Drone Pilots, Do other aircraft know you are out there?

Do other aircraft know you are out there?

You would think that flying a drone in the middle of a corn field during production would be about as safe as safe can be.  But in reality you can find yourself in the middle of an aerial application rather quickly.  After the corn crop has grown above eye level it can be impossible to see low flying aircraft.  Your responsibility to give way to manned aircraft can become extremely difficult.

So how do you let manned aircraft operations know about your drone activities?

The simple and best way is to file a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) with the FAA.  NOTAMs are published and are included in a pilots briefing. All manned aircraft pilots are required to become familiar with conditions pertaining to their route of flight. Included in that briefing is the UAS Operating Areas section.

Below is a segment of a recent briefing I received:

UAS Operating Areas


It states that there will be UAS operations with in an area defined as 10 NM radius on the 310 radial 20NM Grand Forks VOR-DME and 7NM South West of the Minto Airport. The flights will be from the surface to 9,500 feet above the ground. They will occur daily from 1300 – 2359 Zulu.

With this information a manned aircraft pilot can avoid or plan their trip in such a way that avoids any unnecessary risk of hitting a drone (your drone).  It also limits the risk that you will get a surprise while flying your drone.

In our next post we will share how to create a NOTAM with the FAA and what you need to provide the flight data specialist during your notification. For now find your VFR sectional and ruler marked in (NM) Nautical Miles.

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