2024 DCEF/BFP Flight Protocol

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President - DCEF

Apr 22, 2024, 2:24:11 PMApr 22
Dear BFP Flyer,

   This may sound like a lot, but it is really quite easy to fly at Balloon Fiesta Park.  Current Pilots will certainly help you if need be.

   Of note this year and in the future is the change for Helicopter Flight.  The change seems to be working out quite well.

   The FAA have also designated Balloon Fiesta Park and Arroyo del Oso Park as FRIAs (Federally Recognized Identification Areas).  You do NOT need "Remote ID" to fly in either of these 2 Albuquerque Parks.  VLOS (Visual Line of Sight Spotter) and Park perimeters are requirements for any and all FPV (First-Person View) flights.

   Included is a map of Balloon Fiesta Park.  Please note the Panels D1-D7, Key Grab (Powered/Sailplane Divider), Baggie Drop (Heli/Sailplane Divider) and Lift Off Lane (DCEF Main Runway).  The Pits are normally defined as the eastern edge of D1, D4 and D7.  Generally, Electric Aircraft shall use D6 & D7, Sailplanes use D2, D3 & D4, and Heli's use D1.  Nitro/Gas powered Aircraft (excluding helicopters) are NOT allowed in BFP.  There can be other Flight Operations and exceptions as well.

   Please remember that we share BFP with the General Public.  We share with other Flight Activities at times as well.  Balloons and Man-Carrying Aircraft ALWAYS have the Right of Way.

   Never fly over anyone.  Do not fly from the back of the Pits*.  Hang your Gate Card from your rear-view mirror when parked in the BFP.  Do not drive or park in the grass.  Do not walk on the grass if frosty or frozen.  Keep your area clean.  Pick up all pieces and parts of any crash sites.  Make sure to find and pick up ALL broken propeller blades and discard in trash.  (In fact, if you see any part of an airplane in the BFP, even if it is not yours, please pick it up as these abandoned parts reflect on us.)  All dogs must be on a leash and YOU must cleanup their leftovers (We are given a "Gracious Card" on this one, NO Dogs are actually allowed in the Park).  Barricades are provided by BFP and should be in position at each end of the designated Runway (Lift-Off Lane between Key Grab and Cutter Road).  They should be placed in the right hand lane approaching the Runway with the DCEF Sign facing on-coming traffic.  The placement allows grounds workers to pass.  Use Communication, Common Sense, and Courtesy always.  The 3 'C's.

Most Weekdays

   R/C Flying at BFP is commonly open to AMA Pilots during the hours of 7am to 12pm every day.  If there are no other Park Users present it is permissible to fly until BFP closure at 7pm.

   Electric-Powered R/C Aircraft shall use Lift Off Lane between D6/D7 for Take-Offs and Landings.  Call out Take-Offs, Landings, and any Maneuvers that could affect another Flyer.  Pilots shall stand back 25' from the Runway in D7.  *D6/D7 may also be used for Grass Take-Offs, Bungee-Launch, and Grass Landings only if the area is totally clear and Warnings are clearly made.  It is advisable when other Pilots are present in D7 to use the Grass in D6 when needed.  All Aircraft shall be flown to the West of the Runway (Lift Off Lane) and over D6.  D3 should not be overflown unless needed for High Speed Flight, Jets, or Large Aircraft.  It is advisable to use a Spotter for any of these Flights, especially when Sailplanes and/or other Aircraft are present.  Again, High Speed Flight, Jets or Large Aircraft require more space, so it becomes necessary to share the airspace.  Maintain communication with Sailplane and Heli Pilots. Take turns flying when dictated.  3 C's.

   R/C Sailplanes use D2/D3/D4 for Winch, High-Start and Electric-Assisted Launches and Landings as well as Flight.  They may also fly over any other area of BFP.  Caution must be used however if Electric Aircraft are operating in D6/D7.  A 200' Minimum Altitude must be maintained over D6/D7 or any other occupied area.  Try NOT to continuously fly over or through Eastern D6/D7 when Electric Aircraft are present.  For Landings into a South Wind, it is permissible to go below the 200' altitude over D6/D7 to approach D3/D4.  Of course, Emergency Landings are permitted as needed.  Warnings shall be called out appropriately.  Quoted Areas of Operation may also change from time to time based on activities.  3 C's.  Please refer to Albuquerque Soaring Association for more information and ASA Rules pertaining to BFP, as their club shares airspace with DCEF.  They may change policies from time to time as well.

   R/C Helicopters use D1.  All Heli flights shall be kept within the perimeter of D1.  Of course, use care and watch for Sailplanes as they can easily be over or near D1.  Sailplanes shall avoid D1 when Helis are present.  This is the preferred panel for Helis.  It is also permissible to fly Helis with Electric Aircraft in D6/D7 if congestion is light and communication is used.  All above DCEF Rules apply.  3 C's.

   Micros and Quads are allowed, but with extra precautions.  It is only permissible to fly these from the backs of vehicles in D7 (Pits) when NO other Pilots are present and using the Runway.  Exception - You may fly Micros/Quads from the Pits when there is total agreement by ALL Pilots.  With agreement, you may fly Micros/Quads in D7 either to the north or to the south of the Blue Awning, and/or D1 with Helicopters as well.  Again, these little guys run a totally different flight pattern than most.  Micro/Quads shall never interfere with bigger planes or fly over other Pilots with the assumption that their small size will not interfere or cause damage.  Also, remember that the sheer size of the Park and its long Runways dictate that flight priority is with bigger, faster Aircraft.  Note:  BFP's western most panels (D2 and D5) may be used for Micro Flying.  DCEF also permits and insures Arroyo del Oso Park as a perfect small plane park.  3 C's.

Weekends, Soccer, & Special Events

   The BFP will designate if, when, and where R/C Flying is to take place during the Week, Weekends & Special Events.  Watch Weekend Update, (includes BFP Manager Susan Rice's newsletter) for more info on upcoming events.  If there is no interfering Special Event, R/C Flying is open on Weekdays and Weekends from 7am to 12pm.  If there are no other Park Users present it is permissible to fly until BFP closure at 7pm.

   Soccer Teams have the use of BFP only after 12N daily.  They are not allowed to set-up or occupy fields until after 12N daily.  Soccer Patrons and General Public should remain totally clear of all Flight Operations including all Flight Areas and especially the Runway (Lift Off Lane).  This in no way means they will!  Most simply do not know, understand, or care how we operate.  It pays to be vigilant and to use a Spotter.  Maintain the Barricades at each end of the Runway to effectively block off all traffic.

   Please, DO NOT shout at Park Patrons unless an Immediate Warning is needed.  Take the time to use diplomacy, calmness, and information to educate them on our activities.  Remember, we get less respect when we react unfavorably.  3 C's.

   If flying is allowed during BFP Special Events, Aircraft of all types, within reason, may be flown together with caution.  Please stay within the agreed Augmented Airspace.  3 C's apply.

   When soccer or other activities are present:  Typically, we will not fly during most ground activities in the BFP.  If, on the rare occasion, we are allowed to fly, DO NOT overfly Park Patrons.  Use a Spotter.  Keep all aircraft in Augmented Airspace and away from congestion.  These public activities dramatically REDUCE our Airspace.  Common sense will dictate that on these days, it would be advisable to only fly smaller, slower aircraft, or be extremely precise in how you fly, or simply choose NOT to fly.

Emergencies:  Stay calm.  Call 911 and tell the Operator to have the responding units to go to Gate 3 at the NE corner of Balloon Fiesta Park.  Stay with the incident and assist the situation as best you can.  On their arrival, inform the responders what happened.  As in any accident, it doesn't hurt to take down notes of the incident, however, first and foremost, the victim(s) personal safety is of utmost concern.

Note:  This Protocol does not address everything that can happen at Balloon Fiesta Park.  Please use the 3 C's I have mentioned.  Our continued responsibility, care, and understanding as a whole group are what makes us one of the better caretakers of this beautiful place to fly.  Our good will and a warm relationship with Park Personnel and the City of ABQ make flying R/C here possible.  In fact, I would put our Balloon Fiesta Park up against any of the best model airparks in this great country.

   Our Balloon Fiesta Park is an exceptional place to fly.  No where else do we have grass and runways totally maintained by the city for our use.  The only price we pay is for our AMA membership and the annual BFP Gate Card and the responsibility that we share with ourselves and the public.

Thanks!  Please Fly Safely and Responsibly,

Greg Rullman
Duke City Electric Flyers

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