracies and includes airports, heliports and other "restricted" items that haven't been active for years (or decades in some cases). There are many many examples out there if you want specifics.

which means that a paranoid tower worker can basically just tell everyone who calls, "No, you cannot fly within 5 miles of our airport".

Incorrect. ATC can deny when you call to notify, but they MUST provide you with SPECIFIC reasons for that denial and they need to be legitimate safety concerns. A "paranoid tower worker" who denies everyone very likely does NOT meet that requirement. Doesn't mean someone won't try, but if they don't provide you with a specific reason for the denial (like "we have low-level overflights planned in that area at that time" or "that area is too close to our primary runway") it's not a legit denial.