Flights on Airports

So we are (legally) flying on a non-towered airport with a NOTAM ect…

What’s the best way to pause the mission to abide by the “see and avoid” requirements but not have to start that collection run?

Can we simply pause in place, reduce altitude till traffic clears?
Can we drop altitude, return home, and the resume as normal?
What kind of flexibility do we have to pause & fly manually without messing up the calibration or trajectory lock?

I’ve flown non-towered airports before, in a seemingly out of the way place…
And there was traffic from GA aircraft practising touch and goes, a jet came by to test out their RNAV approaches and other, generalized flying fun!!

If you have access to their approach plates for IFR navigation (we call it Canada Air Pilot Instrument Procedures), local traffic density/frequency and MF for the airspace, you will be able to predict when and where they are coming from. Knowledge from this would allow you to plan the mission from the most likely point of interference with manned aviation (at the lowest traffic density time) to the “safety” areas.

We had to survey 750 acres right INFRONT of the airport’s runway, 1 mile up and 1 mile over. It was interesting to play with manned aircraft in traffic pattern. We never had to stop flying (it also helps that my co-pilot is a Nav Canada flight specialist).

I know its not what you asked, but I thought I would throw it out there anyways. We always seem to fly at or around airports at least once or twice a week.
Sharing pilot knowledge is a good thing, yes?


1 Like

Yep thanks for the info. In this case we are mapping the airfield and approach surfaces, so deconfliction via flight planning is limited in effect… Although, the staff and most of the local pilots have been VERY helpful.

Ya, my question was more related to the IMU’s operation and limits of what we can do b/t flight lines or forward progress.

twice a week? what are you doing that often?

In the small city where I live, our Airport and it’s “zones” cover the entire city. The majority of my flights occur within 2 miles of the airport.
While we may have a small city, our Airport is reasonably active with a flight school and regional flights, along with a small GA contingent. As a result, our flight operations are always mixing and I’ve learned a few tricks so my air operations integrate into the fabric of the local aviation community and regulations.

Aside from that, even in the country, we always seem to be only a few miles from aerodromes… I just had a wonderful conversation with our local crop spraying professionals, whom make their entire flying career under 1000’. Drones scare him, especially the larger ones.

As drone pilots, we need to be hyper aware of our locations, interference to manned aviation and be cognizant of how manned aviation pilots navigate, what they reference for elevation clues and where/what they are flying. This will reduce the chances of there ever being a conflict.

I’ve got lots of experience flying on airports, and I know exactly what you are referring to.

You can fly as normal and as long as you are in communication with aircraft and let them know if they need to be notified that there are UAS on site and where they are, you can basically scan the runway and then move off and stay low while a planes land or take-off. You can also land (keep your static time to under 5 minutes MAX, and 2 is better) if it’s easier. You can always omit this static data from your dataset in PCMaster later on the same way you would cut out a battery swap.

Short answer is simply don’t worry about it. The IMU is very robust and it shouldn’t cause you any issues to pause a mission or fly manually out of the way and then resume afterwards. Landing also won’t cause a problem, just understand that if you land for an extended amount of time (+5 minutes), it’s likely worth it to go ahead and stop the collection and start a new one.

1 Like

Excellent, thanks.

Can we crab sideways or do you need to always move in the forward direction?

Doesn’t matter. For the Facade Scanner, you are crabbing the entire time, and it works great.

1 Like