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airspace authorization backlog rant

brian bwin

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Well, 31 days after my second email inquiry and 121 days after submitting my request for a routine airspace authorization I got this response from the FAA help desk:

Hello, Thank you for contacting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Airspace Requests - The FAA asks for your patience as the sheer volume of UAS Airspace requests has placed an overload on the FAA resources processing these requests. Currently there is a backlog of Airspace Authorizations of 2 months and Airspace Waivers of 6 to 9 months.

Waiver requests - The FAA encourages applicants to submit their application at least 90 days prior to the start of the proposed operation. The FAA will strive to complete review and adjudication of waivers and airspace authorizations within 90 days; however, the time needed to process an application depends on the complexity of the request and how accurate and complete the information provided is.
So maybe I can expect the request I made in April to come through by September?!?! :mad: Meanwhile I'm slated to be screwed out of shooting an event on 9/24 if the backlog holds. That request is sitting at 84 days right now. I really want to know how a recreational flyer can call the control tower and fly within minutes while commercial operators wait 5 months for a request to fly sometimes lower than nearby obstacles such as trees, power lines, buildings, etc. Can I argue "non-navigable airspace" if I'm flying lower than such obstacles??? I know the answer is no but at some point you just...

Beyond frustrated... apologies for the rant, thanks for reading. Anyone else experiencing this?
 

4everaerial

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I'm at 90 days as well with not a peep from the FAA. Meanwhile the cowboy operators are taking all the jobs in the area. Frustrating....
 

WildDoktor

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Same here; on the 16th it'll have been 90 days for me. 6 to 9 months? How can anybody in the FAA think this process works? How has this not been abandoned already? I'm seriously thinking of becoming a cowboy. This is the stupidest thing ever.
 

brian bwin

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.. Frustrating....
.. This is the stupidest thing ever.
Right there with you both :( I feel like it's barely worth the stress until this process gets fixed.

I got very excited to receive an email from the FAA except, it's for the one that's only sitting at 90 days AND it's just an email thanking me for submitting my request not an actual approval...grrrrrrr

AirspaceAuthorization <[email protected]>
Aug 8 (1 day ago)
to brian

Thank you for submitting an Airspace Authorization request to the Federal Aviation Administration. This email is in reference to the application submitted on 5/12/2017 in the vicinity of KEVY.

Request Number: xxxxx

Please do not reply to this email address, it is a distribution mailbox only.
 

WildDoktor

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I think we're on the same flight path. :)

The other day I got two emails from the FAA thanking me for submitting a request. One on 5/16 and one on 5/18. Sheesh.

Oh, and a calendar reminder that I set for myself just popped up. Must renew my currently approved auth NOW, so that I'll hopefully have it re-approved by the time it expires. In November. Unreal.
 

WildDoktor

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Wow...I got an authorization today! Finally!!!

Submitted 5/16 and 5/19
Acknowledged 8/8
Consolidated and approved 9/12

Unbelievable.

Honestly, last Friday I'd almost decided to quit. All communication from all potential clients and the FAA had suddenly stopped around the beginning of July. Like, I'd make a phone call, leave a message, send an email, and *nothing*. No response at all...like I'd never sent it. The fiasco with the xsp firmware NFZ alerts was bad, but the 2nd fw update broke my camera and I can't remember what else, and I just said "enough" and put the xsp and my dreams away. I even stopped visiting this forum and the facebook page.

So yeah; by last Friday, I was ready to hang up the business that hadn't gotten off the ground.

But Sunday morning I heard a great message on Hope and Joy, and decided I'd go ahead and hope again, even with zero possibilities. Guess that's called Faith. :)

Wouldn't you know it? Monday morning Autel puts out another firmware update. And today I get a blanket Class D airspace approval, plus a provision that I can fly in the "zero" areas as long as I coordinate with the ATCT beforehand. (The FAA guy actually called the tower and agreed to it with them before approving my authorization.)

With that good news, I even decided to re-contact a potential client via email today.

So, suddenly, I'm now able to fly my entire Class D airspace (which covers 9/10 of my city), at the altitudes listed in the facility map, without having to plan 4 months in advance and *hoping* I'll be approved!!

I'm kind of beside myself, and looking forward to charging up my batteries when I get home tonight, updating the firmware, and moving forward!

Whew. :)

Anyway, I just wanted to share some good news. I *hope* some of you guys start getting your approvals soon!!
 
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Tufargon

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Incredible!! Hope things keep going THIS way for you and you prosper now!!
 
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KentA

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It is amazing that an administration in Washington that promised to cut red tape to help small business has allowed things to get so much worse.
 

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