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Practice box

Posted By:
Larry Martin
#1 Posted: 1/16/2011 14:01:56

If one does not need a waiver for airspace, altitude, etc to do aerobatics in  legal space, (albeit just) is it genrally a good idea to petition for an "approved" box, or might that open too many cans not needed, and best left alone?




Martin Price
IAC Member
#2 Posted: 1/17/2011 12:08:51

If, as you say, everything's completely legal then I'd say leave it alone and fly.  Since the actual "approval" for a box consists of a waiver for the relevant FARs (aerobatics below 1500' AGL being the key one, along with things like being within 4 miles of airways) I'm not sure the concept of an approved box would even exist when you're already following all of the regs.

So go fly and have fun would be my considered opinion!


Tony Johnstone
IAC MemberNAFI Member
#3 Posted: 1/17/2011 16:24:26

I would second that opinion.  The only reason to have a waivered box would be for a contest, for practice for a contest, or if you need a floor below 1500' AGL.  There is a lot of paperwork involved, multiple agreements between the FAA, landowners or airports, annual reapplications, and listings of pilots approved to fly in the box.  Also, you generally have to notify Flight Service an hour before use so they can Notam it.

My theory is, as long as you are in legal airspace and nobody on the ground is objecting, just go fly!!

                                              Cheers, Tony

Christopher Carlson
IAC MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
#4 Posted: 1/17/2011 22:49:52


I second Tony reply. Find s space that keeps you FAR covered and have fun.



The FAA is childs play compared to the new EPA (tsar) recent directives (none of which were run by Congress BTW). You now have to PROVE you are not in any way causing harm to the Eco system (ground, air or water) with your actions in a "box". This entails a study (payed for by you) to make sure a "speckled-tailed-round-billed-ringfooted-bule eyed-brownwinged-wooper cooker will not be endangered by you and your smelly, noisy airplane...

Here's an example of the blantent stupidity:

Our DTN box is directly ABOVE DTN airport.

We are the biggest GA airport in Louisiana.

Airplanes come and go all day.

Some Jets, some Props and some a mixture of the two.

Some louder, some quieter.

Our Box waiver is held up due to "no required EPA review attached"

The Airport Manager has pointed out the EPA study for the airport should answer all questions.

It's been 6 months and counting..

We just go a bit North and practise over some fields so we still get to play (many don't have this option) but if the EAA and the IAC doesn't find a solution soon I forsee a further decline in acro pilot  membership...




Larry Martin
#5 Posted: 1/18/2011 06:29:54

Thanks Guys,


  That's what I would have thought.  I'm pretty close to the 4 mile airway stuff, but I figured IF, that ever came to a problem there would have to be bigger problems first - it wouldn't be a "stand alone" problem.  I just didn't know politically if it's better or not.


Thanks again

- gone flying

Wesley Jones
IAC MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#6 Posted: 1/26/2011 09:48:32

If you've got questions or concerns about this stuff, the first place to stop is with the IAC government affairs people.  There's a few folks there that are very plugged in to these issues and how to solve your problems and have been very helpful to members and chapters all over the country.  In fact, it's probably a good idea to keep them in the loop even if you don't think you're having any problems.  I know there's a concern that individual chapters might agree to some FSDO demands on a waiver that might seem fine to the locals but a) aren't appropriate; and b) might set a precedence for future approvals that would tie our hands in other places.

To the original poster on this thread, I would just make sure you understand everything that might disqualify an area as legal aerobatic space.  I've heard of some pretty counter-intuitive reasoning used about what constitutes a "congested area."  We have a couple of places here in Maryland were we fly without waivers in legal space but we've had the FSDO weigh in and agree with us that it's OK.  That was a pretty helpful step to have taken when the occasional complaint drifts in to the FSDO.

Wayne Roberts
IAC MemberHomebuilder or Craftsman
#7 Posted: 1/26/2011 13:41:52


The presently mandated Environmental Assessment (EA) to which you refer is not something the waiver applicant must contract for and provide.  Currently, an applicant need only submit properly executed FAA Form 7711-2 and the Environmental Information Document (EID), along with required supporting maps or photos depicting the location of their proposed Aerobatic Practice Area (APA), to their local FSDO. 

The local FSDO will forward the properly completed waiver application to an FAA contracted environmental group for completion of the Environmental Assessment.  Once a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is determined (valid for 3 years), this will be noted on the application, which will then be forwarded to the FAA's legal department for review.  Finally, with EA and FAA legal review complete, the local FSDO will be notified that a long-term (2 years max) APA waiver may be issued.

Under the new guidance, this process takes a few months to work through all the various channels.  Accordingly, waiver issuance may require as much as 60 to 90 days, or possibly more, to complete.  However, it should be noted that though admittedly more complex and time consuming than we would all prefer, the waiver application process is entirely manageable. 

The IAC Government Relations Committee continues in our efforts, working with the FAA with a view toward streamlining the Aerobatic Practice Area waiver issuance process.   In the interim, while we work toward substantive improvement, we continue to assist individual IAC members across the nation with particular APA waiver issues.

From your post, it would appear something has likely gone awry with respect to your KDTN  waiver request.  Sadly, this is not all all uncommon due to apparent widespread unfamiliarity of both waiver applicants and local FSDO staff with the new guidance requirements.

If I may be of service, please feel free to contact me directly.

Wayne Roberts


Wayne R.
#8 Posted: 2/3/2011 14:36:31

i have has a box right next to KLKR since 2009 and I am glad I followed the wise recomendations of a few within IAC. KCLT Class B now has expanded over KLKR and if I have not had my waiver authorizing my APA, today it would be impossible to obtain.  I worked with the FAA closely in modifying my existing wiver in order to accomodate the Class B traffic and we are both happy and working with ATC flawlesly.

The renewal is every 24 months not every years as some state here. The enviromental studies are not hard to obtain and most are a matter of writting the local and national office.

I strongly reccomend you apply for an APA and use the resources offered under your IAC membership to attain the support you require. The APA  allows you to practice within the regulations and issue a NOTAM advicing others of your unusual attitudes while being a good aviator and a good neighbor. In this regards...you may get away with performing aerobatics a few times at your airport, but I guarantee you that in no time, you will start getting anomimous complaints from other airport tenants. You are better off having your waiver!

by the way...my APA floor goes from 500 agl the 3500 agl....my insurance floor starts at 1,500 agl....guess which one I follow more carefully?

N202MK Giles 202 S/N 11 Owner
Kevin Campbell
IAC Member
#9 Posted: 2/3/2011 17:36:18

you have an insurance floor?  Where the hell did that come from?  Who is your carrier?

In life there are your plans and GOD's plans.... Yours don't count! KSC.
#10 Posted: 3/7/2011 11:26:07 Modified: 3/8/2011 08:13:26

Yes Kevin... US Specialty Insurance Company is the uderwritter....I have requested a lower 500 AGL floor but they wat to see an ACE card...I refuse to pay the $250 dollars for an Ace Examiner and the $295 for ICAS memebeship for something I will never use or as originally  intended by ICAS. ...thats the only way they will lower my bottom floor at this time...


Right now my argument with the uderwrtitter (and I am loosing the argument) is that if I got my waiver issued by the FAA and I am good enough for the FAA to fly as low as 500 ft AGL, why do I need a AIRSHOW organization? I might be worng here but why should I have to be forced to become a member of an organization that does nothing for me nor I ever intend to use or ask for services in order to fly if necessary to 500 ft agl  legally inside my Aerobatic practice area or any waivered airspace for the purpose of aerobatic flying.




N202MK Giles 202 S/N 11 Owner
#11 Posted: 3/8/2011 08:32:14 Modified: 3/8/2011 08:42:34

I read again the 2nd, 3rd and 4th posting and need to add to it....Depending on waht level or aerobatics you are intending to accomplish.


Yes. the easiest is to fly above 1500 AGl  in open airspace, away from any airway, population, etc.......HOWEVER...if you are intending to enter into competitions then I recommend a box near or preferably righ next to an airport for the reasons below:

1- Semi Controlled area. Many eyes in the ground looking for you if necessary while performing your flight. keeping you and others safe while practicing.

2- Issuing a NOTAM does not guarantee everyone will read it, however it does help. you have a preactice area and a legal safe radious around you.

3- Aerobatics are performed under high performance engine output and airframe stress...If any issues, I rather be right next to an airport for emergency on/off field landing and emergency response. Not the case in some open area!

4- Critiquing: Perfecting Aerobatics manuevers and/or practicing for competition  is all about getting better and unfortunatelly you cant do it alone  without others telling you  what you are doing wrong. it might look great inside the aircraft and on video if you tape yourself, but without others telling you from the ground you are just a good airshow performer and not perfectionist.

5-  having a legal APA will allow you to invite other IAC memebers or like minded people to come and fly together. You accomplish point #4 and also contribute to local economy and promote aerobatic flying in your area...

6- In "Competition"  Primary and Sporstman are flown with a 1,500 agl floor. Intermetidate with a 1,200 AGL advance with a 800 agl and unlimited with a 328 ft agl floor... If you fly any of the first 3 categories, there is no reason while "practicing" for you to go below 1,500 ft AGL anyway....use that space between you and the ground as your safety area and venture into it as an ultimate resource.  Stay above 1,500 ft agl and be happy, safe and keep insurance premiums low for our sport!


many more reasons....This is all I have time for it right now.....Others feel free to add to it!



N202MK Giles 202 S/N 11 Owner