Helicopter Chooses Wrong Landing Spot

flyingpreacher

Pre-takeoff checklist
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flyingpreacher

A helicopter pilot chose to land in Grand Teton National Park, which is apparently prohibited. He cites his PIC authority due to bad weather. Hard to reconcile PIC authority with an incongruent landing site, but the fact that he was previously cited for operating below safe minimum altitude...over a national park.
 
I think having a picnic does not bode well for his claim of bad weather. I guess the rangers would also be able to testify what the weather was like as well, and given their response I would think they do not feel the weather was that bad either. Wonder if they have any recorded weather data for that area at the time. Would think it is available somehow.
 
$10k in fines and a year in jail for landing on some sand bar ? Who comes up with these fines ?
 
Wonder if they have any recorded weather data for that area at the time.
They do. FAA and NTSB use past weather data for accident investigation all the time.
Who comes up with these fines ?
All federal enforcements and penalites are listed by regulation or by other documents. The few helicopter violators I've seen usually state they had a mechanical issue vs weather as its easier to claim that excuse. Unless they got caught after the fact.;)
 
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"He is now charged with potentially more serious violations: flying outside designated by regulations and violating FAA regulations, each of which is a misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine and six months in jail."

Not seeing anything on the chart for grand Teton like you do the grand canyon, so I'm not sure what FAA reg they're alluding to
 
So $1,000,000? $5,000,000?
If people will pay $250,000 for a ride in a tube to see the Titanic, they’ll pay $10,000 for a private picnic via helicopter in the Tetons. But doing time?

Just another proof of the importance that “Money is a renewable resource - time is not”
 
Declaring an emergency may get you out of the FAA's enforcement, but the land authorities certainly can come after you.
 
so I'm not sure what FAA reg they're alluding to
The NPS news release implies he violated two NPS rules and not an FAA rule. And if you look at the NPS CFRs its states the same rule which in my limited experience is applied to all improper aircraft landings on NPS property similar to using 91.13 as a catchall on the FAA side.
 
Experience with the local national park service staff is not good. They come off as zealots. They act as if the park is their property, and that visitors are trespassers. They mostly stay in their compound and do not go out in town much as they know they are not well liked by locals.
 
Not doubting he violated NPS rules. But per the release from the NPS...

Smith was charged with two violations under the Code of Federal Regulations, “Operating or using aircraft on lands or waters other than at locations designated pursuant to special regulations” and “Use of aircraft shall be in accordance with regulations of the FAA.”

So what FAA reg was busted?
 
So what FAA reg was busted?
Probably as I mentioned the good ol' standby rule, 91.13. Unless they figured out something else. Should come out with the judge. Be interesting if the local FSDO gets involved.
 
Martha Lunken did
Not from T/O to T/D she didn't. She shut it off airborne from what I read. Ain't hard to piece things together from there.

They are still looking for the person who flew under the Mackinac bridge. Why? Never had a transponder or ADS-B turned on.
 
If people will pay $250,000 for a ride in a tube to see the Titanic, they’ll pay $10,000 for a private picnic via helicopter in the Tetons. But doing time?

Just another proof of the importance that “Money is a renewable resource - time is not”
That doesn't answer my question.
 
Experience with the local national park service staff is not good. They come off as zealots. They act as if the park is their property, and that visitors are trespassers. They mostly stay in their compound and do not go out in town much as they know they are not well liked by locals.
Not much different than your typical DMV office or frankly almost any federal or state office …
 
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