In this video, learn about airspace as it relates to sUAS piloting. Airspace is among the most important skills that must be learned to become a professional drone pilot for mapping applications and beyond.
- [Male Instructor] In this video I'm going to cover just a little bit more about airspace as it relates to sUAS piloting or Drone piloting. Air space is among the most important skills that must be learned to become a professional drone pilot, from mapping applications and beyond. In front of us we're looking at http://vfrmap.com. This is a great website, it's free, I like to use it a lot to verify air spaces and you have some options here. You can look at Sectionals, you can look at Hybrid VFR, which is kind of a combination of the Google Maps and the VFR, as far as a Sectional. Down here, we have street map, and that can show you kind of the location of things, so if you're being asked to do a drone flight on a specific intersection or something like that, you can kind of drill down to where that's at and then you can flip it to Hybrid. One of the things you have to keep in mind is that this doesn't zoom in that much on the aeronautical chart here so it'll only take you to a specific zoom. You might have to kind of look at it, find out generally where it's at, keep an eyeball on that general area and then switch it to Hybrid, to see what airspace that might be in. There's some other resources out there to identify these a little bit more accurately but this is a quick way to do that. Briefly, I want to talk about air spaces and we're going to focus on class B, C, D and E air spaces. Both surface and above ground, here. What we have here, let's start with class B. We're up here at San Mateo, let's look a little farther, Oakland and that area, in California. You can see these solid, blue lines. Now this is a very complex airspace but these solid, blue lines are the actual boundary of the class B airspace and it's tiered like an upside down wedding cake. Here we have a class B airspace, and I've shown you this example and we can look at that really briefly in the PDF document, the FAA puts out. In the small unmanned aircraft systems study guide produced by the FAA you can see here how air spaces are sort of stacked and this is what I mean by this upside down wedding cake for class B and class C. Class A is everything above 18,000 feet mean sea level. Class B is what we're looking at here. So if you think of this and remember this visual picture that'll help you with the aeronautical charts. So let's go back over here. We'll see here that we have this encircling of this complex airspace. There's no way you can fly in there without a waiver. That's what this means. The next tier of the cake, we go out here and it says 21 100, so that actually, you always add two zeros onto that so that's 2100 feet to 10,000 feet is the next tier so anything below that number, assuming it's not in a class C like this one is, maybe over here might be a good example, so anything below 2100 feet is safe to fly in. So between 2100 feet and 10,000 feet in this example is actually the area that's in the class B airspace. So just because you see blue for example right here, that doesn't mean it's off limits. Right here it doesn't start until 1500 feet so you are still good as long as you fly under 400 feet which is the drone regulation so mapping is good to go here. Now class B is one thing but then we go to class C and class C is a solid magenta line. Solid magenta right here. And in this case right here at this airport, San Jose area we have the surface to 4000 feet so anything from the surface of the ground to 4000 feet is off limits to fly in this airspace right around here in this magenta line. The next area is 1500 feet to 4000 feet. So anything 1,499 feet and below is clear to go to fly a drone in this area. So that's something to think about. But right here you have to note that there is a class D which we're going to talk about in a second that like over here it might be okay as long as it's not in a restricted wetland or wildlife area. So these are kind of the ways that we look at these charts. So class C, now we go to class D. Class D is a blue dashed line. The blue dash line for the class D is like a cylinder. This goes 2000 feet. Class D's are usually always surface so what you have here is the no fly zone in any of these class D's. That's just the way it is, you have to apply for a waiver to fly in these areas. Now the next one is class E. Now class E has a faded magenta, so that's 700 feet inside the boundary and 1200 feet outside the boundary and below is clear to fly. So this is actually okay. But when you go here we have a class E surface extension. This class E surface extension is actually a no-go, you can't fly here in this dashed magenta line because it's part of this runway here. That's a no-go but if you have a dashed E that's not a surface extension, it is okay to fly in that and that rule came out quite some time ago where they changed that and allowed that to be flown over a year ago. But class E surface extensions you cannot fly in. These are some general guidelines of how to read these charts. Another really fast way if these charts are confusing or you're in an area that's just a mess and you're trying to fly right in here and you just can't tell what's going on because maybe you just don't have the experience or whatnot, you could either contact a pilot who flies these areas a lot which is one of the things that we can do sometimes or you can go to Airmap.