FAA FOIA requests

Russell DeSpain

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2017, 01:16:23 AM »
One Radar Video Map of a single TRACON in ZID airspace formatted in .dat.

I told them absolutely not, and have been stuck in a back and forth with them about changing my status ever since.
Russell DeSpain
ZID Facilities Engineer - C1
VATSIM P1 Pilot


Ryan Parry

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2017, 12:48:14 PM »
I've been quietly following this thread, but after reading that response I can't help but think they're tired of dealing with us and figure if they just charge us we'll go away.

Their reasoning that somebody is affiliated with Vatsim and therefore are a commercial entity is a flawed argument. Just because somebody has a Vatsim account doesn't mean that they intend to use the requested material for Vatsim. As I understand it, the commercial fee is for when the requested material will be used for a commercial purpose. It's even stated so in a video on their website. Vatsim isn't a commercial entity, but even so, if you aren't stating the material is for use on Vatsim they shouldn't have any ground to apply a commercial fee. In my opinion, if they're really going to stick with Vatsim being a commercial use they should be asking somebody if they intend to use it on Vatsim before they apply a commercial fee.

This is taken directly from their site...

Quote
Under the FOIA, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

I think we obviously can prove that Vatsim is not a commercial entity. I'd argue that Vatsim does contribute to public understanding of the operations and activities of the facility being simulated. The fact that they refuse to accept that Vatsim is not a commercial entity and are clearly playing hard ball just brings me back to my original point, I think they're tired of dealing with us.
Ryan Parry - 965346
ZOA Air Traffic Manager

Russell DeSpain

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2017, 03:32:11 PM »
I am planning to reach out to the FOIA Coordinator whom handled my original request. She stated that the decision to move my status was above her level but she would move it up to her bosses. It might even be worth a letter to my Congressman to see what the issue is.
Russell DeSpain
ZID Facilities Engineer - C1
VATSIM P1 Pilot


Josh Glottmann

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2017, 06:22:20 PM »
It might even be worth a letter to my Congressman to see what the issue is.
I would recommend calling them directly rather than emailing them if you do. It's much more effective usually.
Facility Engineer
Oakland ARTCC

Camden Bruno

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2017, 06:52:01 PM »
I am planning to reach out to the FOIA Coordinator whom handled my original request. She stated that the decision to move my status was above her level but she would move it up to her bosses. It might even be worth a letter to my Congressman to see what the issue is.

Obviously, it's your request, so feel free to talk to her bosses. However, we are planning to reach out to one of our local Senator's, who is on the Transportation Committee (see quote from Don below), if we do not get anywhere with the FAA. I'm not sure we should have multiple letters, calls, etc. into the political government. We don't want to annoy them, either.

Depending on what the FAA replies with, we’re prepared to take the matter to the U.S. Senate Transportation Committee.

I'd ask that you let us to continue to coordinate with the FAA, then, if we do decide to move forward on contacting a Senator/Congressman and need additional support/help, we'll ask for more people to step in and send their letters/make their phone calls.


Camden Bruno (BN) – 1253785
Air Traffic Manager | Instructor
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VATSIM Network Supervisor

Russell DeSpain

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2017, 07:05:48 PM »
I'd ask that you let us to continue to coordinate with the FAA, then, if we do decide to move forward on contacting a Senator/Congressman and need additional support/help, we'll ask for more people to step in and send their letters/make their phone calls.
Roger that. I'll let you all handle that side. If I do hear anything back I'll let you know. Thanks guys!
Russell DeSpain
ZID Facilities Engineer - C1
VATSIM P1 Pilot


Brighton McMinn

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2017, 07:13:52 PM »
I'd ask that you let us to continue to coordinate with the FAA, then, if we do decide to move forward on contacting a Senator/Congressman and need additional support/help, we'll ask for more people to step in and send their letters/make their phone calls.

Keep us updated. I have a pending FOIA request that I just submitted about a month ago. I'm willing to make phone calls and send letters to my local senators who also sit on the committee.

VATSIM Supervisor

Camden Bruno

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2017, 07:35:52 PM »
Roger that. I'll let you all handle that side. If I do hear anything back I'll let you know. Thanks guys!

Awesome, thank you!

Keep us updated . . . I'm willing to make phone calls and send letters to my local senators who also sit on the committee.

We will definitely keep you all updated. Waiting to hear back from the Manager of the FOIA Program at this point and, depending on his response, we'll see where it goes from there.


Camden Bruno (BN) – 1253785
Air Traffic Manager | Instructor
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VATSIM Network Supervisor

Johnathan Ellis

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2017, 09:58:05 PM »
The FAA definitely need to refine their standards. We in ZTL initially contacted them with a complete request, referring to VATSIM etc....we were given a fee of $7000. Obviously we declined.... Not more than a month or so from the original request....we had a member make a request for only all LOA's relating to neighboring ARTCC's, and had that member state "personal use". The FAA was quick with their response, and requested no fee. Once again, we had a member make a request for another batch....he forgot to claim personal use....so they came back with a fee that was ridiculous. About 3 days later, the same member cancelled his first request, and made a new one using the personal use reference. The FAA came back with a fee...but it was only 5% of the original for the same documents.

If any ARTCC's are looking to update their info with a FOIA request....I would suggest (until we see how ZBW's case works out), that you make your requests in portions, and claim Personal use 
Jon Ellis
VATSIM Network Supervisor

Mark Hubbert

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2017, 03:33:46 PM »
Having dealt with FOIA requests on a different level I can share this with you.  They can assess a charge for any copies that are made and the hourly wage of the employee/employees who have to do the research.  At least that was the case for me, again on something entirely different.
Mark Hubbert
VATUSA Training Director (VATUSA3)
VATSIM Supervisor

Tony Jeppesen

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2017, 04:39:30 PM »
You know... I'm wondering if they think we are affiliated with Pilot Edge?
Tony Jeppesen
Air Traffic Director
VATUSA Western Region
VATSIM Supervisor

Evan Reiter

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2017, 04:43:00 PM »
My message to FAA HQ was that VATSIM and all of us are 100% non-commercial. That was on Jan. 4, and it was the first time I made contact with HQ.

I'll keep everyone posted when (if?) I hear back.

Dhruv Kalra

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2017, 12:43:09 AM »
You know... I'm wondering if they think we are affiliated with Pilot Edge?
I believe this is actually the crux of the issue - we've had members who are participants of both networks request data and use the terms interchangeably.
Dhruv Kalra
ZMP DATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor

William Guisbond

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2017, 04:55:49 PM »
Quote
We cannot begin processing your request until we have your assurance that you are willing to pay the fees that will be incurred by your request of ($66.00 hourly rate for search x 10 hours search/review)= $660.00.

Jeez, man, what are you requesting?

We were requesting some center SOP's and they said they needed $250 lol.
Will Guisbond
BVA S3 Controller
PPL - IT

Alex Seeberger

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Re: FAA FOIA requests
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2017, 10:39:59 AM »


Obviously, it's your request, so feel free to talk to her bosses. However, we are planning to reach out to one of our local Senator's, who is on the Transportation Committee (see quote from Don below), if we do not get anywhere with the FAA. I'm not sure we should have multiple letters, calls, etc. into the political government. We don't want to annoy them, either.

Depending on what the FAA replies with, we’re prepared to take the matter to the U.S. Senate Transportation Committee.

I'd ask that you let us to continue to coordinate with the FAA, then, if we do decide to move forward on contacting a Senator/Congressman and need additional support/help, we'll ask for more people to step in and send their letters/make their phone calls.

I think this would be the most effective plan. Wait until there seems to be no action on their end, then start with a grass roots call to action. A large scale call to action would be easy to implement and execute, but again we need to wait until Camden has no further recourse.