Confusion over the different air space restrictions

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Hello Everyone. 1st time posting.
I have been following 3DR Solo since it was introduced. I finally bought one when they were on sale a month ago. I registered it with the FAA and I'm familiar with the basic rules of flight.

As the title suggests, I have been having trouble understanding what all the different air restrictions mean.
The Solo app shows many different layers of restricted air space over me, but it does not explain what they mean as a drone operator. I understand the airport/heliport circles. Its the large blanket areas.

I have tried a few other drone apps to compare findings for the airspace over my location. Some apps say its safe at my location and have fun flying. Other apps(Hover, B4U Fly) say I'm in a no fly zone. That's a big difference between apps.

I tend to follow the FAA app B4U Fly. Since it's from the FAA, they will have the final word (I assume) if something bad happens when flying.The problem with the FAA app is that the planner part of the app pretty much shows most of my state (Maryland-Chesapeake Bay area) as a no fly zone. That can't be right.

I just want to be confident that I'm flying in an (approved?-non illegal) area.
I desperately don't want to be the guy that ruins it for everyone.

Is there a reference somewhere that explains all this?
 
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This may help.

I use it in skydiving training.
Your b4uFly may be showing you C/D/E airspace in addition to B. If you want to post a SkyVector.com image of your area, we can read that image and help more deeply.

Several areas around DC are SFR (special flight rules), so that might be why you're seeing it that way in B4UFly.
 
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That's a good link.

Flying Oyster - Maryland has a lot of no fly zones. There are military, government and other national security areas all over the place.

Take a look at your area on SkyVector: Flight Planning / Aeronautical Charts. One thing you'll notice is a huge temporary flight restriction that extends from the surface to 18,000'. This TFR has been in effect for a while and is until further notice.

Where are you trying to fly (what city, town, etc)?
 
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From my understanding you only have to contact an airport if it is a controlled field ie D, C, B and seldomly E. Just call the control tower and let them know what is going on. Again from my understanding they can not deny acces as long as you are not flying on airport property. Special use airspace is a whole nother thing. There are things such as TFRs (temporary flight restrictions) which prohibit flight in a certain area for a certain period of time. If you are in DC there are a lot of phrohibited and national security areas that also prohibit flight in that area.
 
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Looking to craft leg extension rails to allow easy hand launch/retrieval. Anyone interested?
 
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The more I look into it, the more I see I'm screwed.
I live in the boonies 25 miles SW of the Patuxent River Naval Air Test center along the Potomac River in St. Mary's County. I'm also right at the 5 mile range of NESEA/Webster Field. One of the restriction areas covers most of the county, the other layer is very large and spans from Virginia to Delaware. Looks like I have to drive a few hours to find somewhere to fly...if there even is somewhere lol.

The other part that is depressing, is I'm going on a 3 month research trip around the Chesapeake Bay on our research vessel(I'm a marine biologist). Most of the ports we will be staying in are under these dang restricted air spaces. There are some spectacular vistas I was hoping to film with Solo along with SkipJacks, Bugeyes, dredgers and other watermen working the oyster grounds but it seems I can't legally.
 
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The more I look into it, the more I see I'm screwed.
I live in the boonies 25 miles SW of the Patuxent River Naval Air Test center along the Potomac River in St. Mary's County. I'm also right at the 5 mile range of NESEA/Webster Field. One of the restriction areas covers most of the county, the other layer is very large and spans from Virginia to Delaware. Looks like I have to drive a few hours to find somewhere to fly...if there even is somewhere lol.

The other part that is depressing, is I'm going on a 3 month research trip around the Chesapeake Bay on our research vessel(I'm a marine biologist). Most of the ports we will be staying in are under these dang restricted air spaces. There are some spectacular vistas I was hoping to film with Solo along with SkipJacks, Bugeyes, dredgers and other watermen working the oyster grounds but it seems I can't legally.
You certainly can, you just need to jump the hoops with the FSDO office that oversees that area.
 
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Yeah, just call them up, explain yourself, what you want to do, and be nice. You'll get a long way with being nice.

If you were thinking of launching from a boat you should search this forum for boat. The problem about home moving has been solved with return to me.

Should be fun.
 
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This is a screen shot of the Washington sectional. To see it go to SkyVector: Flight Planning / Aeronautical Charts, navigate to your area, and then click where is says "Washington".Washington.JPG Washington Sectional.JPG

Along the side and bottom of the chart is a lot of information, including information about those restricted areas around PAX.

R-4002 To 20,000
R-4005 To but not including Fl 250
R-4006 3500 to but not including Fl 250
R-4007 Sfc to but not including 5000

R-4005 and R-4007 are from the surface to above where you'll be able to fly, that's a problem for you. You want to be careful around those Navy flyers, they're not to be trusted ;) (I was Air Force)

Across the river R-4006 isn't an issue since the floor is 3,500 feet.

From your description I'm guessing that you live on the peninsula with St. Mary's County Regional airport and the whole peninsula is under Class E airspace. This isn't really an issue because the class E airspace starts at 700' AGL. (look at the legend on the left of the Washington chart, don't forget to click on "Washington" to just get that chart.) Stay below it.

There's a good FAQ on the FAA web site. FAA FAQ

If you're squeamish about flying under class E then it looks like there's a patch of land in the county outside of the Class E airspace over near Rock Point on the Vicomico River. There are some private airports over there, you can find out more about them at AirNav: Airport Information. You can get contact information at Airnav, when I'm operating close to an airport I generally give them a call, they appreciate the heads up.

A couple other notes about the chart. See the blue lines like V16-20-157-213? These are victor airways where VFR pilots are supposed to fly between airports. It help to keep traffic in these areas, you can expect more air traffic in these areas, but they shouldn't be below 400'.

Please stay out of MOAs (Military Operation Areas). Pilots in there do some fairly funky flying, and even though most have a hard deck above 400' I'd still stay out of them.

Chesapeake Bay - talk to the local FSDO Washington FSDO Contact the Office

The biggest problems about Chesapeake Bay that I can see are R-4005 and R-6609, which are both surface to above where you'll be flying. R-4005 is operational 0700-2300, R-6609 is 0800 - 2300 and is supposed to be NOTAM'd 48 hours in advance of it being hot. Non-explosive ordnance is authorized in both of these areas (Patuxent River Complex) but no strafing!

Hope this helps. Don't be too discouraged, there's places in your area you can fly.
 
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Thank you for the replies. I'm just under the R-4007. This is starting to make sense. There is an enormous difference between the fantasy world presented in drone apps and actual reality. I'm fixing to leave in a few minutes to find somewhere to fly. There is a state park in the gap between R-4007 and the Zone over Washington DC.

I was reluctant to say my location. A few years ago while playing an MMO I mentioned the town where I live. A week and a half later a total stranger from the game found my house and knocked on the door. That guy wasn't right in the head. It really creeped me out. I guess I watch too many movies..lol.
 
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TLDR at bottom...
When I went to fly the other day, I ended up at Newtowne Neck state park. It's less than an hr away from my house. I then realized in my excitement to fly, I left the tablet at home on the charger...grrrr. I then just explored the park for the next trip. It's a 77 acre peninsula that is mostly a vast corn field with a few wooded sections. There is a nice 1700's manor house on property. Looks promising. I have to be mindful of the hunting seasons since hunting is allowed there.

I went back there this morning to try again. This time while setting up, a small single engine plane flow over low and slow and managed to stay in the park's airspace for over an hour. It didn't look like it was doing any kind of systematic search it was just slowly wandering around. Then a military helicopter (sea wolf?) flew over Brenton Bay and sat and hovered for a while less than a mile away, then proceeded to make a few laps around the park.

In the 2hrs I waited patiently to fly, I never had more than 8 minutes without a plane or chopper in sight. The wind slowly picked up to near 15mph and I decided to pack it in. There is no way I could have gotten the drone high enough and fast enough to be in their way or even hit them, BUT rules are rules.

While packing up to leave, a bored park employee (not a ranger) who passed by the parking area where I was several times finally stopped to see what I was doing. Upon seeing the drone he promptly told me it was illegal to fly drones in Md state parks and I had to leave immediately. I knew he was wrong but didn't argue with him since I was already leaving. I now anticipate some problems if I try to go back there again.

I gonna give trying to fly one more chance. Next time I'll go little further west to the mouth of the Wicomico river. I see nothing on the SkyVector map over it. The only public access is via a tiny boat ramp at Bushwood. If I still cant fly, I'm gonna have to give up on the drone dream.

TLDR
1st attempt: no flight (my fault)
2nd attempt: no flight (crowded air space & possible rule change for state parks)
3rd attempt: pending
 
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For the State Park thing the guy might be right if Maryland has a law against taking off or landing model airplanes from state parks. Some of the laws might not call out drones but the model airplane laws could apply.

For other aircraft you just have to stay clear of them. Sounds like you could have been clear of them.
 
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The more I look into it, the more I see I'm screwed.
I live in the boonies 25 miles SW of the Patuxent River Naval Air Test center along the Potomac River in St. Mary's County. I'm also right at the 5 mile range of NESEA/Webster Field. One of the restriction areas covers most of the county, the other layer is very large and spans from Virginia to Delaware. Looks like I have to drive a few hours to find somewhere to fly...if there even is somewhere lol.

The other part that is depressing, is I'm going on a 3 month research trip around the Chesapeake Bay on our research vessel(I'm a marine biologist). Most of the ports we will be staying in are under these dang restricted air spaces. There are some spectacular vistas I was hoping to film with Solo along with SkipJacks, Bugeyes, dredgers and other watermen working the oyster grounds but it seems I can't legally.
Contact FAA. If you are doing research, you may get an exemption
 
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This will be my 23rd year on the survey. I'm sort of the media guy for these trips. Photography is my passion and I drag my Nikon kit everywhere we go. This year I figured I'd bring the Solo for a fresh and new perspective.
The important thing is that the Solo is not officially part of the research. Any good footage would of course be added to our survey video reel which I happen to be the keeper of.

Would the FAA (FSOD) even listen to a request from a common citizen with his "toy" drone?
 

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