How To: Fly Drones Commercially Near Non-Towered Airports


Hi this is Dave from Steel City Drones Flight
Academy. Today I am at Pittsburgh Butler Regional County Airport. It’s about 45mins North of Pittsburgh and We are doing a really great video that I’m really excited about. What this video is going to do is really dispel some of the myths out there and common practices that what you should be doing if you have to fly around an airport like this. So now this is an abbreviated version of
our commercial online class. So, lets talk about myth #1. The very first thing that many operators think that they should be doing is calling the airport but that’s not the case. There’s no control tower here. There’s no ATC. So, calling the airport and the administrative part of the airport is not really going to do anything or help. On top of that, they really don’t communicate
with pilots anymore than we do. Ok so, if you call them they’re not going
to be to tell pilots and be able to advise them very well. Now what you should be doing is having something
like this… This is a navigation radio.. This is an aviation radio, pilots use them,
aviators use them. This is basically, exactly what you should
be getting. Now on the screen shows the make and model of exactly what this is.. You can pick this up at Sporty’s in Cincinnati or any aviation supplier in the United States. It runs Approximately $200.00. We really like it because it is very easy
to use. Now that we know what type of radio to get,
let’s talk about how to use it properly. In airports like this, use what’s called “CTAF Frequency”, which is short for : Common Traffic Advisory Frequency. Everyone will use a slightly different frequency. How you can find what the airport’s frequency
would be is to look on the sectional chart. In this example, we’re looking on the sectional chart for this airport. You can see that next to the little circle
with the ‘C’ inside it, indicates the freq., the CTAF Freq. That’s what you should be tuning into. Now let’s talk a little bit on how to use
the radio. Really simply, there is a side panel there is a power button You’re going to press and hold it until it comes on. The next thing you’re going to see is a Warning screen that you basically have to say, “I agree”. I’ll explain in a second as to why.. To get out of that screen, you hit, the ‘ENT’
button. Once you’re there, now you can manually put
in that frequency that you’re looking for. So, for our CTAF frequency in this airport
we want to tune into 123.05. Now, there are 2 ways of doing that on this
radio. You can use the lower jog wheel to tune. Just go up and down the dial until you get
there or you can just use the number pad. Go ahead and dial it in. – All I would do is put 123.05 or simply you can jog this little wheel right here.. It’s right underneath the volume control, and you
can simply manually turn up an down the dial. It’s a little easier to just type in that
frequency. Then you are locked into the CTAF frequency
of that airport. Now, you’re not going to be able to hear this
from a far distance away. For example, if you’re maybe 7-10 miles away from the airport you’re not going to be hearing that CTAF frequency. You gotta be closer to the airport. Now, what is that little “Warning” sign? Well, this is an FCC device. It’s a communication device. The FCC takes this very seriously. Notice right here underneath the Power button is another button that has PTT label on it. That’s Push To Talk. That’s the button you would use to actually transmit or communicate through it because that’s a 2-way radio. Now to be able to do that – This is really
important – You need to have a FCC License. You need a Ground Station License to be able to transmit. You don’t need one if you’re simply going
to listen to it and own one. We highly advise against communicating and using this to talk to pilots. Many of them don’t like it and another reason why it’s not a good idea is because a lot of drone operators really don’t know the communication protocols
properly enough to talk to pilots. So, it’s just a bad idea. On top of that you’re not going to really need to talk to them because lets say you’re 3-4 miles away from the airport and you hear someone coming in to the airport from 5 miles away. That will give you plenty of time to come
full stick down and lower that drone and safely land before that plane even gets anywhere close to you. So there’s really no need to be able to communicate to them anyway. That’s what we do. Again, one last important thing to note is
that we want to make sure that we are compliant with CFR Part 107.43.That’s a really important Part 107 regulation that requires drone operators to make sure that they are not interfering
with airport operations. In other words, just because you have the
radio doesn’t give you a license to be able to fly all over the place and do-so in a reckless manner. We what to be able to make sure we are communicating as well and in addition, another layer of safety you can add to your job that you’re going to do is file a NOTAM. That’s a Notice To Airmen. That will allow pilots that are actually going o be flying in, taking off and landing at this airport to know that there’s going to be a UAS drone operations in a time and place where you’re going to be. We go over how to file a NOTAM and other different things with the airport operations in our commercial UAS class that we have online. It’s more advanced and we go into a lot more aspect of this. This is the short abbreviated version on what to do and how to do it and specifically what not to do. I hope this helps. If you have any questions, like always, please let me know and I’ll be glad to talk to you. Thanks again! If you like this video and would like to see
more free videos in the future Please subscribe to our YouTube channel. While you’re at it, if you’re interested in
free lessons on how to fly drones, discounts on drone equipment, discounts on insurance or access to our exclusive drone video library Check out our website: https://www.SteelCityFlightAcademy.com

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