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3mpire

drop zone radius?

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I am under the impression that the definition of a drop zone with the FAA is a radius around the airport--for example, 2 miles.

Can anyone explain to me how this works? Is it an official designation by the FAA that one must apply for? What is the expectation that this radius would have? No parachute or freefallers outside this radius? Or is the radius merely used by commercial and GA pilots as a heads up that within that radius you could/should expect parachute activity?

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from the googlemachine...could be bullshit, dunno

http://www.faasafety.gov/gslac/ALC/libview_normal.aspx?id=7720

Skydiving operations with continuous activity may file a permanent NOTAM. These areas are often, but not always, depicted on aeronautical charts with a parachute symbol and are listed in the Airport/Facility Directory. The actual location of parachute symbols on the chart does not represent the precise location of drop zones. The symbol on the chart may be in the only free spot that is clear of other markings. Another reasons to make sure you look for these symbols is because the FSS will not normally identify these permanent NOTAMs during a preflight briefing, unless specifically requested to do so.

Pilots and skydivers need to be alert and follow the rules. It is the responsibility of everyone to watch for, and avoid, each other. Because skydivers freefall at a speed of 120 mph or more, they are extremely difficult to spot from other aircraft. Unless you are flying into, or out of, and airport where skydiving is taking place, it is best to avoid overflying such an airport by at least 2 miles. Maintain a listening watch on UNICOM.

http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/faq/?print=go

How can I get a parachute jumping symbol for a specific area put on a chart?

Parachute-jumping symbols designate airspace areas to alert the flying public of special air traffic activity. Charting these areas may be accomplished by contacting the FAA Air Traffic Facility (Control Tower, Approach Control Facility, Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC)) having jurisdiction over the airspace and requesting the specific area be charted. The FAA specialist will submit a Special Activity Area Data Sheet to the National Flight Data Center (NFDC) at FAA Headquarters for publication in the National Flight Data Digest. For depiction on a chart, the parachute jumping area must:
•Be in operation for at least 1 year.
•Operate year round (at least on weekends).
•Conduct (and log) 4,000 or more jumps each year.

FAA Regions can nominate jump sites if special circumstances require charting.

Once published in the National Flight Data Digest, FAA AeroNav Products adds the PARACHUTE JUMPING AREA to that section of the Airport/Facility Directory. If it meets minimum charting requirements, the FAA AeroNav Products depicts the appropriate charts with the Parachute Jump Area symbol in the next publication cycle.

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3mpire

Or is the radius merely used by commercial and GA pilots as a heads up that within that radius you could/should expect parachute activity?



This. It is NOT, repeat NOT, mandatory that other aircraft avoid the area.

A drop zone with a parachute symbol attached to it is NOT a guarantee no other aircraft will be below you when you exit the jump ship.
quade -
The World's Most Boring Skydiver

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quade

***Or is the radius merely used by commercial and GA pilots as a heads up that within that radius you could/should expect parachute activity?



This. It is NOT, repeat NOT, mandatory that other aircraft avoid the area.

A drop zone with a parachute symbol attached to it is NOT a guarantee no other aircraft will be below you when you exit the jump ship.

Ain't that the truth...

At Mt Vernon.. right next to I-5 in norther WA we had dozens of idiots transiting thru our airpace on a daily basis flyin I Follow Road 5. Also kinda fun to see a flight of f-18's on final to Whidby NAS below you too... I SOOOOO wanted to speed dive past them... just once... to see if their radars would pick me up in a high angle of attack above them :D

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hillson


Be advised that the use of "NOTAM" on that page is confusing. They should have used the word "notification" as is used in FAR 105. NOTAMS can be filed too, but the notification is what is required.

See this article for a full explanation:
http://www.dropzone.com/safety/General_Safety/Jumping_Away_from_the_Normal_Dropzone_896.html

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There are no DZ boundaries depicted on VFR Sectional charts, horizontal or vertical. The parachute operations symbol on the charts is placed only in a vague general location near the airport. Most GA pilots have no friggin' idea what a drop zone is, and there is no specific FAR that prevents someone from flying right through one. Local pilots are probably familiar with DZ activities, but transient aircraft will likely be clueless. Until I started skydiving, to me a parachute was a big seat cushion that I had to use when flying aerobatics. (Which no one showed me how to use):$
Oh, and there's no requirement for aircraft to have a either radio or a transponder at most non-tower airports.
The BIG SKY theory works to keep bad things from happening most of the time, but it seems like it wouldn't hurt to have some kind of outreach program to educate GA pilots. Hello USPA maybe?

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Thanks for the replies everyone--I should probably clarify that my question is coming more from the perspective of the jumpers than pilots. We all know pilots don't HAVE to stay out, and that they often don't.

Just a few weeks ago I watched a boeing dreamlifter fly almost right down jumprun at around 1,000 feet not fifteen minutes after sunset load had landed. I was just thankful they didn't try to land on the 2,750 runway :D:D

I guess where I'm really going with it is that if the "DZ" is defined as a "2 mile radius" that wouldn't have any limitation whatsoever on, say a cross country or a wingsuit leaving the AC 2.5 miles out... for example.

In other words, the 2 mile radius is meaningless insofar as dictating the exact nature of parachute operations. Is that a true statement?

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I got some video last week of an army medic Blackhawk doing touch an goes at Addington field in elizabethtown ky at the skydive ky Dropzone. Two tandems were on jump run on the first touch, came in on approach right over the spot that day before the jumpers were out. Then did another touch opposite approach and this time the jumpers were under canopy. The chopper (and I was thinking "blender") lifted off and tracked west DIRECTLY OVER the dz landing area at about 500 feet, right underneath 2 tandems under canopy. When they landed I said to the TI, wow that didn't look very comfortable. He said, yeah, they were probably 1000 feet below me. I wondered if the chopper crew had any idea there were jumpers directly above them. Personally was a bit unsettling.

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3mpire


In other words, the 2 mile radius is meaningless insofar as dictating the exact nature of parachute operations. Is that a true statement?



Yep. vis a vis aircraft operations at a public use airport. There are usually landing pattern direction indicators at a non-tower airport that should keep landing & takeoff operations away from where the jumpers are supposed to be (or for noise abatement, obstructions, etc), but it's not really a guarantee.

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Rickendiver

... but it seems like it wouldn't hurt to have some kind of outreach program to educate GA pilots. Hello USPA maybe?



Actually, a while back USPA was able to get dropzones listed in GPS databases, but I cannot find an article on the USPA web site, so if I give you any more details I might get them wrong. I recall that some people had to work long and hard to make it happen.

As far as reaching out to pilots, well, articles could be written for pilot magazines, but which ones? Not all pilots belong to an organization or get a magazine.

These things don't come easy, and then, pilots will need to remember the information.

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Situations like these are the reason why I’m a huge advocate for DZ outreach programs. There are several ways in which we can connect with those around us. When was the last time anyone invited outside entities (local pilots, first responders, airport/FAA officials, local government, etc.) to the DZ for an event? Safety day is a huge opportunity for this. Seminars are also a good way to get some continuing education for jumpers as well as some of the folks listed above. We can really go a long way towards helping ourselves here. Build the relationships before we need them.

D
The brave may not live forever, but the timid never live at all.

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I was thinking more like going through AOPA. They conduct regular aviation safety seminars and CFI refresher seminars. Getting the info to the CFI population who might then include it in pilot training & BFR's. Just a thought.

Last year, while I was waiting in the loading area for the jump plane, a man walked up to me and introduced himself as a pilot and asked about jump operations- specifically how he could avoid flying through skydiver activities. I happily gave him as much info as I could, and invited him to stick around and watch.

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Rickendiver

I was thinking more like going through AOPA.



Yes, an article in AOPA Pilot would be nice. Maybe we can all lobby Randy Ottinger, our Government Relations person at USPA headquarters, to write one. Maybe he has already done this and we can't find the article on the USPA web site.

Quote

Last year, while I was waiting in the loading area for the jump plane, a man walked up to me and introduced himself as a pilot and asked about jump operations- specifically how he could avoid flying through skydiver activities. I happily gave him as much info as I could, and invited him to stick around and watch.



I think it would be smart for every dropzone to have a brochure (and a page on their web site) that provides information about skydiving at that dropzone, for pilots who may fly there. Then you could just go grab a brochure and give it to them.

Here is my contribution. From my web site logs I can see that it still gets quite a few visits. I would be happy to see people use part of it to help create their own document for their dropzone.

http://www.skydivestlouisarea.com/skydivng.htm

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