Flying in an FRZ - Experiences of Non Commercial Permissions

Hello,

I live just within in the FRZ for Gatwick. I understand the heightened anxiety around drones and LGW but wondering if anyone has managed to get permission to fly within an FRZ for non commercial use?

In addition the organisation I work for have a site within the FRZ and would be beneficial to be able to get some ariel photography of that site I guess this would technically be commercial but is this likely to be granted with out a pfco/gvc?

Sorry if this is sounds like a stupid question just wondering what my chances would be if I asked.

Would be interested if the main insurance companies/policies would cover flying in an FRZ?

Also more likely to be granted permission while flights are a bit thin on the ground?

Screenshot attached for info.

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I scored 3 out of 3 with my permissions which I needed for the last GADC photo comp. I wanted to fly within the Goodwood (Chichester) FRZ and filled in the form on the airfield website. Nothing heard so I rang, the Air Traffic manager was on leave but he called from home, apologised and approved my flight/

It was a lake potentially within the aerodrome circuit (and definitely within the FRZ). I was just asked to phone when on-site and when I had finished and, while I was flying they would shoo the nasty aircraft away.

I wanted a shot of Amesbury which lies within the Boscombe Down MATZ and within the airfield restrictions. Contacted via the email on the NoD website and again had to ring to chase up the query. It was planned as a weekend flight and the RAF tend to close down from noon Friday to mid-morning Monday but the civilian aircraft may still have been active. Again a courtesy call to announce my arrival and departure was requested.

Third was to take a shot of a miniature steam train exciting a tunnel close yo Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport. This is one of the CAA operated airports that is contacted via their site, along with Heathrow, Gatwick and Edinburgh amongst about 20 others. Permission granted by email but I cancelled prior to the selected day as I had scored the video I needed elsewhere.

All were summer 2020 so Covid restrictions weren’t too fierce. I emailed each site with at least 14 days notice. I was upfront with them - non-commercial flight to take photo/video for a competition.

I wasn’t concerned about insurance as it is cheaper to replace my aircraft rather than pay a yearly premium and risk having to pay an excess plus car and house insurances go up when I claim.

I do however have a £5 million public liability insurance in place via the excellent FPVUK scheme (£20 per year) and this was mentioned in each of my emails

So I have had good results from an individual airfield, the military and the CAA when asking if I can play in the airspace that they own. All seemed happy to help even though neither I nor they were making any money from the exercise and I, with my little Mavic Air, was potentially inconveniencing serious aviators.

And with less air traffic to worry about - go for it!

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Of all the airports you could have chosen to fly near with a drone :rofl:

Most members who have contacted ATC to request permission for a recreational flight have been met with success.

Tagging @stevesb in here as while he’s 250 miles away from Gatwick, I know he flys regularly in a FRZ in the north west, so the principal is the same, he may be able to offer some insight or tips for you.

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Yea I know haha. But it’s home haha. I will drop them them a line and see what they say worst case is I am told no haha.

Thank you for Tagging Steve :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you, my hope is to do the same for all the other sites we have and we also have one in Chichester. Work won’t have an issue but need do it all within the law. Might see if I can do some others and see if that gives them some assurance. Also won’t be flying too high as only want some aerial photos and maybe some close up video.

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As @macspite said, contact ATC normally I do first contact by phone and outline my plans, they will then email through a form to fill out, usually asking location and height of the flight the duration and what aircraft. They may ask for your qualifications ie pfco etc,
If granted you will be expected to phone before you take off so they can alert you to any hold ups and to know you will be in the air. They will want you to phone back when you have landed. I keep that phone available during the flight in case they need to contact me to get me to land (Blackpool did on 2 occasions ).
It is advisable that you notify the police that you are doing an authorised flight so when Joe public panics and calls 999 they don’t send half the MET to investigate a drone sighting at Gatwick.

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Thank you so much. Yep the good communications and being contactable seems like good ways to win favor.

And re police I assume via 101? I would ideally like to not make headline news :rofl:

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Yes 101 but be prepared to be in a que,:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

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Haha yup! Been there :joy:

Hi Macspite.
Thanks for that really useful and comprehensive information.
Just one point. The phone calls at the start and end of your activity are much more than simple courtesy. The Air Traffic Controllers will record that you are there and will ensure that there is no airspace conflict. Had you not made the calls, this would have raised a potential flight safety risk. As it is, you did everything by the book which is fantastic. It means that you and any other future drone drivers, including me, are likely to receive the same positive response. Thank you!!

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Thanks for that. I also got the impression that the people I spoke to had an interest in being helpful, perhaps aided by my request being slightly away from the normal routine of a controller’s life.

If I am going to be flying anywhere that doesn’t require permission from an ATC but still may have aerial activity I use Dronescene to add a notification to the map of when and where I am flying. This also automatically appears on the NATS Drone Assist map and app.

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click on Flight Reports then “Submit New Flight Reports …”

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