Dear survey pilots

bimmerphile

SuperCritical™ Member
#6
The amount of aerial survey work in, over, and around airports is just getting wayyy out of hand.
I dunno. Most of the stuff we did directly in the vicinity of airports was either for the port authority or AeroData. Although no one should complain about the latter, since those photos ensure there aren't any new obstacles popping up when designing engine failure procedures
 

Stone Cold

Well-Known Member
#8
I spent almost 2 months just in the DFW area years ago doing aerial survey. I'm glad I did it, but it's a tough way to make a buck in the arrivals/ departures corridors. They hated me by the beginning of my time there, and it just got worse over time. Long Island was my last spot and it was easier than working with DFW ATC.
 

averettpilot

Well-Known Member
#9
I spent over a month in the Houston area. Big project that actually had two different vendors working it. I always called ahead of time to see when the best times were to hit the high density areas. All about working together to get the job done.
 

Ozelot

Minneapolis TRACON
#11
I just got sent to monitor tower because we have too many people on today...<ducks>

Seriously...good luck man. We had 5 guys call up this morning for the exact same thing.
 

Stone Cold

Well-Known Member
#12
I spent over a month in the Houston area. Big project that actually had two different vendors working it. I always called ahead of time to see when the best times were to hit the high density areas. All about working together to get the job done.
I don't know of any survey pilots that didn't call ahead and coordinate during my time. Maybe things have changed, but that was SOP. DFW just didn't want to deal with it. This was in 2005 or so for me...
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
#13
@Ozelot @NovemberEcho

This would be an excellent teachable moment time for the younger, lower-time guys considering survey. Perhaps you could post some do's and don'ts and best practices for working together with you guys to get things done. Stuff pilots can do to help you out, right and wrong ways to ask for things, best times, etc. I know I'd certainly benefit from the perspective you have and I bet others would, too.

Just a thought.
 

Ozelot

Minneapolis TRACON
#14
@Ozelot @NovemberEcho

This would be an excellent teachable moment time for the younger, lower-time guys considering survey. Perhaps you could post some do's and don'ts and best practices for working together with you guys to get things done. Stuff pilots can do to help you out, right and wrong ways to ask for things, best times, etc. I know I'd certainly benefit from the perspective you have and I bet others would, too.

Just a thought.
It's really not a problem here in Minny, I'd say 95% of the guys fax us maps and whatnot with plenty of time to plan accordingly. Which is great! Our routes for MSP traffic are pretty simple and we aren't as congested as N90 (obviously) so it's usually not an issue. We just like to complain about it because... controllers do that
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
#16
Perhaps you could post some do's
Go away =)

Ask to work 1/2 mile off the departure end at 1500' for 20 minutes. True story.

For real though the biggest thing you could is call ahead to find out when would be a good time. There are some places when we are landing one way are no good, but completly out of the way if we are landing the other way. We do our best to accomadate y'all but there are some days where we just can't, at least not inside the B
 

Finny

Well-Known Member
#17
This is why I always tried to call the local ATC facility to work out a game plan when flying survey. So much better to have a game plan before leaving the ground than try to figure that crap out in the air...
 

bimmerphile

SuperCritical™ Member
#19
Coordinating with TMU to survey all 3 NYC bravo airfields at 2500' took about 7 months. We'd only get in maybe a line or two before the tower would tell us to go away. It could be weeks before wx and atc would align again. Thankfully we could do the lidar component at night when no one was flying
 

srn121

Well-Known Member
#20
I think y'all took 10 years off my life this morning. And you too Flight Check
I think some companies abuse airspace and try to cram as many survey planes in it as possible. I'm honestly amazed something hasn't happened by now as you've got a lot of low time pilots in some old, poorly equipped planes (I know some of the radios at my first company were pretty garbage and reception could be an issue) and working some busy airspace. I know I briefly contracted with a company that should have known better with how it drew it's survey lines and the altitude it required on its cameras, but I was working in a very busy class b with my first company and I'm pretty sure I heard the poor pilots that had to fly it as they were having to switch frequencies on every line and that's a recipe for disaster in some airspace with how busy things can get. I'm still amazed how cool the controllers can be to survey pilots though as I've had a few understandably grumpy ones, but once they found out we were trying to coordinate and be considerate they usually became pretty helpful.

I'm forever grateful for lidar though. With it we can map at night and anytime I have to work busy airspace I just ask if there's a good time we can come up and try to fly it all late in the evening. The last class B I worked I went up shortly before midnight on a weekend and I got access to wherever I wanted in spite of it being some of the busiest in the country.

I do wish it was easier to find the phone number of more controlling agencies when working airspace throughout the country. Sometimes it's incredibly easy, sometimes I'll dig around for a half hour to an hour on google.
 
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