ADS-B Tracking Data Clears An Ag Pilot Of FAA Charges

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Possum, Jan 14, 2023.

  1. Possum

    Possum Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A homeowner complains about low flying ag pilots and shares a video with the FAA. FAA goes after the pilot and the pilot hires an aviation lawyer.

    Despite those critical errors, the POI simply accepted the homeowner’s information as factual, emailed a colleague that he wanted the ag operator’s certificate revoked and proceeded with his campaign to do just that.

    Adsb data from the ag plane cleared the pilot of any wrongdoing.

    Confronted by the facts its own representatives had chosen to ignore, the FAA withdrew the charges and reassigned the POI. Ironically, ADS-B is not required on ag aircraft operating in uncontrolled airspace, but had the one cited not had ADS-B technology, the POI’s misguided campaign would likely have succeeded.



    https://aviationweek.com/business-a...0f6fe83d42c0b87bc7fdf469244f07b2ad948b25130b9
     
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  2. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    Time to sue the complaining party for legal costs of the FAA action, and the civil recovery costs. False complaints should have a cost to the complainer.
     
  3. Daleandee

    Daleandee Final Approach

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    Yep ... as Barney would say:

     
  4. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Does it matter that the average person is not good at estimating altitude?
     
  5. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    The fault here is not the complaining party. Likely, that was an honest mistake on his part. It was the unconscionable behavior of the FAA to do any rudimentary determination of actual guilt (or at least identifying the actual party involved). This is by far the issue with FAA enforcement actions. Once they've made an accusation, well founded or not, it's a juggernaught that presumes no successful outcome unless the pilot is strung up.
     
  6. rk911

    rk911 Cleared for Takeoff

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  7. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Being wrong is an embarrassment to the FAA (and any other bureaucracy) - once committed to a course, the validity probably doesn't matter much. It'd be great if there was a mechanism to pursue redress and make them cover legal costs when it's clearly incompetence and/or malicious, like in this case.

    Or, just blow a few bucks on a half page ad in a major daily, rattle some cages on capital hill, generally make an effinn' nuisance of yourself, if you have the time - won't get your costs back, but it'll tie up some of their PR and legal wankers for a bit.

    There are good, even great, people at the FAA - but the organization's culture is always one of being adversarial - you might/might have a rational and reasonable interaction, but never expect it to go that way.
     
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  8. SamSES

    SamSES Ejection Handle Pulled

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    “If you see something say something”


    I’m more like

    “make snitching bad again”

    From a good music video

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I recently heard of a dude who has nothing to do so he sits and studies nearby ads-b data for presumed violations.
    He turned in a friend for low flying over a built up area (didn’t happen).
    The inspector says, “oh we are very familiar with this nut (I paraphrase; plus, its not first hand) - I can see you were completely legal, carry on”
    Studying ads-b data like a wannabe-airplane cop <eyeroll>
     
  10. Skymac

    Skymac Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Honestly, I think way more people are doing this than you’d like to imagine…. Makes me ill thinking about it.
     
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  11. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    I think that the comments on my post by the posters 4 and 5,miss my point.
    Crop dusting is a legal activity, and just like landing a plane at the airport, requires going low.

    A NIMBY who does not want such in its neighborhood, bought in the wrong neighborhood.

    The FAA does not respond to such complaints unless political pressure is applied.

    The NIMBY in this case should be held accountable for attempting to put a perfectly legal business man out of business in their neighborhood.

    Such people have successfully shut down many airports, simply because there was no cost to complaining. There should be a cost to such attempts when the activity is fully legal. My home field, College Park, MD, has gone through many attempts to make it non viable as an airport, just a museum and park, but at great cost, most were defeated. We still fly airplanes there.

    As I said above, the FAA does not pursue such complaints unless there is strong pressure from the complainer, usually political.
     
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  12. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Final Approach

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    However, they could still be liable. And should be. Yes, I'm saying that scaring people into not complaining is sometimes a good idea.
     
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  13. Dry Creek

    Dry Creek Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well, Dan Gryder does seem to like taking the FAA and NTSB to task. Maybe he'd like to stir up some attention with this case too.
     
  14. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I don't know how you make that leap. Someone DID fly low over his house. He submitted photographic evidence and a half-assed attempt to collect additional information. Unless he did that with some specific malice toward the pilot accused, he's likely protected. The fault is entirely on the FAA here.
     
  15. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    Re-assigned??? The guy was re-assigned? Re-assignment is not a good policy, I was once part of a large organization that used/uses Re-assignment as solution for bad actors- it’s been an utter failure. I left in part because of such a policy. The organizations headquarters are in a city-state in Italy if one wonders about the reference.

    the person needs dismissed!
     
  16. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Flew out of there for years with Freestate Flying Club!

    I think maybe FAA may not routinely pursue this nonsense, but it appears one of their minions did. Where was the oversight process, checks and balances? Where was enforcement's oversight? They were on the verge of doing major, maybe fatal, damage to a business and a pilot's livelihood - with no evidence to support the action. The pilot is out his attorney fees, at a minimum, along with his time and stress. AOPA needs to open the purse and use this (and other examples) to at least raise some hell. LIke them or hate them, AOPA has the money and staff to make noise - IMHO they are often, way too often, too timid to be adversarial enough. DOn;t pick fights over trivia, sure, and find common ground when possible, but damn!
     
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  17. Mongoose Aviator

    Mongoose Aviator Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Maybe 1 year and a half ago, the manager of my local airport told me she had a complaint from a property owner that I was buzzing their house lower than 500' AGL in my twin. Repeatedly.

    I laughed and told her the probability of that was pretty low and she (the airport manager) was free to review my gps data. She never asked to see my data and I never heard of the issue again. For all I know, she pulled up the public ADSB data on her own.

    Two of the local airports that I use have "practice areas" that are known to be areas used for air work. Other than ground reference maneuvers specifically needing to be low, our air work would typically be 3000~5000' AGL with Traffic Advisories from the local controllers trying to mostly stay within the "practice area".
     
  18. squincher

    squincher Pre-Flight

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    It could have been malicious, but I wouldn't assume it is. We had a huge uptick in crop duster activity where I live several years ago due to an usually wet growing season that kept equipment out of fields. The news stations were abuzz and reports of plane crashes were off the charts, in an area where people should have known what they were seeing. If this guy moved out from the city, he may well not have known what he was seeing. Of course, it shouldn't have been very difficult for him to find out before complaining to the authorities.
     
  19. John Collins

    John Collins En-Route

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    The ADS-B altitude reported is usually the pressure altitude and can't directly be used to determine an aircraft's MSL altitude without adjusting it for the nearest altimeter setting. The error in converting an pressure altitude indication to an equivalent MSL altitude is very dependent on the distance to the nearest recorded measuring site and the relative height of the site. It takes an error indication of over 200 feet before ATC will complain. There is also a form of altitude based on GPS that is broadcast by ADS-B Out, but this is not equivalent to the MSL altitude without adjustment for the local geoid (reflecting the gravity in the area), in the US on the order of 100+/- feet. So an ADS-B pressure altitude may indicate 300 feet and the surface is at 400 MSL, but with the appropriate adjustment, the aircraft may be over 500 feet AGL altitude. Fore example, this morning aircraft on final to Charlotte Douglas (KCLT) are indicating 450 feet on touch down using the ForeFlight traffic using the FligthAware data, but the runway is at 723 MSL, so this morning the difference is 273 feet or the traffic is burrowing itself well below runway elevation.
     
  20. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Loser pays should be part of any complaint/law suit.

    But it seems no one wants that...
     
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  21. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hey now, I've had landings like that
     
  22. Racerx

    Racerx En-Route

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    The complainant should have his cert suspended just out of principal.
     
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  23. flyingron

    flyingron Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    That is true.
    That appears to not be the case here. "Never more than 300' over the residential area" is neither crop dusting nor necessary approach to landing.
    All he did is file a complaint. It's the FAA that mishandled the complaint. The only mistake on your so-called NIMBY here was he misinterpreted the FlightAware (or whatever site he used) to identify the plane. The FAA had real ADSB data and presumably people who can tell one airplane from another and failed to bother to do even the rudiments of an investigation, rather than just assuming the complaint information was 100% accurate.
     
  24. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Losing LAWYER pays. That would put a stop to it in a hurry.
     
  25. PPC1052

    PPC1052 Final Approach

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    Wait. Wut?
     
  26. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Exactly. Prevents the filing/accepting of frivilous cases.
     
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  27. Lindberg

    Lindberg Final Approach

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    Tell me you don't understand our legal system without telling me you don't understand our legal system.
     
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  28. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Pattern Altitude

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    It seems like everyone missed the fact that the complainant is also a pilot. Not that it changes the circumstances that the FAA f'd up, but maybe it lends a little more creedance to his complaint.

    "The cell phone video, taken by the homeowner, himself a pilot, showed a red-and-white agplane flying extremely low over the house before landing at a nearby airport."
     
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  29. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    Still was FAA counsel's responsibility to stop this early. Lazy lawyer, s/he should have been reassigned as well.
     
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  30. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    Very complex cases are so cost intensive that no law firm will take them unless you pay all expenses. Thus shallow pocket inventers fail to get an attorney.

    The fuel injection patent that allowed meeting the EPA stricter standards was ignored by all diesel manufacturers. A law firm was finally found who would "front" the costs, and after 6 years of wrangling, won. The costs to that date was over $1,000,000.

    All the other manufacturers negotiated settlements, except Volkswagen. They claimed that they had a non infringing system, which only occasionally "seemed" to infringe. Actually, they did run the infringing technology whenever they detected emission testing.

    VW got caught, and the fines they paid were more than100 times the cost of paying the inventor his one time fee.

    The inventor would have never found a lawyer to go against such deep pockets, and his invention would have brought him no gain. On a personal note, I did most of his hand carrying of paperwork between disparate government buildings to speed the process of his 8 patents, and picked up the first issued patent.
     
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  31. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Pattern Altitude

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    I agree. That's why I said it doesn't change the fact that the FAA f'd up.

    But, does the fact that the complainant is a pilot lend more credence to the complaint? It's someone who probably knows what a crop duster is, and where it should be flying low and where it shouldn't.
     
  32. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    I fully understand it, but you don't understand that you don't put a band aid on a severed limb.
     
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  33. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    Gentlemen, saying what another person understands is a bit presumptuous and often viewed as an ad hominem attack. Unless someone states "I don't understand this" you only have evidence as to what they might or might not understand. The actual understanding is an inference which may or may not be true.

    Also, and I mean this with the greatest respect Ed, a band aid on a severed limb will result in death. The current legal system is not about to kill the "patient" so not fixing it will yield a considerably less lethal outcome. Thus, the analogy is flawed.

    However, you are correct that the current system yields inequities. How to fix them is a good subject for debate.
     
  34. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    Another point I make to my ground school classes is that the NTSB is also not your friend. They are overworked and understaffed and resort all too often to a - pilot error - conclusion without undertaking a thorough investigation.
     
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  35. Pinecone

    Pinecone Pattern Altitude

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    Hard to do in the government. Takes a lot of work and paperwork to do so.

    Much easier to move them to a desk without a phone or computer and no duties, but make them be there 8 hours a day. Then they quit. :)
     
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  36. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Unless one believes that Bates did kill the legal system or at least began to - and I think it contributed greatly.
     
  37. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    LOL! "Red and White???? In the words of a SoCal controller - ""Man, they are ALL read and white!"
     
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  38. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    It's telling how often Peter Garrison (Flying's "Aftermath" column) catches out the NTSB pencil-whipping GA investigations.
     
  39. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Yes - It is kinda involved, but not nearly the hurdle people think it is - you CAN fire a GS employee if you have integrity and follow the procedures. Most managers don't want the bother - just lazy. I saw one civilian fired, start to finish in about 30 days, by a military commander. Dumped one myself, but she was still probationary - oddly enough, the hoops weren't much different.
     
  40. Daleandee

    Daleandee Final Approach

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    Yep, I was told certain folks had to be "surgically removed" ...