Hello everyone. I just wanted to update you on our ongoing issues with the R2515 Airspace Management Office.
So I have ascertained that at the heart of the issue is that the person we have been working with (who was absolutely amazingly helpful) has changed to another office.
I sent our request for this weekend last Thursday. We used to get an email confirmation letting us know they got our request and will get back to us ASAP. Then, by Tuesday evening we have a tentative yes or no, and they contact us back again by Thur to confirm. This is how it has been for near 3 years.
For the last 3 months, it has not been this way. There has been no confirmation that our request was received. We have not been getting a response until thursday or friday.
Previously we have had issues where we were not allowed to launch on Sat, so we would launch Sun. This is why we request those days as backup from the FAA.
Out of the last 5 request, 3 of them (Including this weeks) have been outright denied. No sat or sun launch. No changing of altitude, no changing of flight times, just a no.
When I was working with the FAA this last month to submit our FAA waivers for 2018, the supervisor of our area based out of Seattle Wa mentioned that he used to work in this airspace management office (2515), and during the course of our conversation this issue we are having came up.
He informed me that R2515 can NOT outright deny our requests. They must work with us on days, times and altitudes if able, and if not they must provide us in writing a reason as to why. Further, they can not deny us the launching of Class 1 rockets at all. He said that if we had any further issues to let him know and he will contact the facility.
So today after having not heard back from R2515 I attempted to call them. There was no answer, and I could not leave a voicemail as the box was full. I contacted the next level up which is the 412 Operations Support squadron. While being polite, they were very adamant that they were the Air Force, and have no obligation to allow any civilian use of any kind of the air space. I mentioned my conversation with the FAA, and was told they would look into it and get back to me.
roughly an hour later I received an email simply stating the following:
R-2515 is unable to approve your operations on the requested dates.”
I have forwarded this mail to the FAA supervisor for our area that I spoke to before, with a brief explanation.
As of right now, So long as anyone wants to launch Class 1 rockets, I intend on showing up at the launch site Saturday morning at 9am, however our launches will be restricted to Class 1 rockets only (A-G motors).
I’d like to apologize to our members, especially our new ones who have not had an opportunity to launch yet, for the issues with our launches these past few months. I am working every angle I can to get us better access, and better communication for our launches, unfortunately the change in personnel at the office we coordinate with seems to have some issues.
I will update you all if anything else changes.