[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [TowerTalk] FAA & Private Airstrips

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] FAA & Private Airstrips
From: K8RI <>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 03:28:07 -0500
List-post: <">>
On 12/30/2011 12:34 AM, Al Kozakiewicz wrote:
> My very limited flight instruction was long ago and never put to use.  I seem 
> to recall that the downwind and base legs were no exception to minimum 
> clearances,
Depending on the airplane, many of the smaller ones pull the power on 
down wind and just glide about the last half of down wind, then base and 
final with the goal of setting down on the touch down zone.   I carry 
power all the way into the flare and have to adjust the altitude (above 
ground) according to my distance from the runway.  I typically turn 
final about 500 AGL and put the gear down.  With the gear up I have 
about twice the glide ratio of a Cessna 172 at close to 20 to 1.  With 
the gear down it's more like a streamlined brick.  I just put new tip 
tanks, solid state position lights and solid state strobes on it...then 
had a heart attack.  The plane is for sale.
>   but I also recall that I was a great looking dude in those days and I doubt 
> that was accurate either...
Been there, Done that<:-))  Unfortunately "when I had hair" I was a 
skinny red headed kid with freckles who sunburned easy and now as an old 
man, get to go to the dermatologist about three times a year because of 
those sunburns.

"I believe" That he is in the "outer flight area" and not in a 
transition area.  "Typically" height limitations in these areas are 150 
feet, but there are exceptions.  Please note I said "I believe"! and 
that there are exceptions.

> My sense is that a ham would have to be VERY close to an airport to be denied 
> the ability to erect a typical tower.  As an example, WTRY is close to the 
> Albany County NY airport and its towers (200-300 feet based on the 
> illumination) are either in, or practically so, the approach/departure to 
> runway 1.
We have a guyed (and lighted) cell tower just to the right of the glide 
slope on the GPS 06 approach.  It's around 300 feet tall IIRC, or about 
twice my altitude at that point, but it's maybe 300 yards from  the 
protected area which is probably 300  feet wide at that point.
OTOH I was coming back into the airport after being gone for several 
hours. I was on final for 36 which is our shortest runway.  US-10 
expressway runs across the South side of the airport and there was a new 
subdivision just South of the expressway.  I was doing one of these 
gentle finals that passengers like, not the steep ones I like when 
something just didn't seem right. Then I realized I was looking at a 
tower ahead of me. A tower with a guy installing a TV antenna on top and 
I was not as high as he was. I went full power, pulled up and rolled to 
the right.  The port wing passed over the guy on the tower and less than 
10 feet above him. The left main was probably almost close enough for 
him to check the tire pressure.   (Remember I'm now in a rather steep 
bank). Man but that had to have been noisy as at full power the prop 
tips were supersonic and that big engine is not exactly quiet.  The 
mufflers are straight through and only about a foot long with 3" ID 
exhaust stacks and each of those cylinders is about 80 cubic inches. I'd 
bet it was a bit breezy too<:-))  The airport manager had difficulty 
believing when I told him , but  I understand the owner called the 
airport quite upset until he found he was committing a federal crime.  
The tower was gone right quick.  Of course as soon as people moved into 
the subdivision they started complaining about the noise and tried to 
get the airport closed.

I love airplanes and flying, but no way would I build just a few hundred 
yards off the end of a runway.

BTW if I had hit that tower I'd have ended up parking that plane in 
somebody's house which would have ruined my insurance companies day as 
well as mine and my now rich widow.   100 gallons of av gas makes quite 
a show.

Commercial towers are treated differently than Amateur.  You don't 
really want to get into an area where the tower has to be lighted. You 
can get quite close and still put the antenna 20 feet above the tops of 
the trees as long as you do not line up with any of the runways.  OTOH 
if the tops are cut out of the trees you should probably seek a quieter 

> At any rate, like I said, when we wanted to put up 80 foot lighting towers, 
> the town wanted an opinion from the FAA and we got an answer in a couple of 
> weeks.
If an individual they used to give you an answer right over the phone, 
at least in the instances with which I'm familiar.
In this case I'd be more concerned about a national park or wild life 
area.  It does say "National Monument.


Roger (K8RI)
> Al
> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
> [] On Behalf Of K8RI
> Sent: Friday, December 30, 2011 12:10 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] FAA&  Private Airstrips
> On 12/29/2011 8:25 PM, Al Kozakiewicz wrote:
>> The FAA does render an opinion on these matters pretty quickly.  The youth 
>> football organization I was an officer of a few years back wanted to erect 
>> lights on a field which literally overlooked the Schenectady County airport. 
>>  There was no adverse finding.
>> IIRC, aircraft are required to maintain a clearance of 500 feet below.  A 
>> runway glidepath is an obvious exception.
> So is being within 1.5 Nautical miles and practically under the
> pattern.   500 feet is the minimum altitude in sparsely settled areas,
> but the clearance to people and buildings is much greater.  I do not have the 
> AIM (Airman's Information manual) handy so I can't look it up, but it's not 
> applicable to aircraft landing or taking off. So at less than 1.5 miles and 
> pretty much under the pattern they could be almost any altitude.
> 73
> Roger (K8RI)
>> FAR Part 77 covers the subject of navigation obstructions.  Here is a
>> good Powerpoint tutorial:
>> BA0/0/FAR_Part77.pdf
>> Al
>> AB2ZY
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:
>> [] On Behalf Of William Hein
>> Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2011 7:57 PM
>> To:
>> Subject: [TowerTalk] FAA&   Private Airstrips
>> My family and I recently moved to a wonderful house in beautiful Glade Park 
>> CO (on the other side of Colorado National Monument from Grand Junction.  
>> The house itself is an ultra-energy efficient Earthship (Google "Glade Park 
>> Earthship" for more info).  We have 35 rural acres of land around our house 
>> in a low population density rural area.  All in all it's going to be a great 
>> place for ham radio.
>> I've had stations in Malibu CA (as KC6EDP and AA6TT), Tiffany CO (as 
>> AA6TT/0) and Topsham VT (AA6TT/1 and NT1Y) so I have some idea of what works 
>> and what doesn't with regard to terrain, RF and the ionosphere.  In this 
>> regard my new location is superb with great 'shots' to EU and JA and 
>> elsewhere and is confirmed by the success the other ham who lives up here - 
>> Jerry K0DU - has in contests and pileups.  I'm counting the days until the 
>> ground thaws and tower construction can start in earnest - I've been off the 
>> air due to a heavy workload for several years and I'm dying to be back on 
>> the air.
>> Since moving in I've noticed a small private plane passing overhead fairly 
>> low (I'd say 100 feet or less) on a regular basis and landing nearby.  
>> Checking Google Maps aerial photos I discovered a small grass airstrip with 
>> a windsock - "Pinyon Airport" - on what I believe is private land a little 
>> over 5 km SE of me (5.586 km per Google).  The runway is not pointed towards 
>> my house nevertheless seeing the plane flyover directly overhead so low 
>> motivate me to Google FAA, airports and towers.  Here is a picture from 
>> Google Maps of my house with a line drawn to the closest point on the 
>> airstrip:
>> if you want to take a gander at my place on Google Maps yourself:
>>        39.013949 N
>>      -108.744371 W
>>      479 South 16 1/2 Road
>>      Glade Park CO 81523
>> The FAA Website TOWAIR indicated that "Structure does not require 
>> registration"after I plugged in my coordinates along with elevation (6840-ft 
>> ASL approx.). There are no airports within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of the 
>> coordinates you provided."  TOWAIR went on to caution "TOWAIR's findings are 
>> not definitive or binding".  Since "Pinyon Airport" (a rather pretentious 
>> designation for a grass airstrip with a windsock) is 5.5 km away I am guess 
>> it is either not registered with the FAA or somehow doesn't count as a real 
>> airport.
>> I have a 142-foot Big Bertha tower which I previously had installed in 
>> Vermont which I intend to reinstall here along with at least one other 
>> 100-ft + tower and a few smaller structures.  For many reasons I'd hate to 
>> see a airplane run into Bertha.
>> So what should I do now?  Contact the FAA for an opinion?  Find out who owns 
>> the airstrip and give them a verbal or written heads up on my tower plans 
>> and also request they avoid flying low over my house?  Something else?
>> 73
>> Bill
>> -----
>> William Hein, AA7XT
>> (ex-AA4XT, NT1Y, AA6TT, KC6EDP)
>> AMSAT Life Member
>> ARRL Life Member
>> UKSMG Member
>> 1st W to OH0 QSO on 6m
>> 1st North America to Asia QSO on 60m
>> Tel   +1 (970) 628-5120
>> Email
>> Loc:  DM59pa
>> Web
>> Web
>> AIM / iChat / iMessage
>> Skype   williamhein
>> find me on Facebook&   Four Square
>> _______________________________________________
>> _______________________________________________
>> TowerTalk mailing list
>> _______________________________________________
>> _______________________________________________
>> TowerTalk mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> _______________________________________________
> TowerTalk mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> _______________________________________________
> TowerTalk mailing list


TowerTalk mailing list

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>