Low Flight - Correct me if I'm wrong.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by kyleb, Oct 2, 2020.

  1. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    We were in Fernandina Beach Florida for the week. We were out on the beach yesterday, when a LSA buzzed down the surf line (the demarcation between sand and water) at 100-150'. He flew a couple of miles South, reversed course, and again flew the length of the beach at that altitude. Obviously, he passed much closer than the minimum 500' from hundreds (thousands?) of people on the beach.

    There's no exclusion to the low flight regulations that could apply in that situation is there?
     
  2. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    No, there is no exclusion.

    how did you determine his altitude?
     
  3. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    By eyeball. I was sitting in a chair 100' from the surf line, so he was only 150' away or so. Been doing this for a while, you know. I guess I could scale it off of the pictures I took, but I'm too lazy to do that. Here's a pic if you'd like to scale it:

    [​IMG]upload photos online
     
  4. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    That doesn't look like an LSA to me... that's an ultralight, no? I could be wrong...looks like one of the Quicksilver designs...GT-500?
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
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  5. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Definitely an LSA. Two place, side by side. Much larger/heavier than the 254 lb minimum for an ultralight.
     
  6. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Looks kinda like a QC Challenger -- which is an LSA. Although there are numerous LSA's that look just like that
     
  7. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    Okay... I was wrong. I zoomed in and it didn't look like a side-by-side or even two-seat craft, but you were there and I wasn't. I guessed wrong... and even so, it was probably against the "no closer then 500'" rule even in unpopulated areas. It does look closer than 1.66 football fields from the folks in the water.
     
  8. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    What's the wingspan of that airplane? Looks like two wingspans above the people. Less than 100 feet, for sure.
     
  9. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Even if it is a Part 103 aircraft, it's probably illegal. While there isn't a hard minimum altitude, there is a nebulous 103.9 against operations that are hazardous to people.
     
  10. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    If TSA were at GA airports, this wouldn’t have happened.
    /s
     
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  11. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    Part 103 for ultralights is pretty lax, but it does prohibit operations that might be hazardous to those on the ground. Hazardous is not specifically defined. The aircraft in question looks like it is in the neighborhood of 50 AGL. That's probably sufficient to flout the rule.
     
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  12. Daleandee

    Daleandee Line Up and Wait

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    That, my friends, appears to be CGS Hawk:

    [​IMG]

    As a two place tandem it is not an ultralight and is required to be N numbered.
     
  13. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    This is always the fall back for part 91.


    § 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.
    Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

    (a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
     
  14. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    This is the section of that regulation that really matters. He is obviously WAY closer than 500 to those people, and is not apparently in the process of taking off or landing.

    (c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
     
  15. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Name a spot in the US of A where any aircraft isn't in violation at any altitude.
    Maybe somewhere out west or maybe the mid-west?
    Anywhere on the east, west or south coast there is no altitude from which an airplane falling out of the sky isn't a potential threat to persons or property.
    And "undue" is a legally meaningless word.
    Then you have places like the Hudson River exclusion area where you pass over the GWB (604 ft), usually bumper to bumper traffic, at 800 or 900 feet msl to stay out of the class "B" space.
    Looking at that picture, if that aircraft had an engine failure his biggest chance of hitting someone would be slamming into someone who was running to the plane while trying to get video or a selfie.
     
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  16. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    I can’t tell from the pic; is he over the beach or the water? It might be argued that the “over open water” altitude exception applies but I suspect he was still within 500’ of people.
     
  17. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Look at the shadow. It was near solar noon, and the airplane was flying almost due North when the photo was taken. The shadow is slightly in front of the airplane and isn't offset to the side more than a few feet. So he's half over sand, half over water.
     
  18. Larry Vrooman

    Larry Vrooman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I flew down the beach near Cape Fear and Oak Island this afternoon to get some pictures of the lighthouse for my son's history project. We maintained 1000' AGL, (and or safety reasons climbed well above the traffic pattern at SUT off the beach south of SUT). I'm pretty sure someone could determine that a continuous row of beach houses qualifies as "heavily populated", and/or they'll view the beach itself as "heavily populated". It's just not worth the headaches if someone complains.

    On the other hand, given the dunes in front of the beach houses and the salt water marsh behind the houses, the only place to land in the event of an engine failure would be on the beach, which was pretty sparsely inhabited this afternoon.
    120748592_1748319668660267_2221176737570236431_n.jpg

    120739848_1748252902000277_1303003832252078339_n.jpg
     
  19. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    You could land in the water.

    what is the regulation that says “not within 500’ of people”? I read 91.119 (c), except over open water.
     
  20. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    The safest thing by far is to grab a chair and sit around with your airport buddies by hangar row and talk about flying.
     
  21. smv

    smv Pattern Altitude

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    You obviously missed the video of the idiot driving (not flying) a botched go-around right into a hangar. :D
     
  22. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    Yeah. I got nothing for you. I guess we should just stay home. But then a tree might fall on us. So we could move to the prairie. Then we would get a tornado visitor. I guess we should just eat worms and die. There’s nothing safer than death.
     
  23. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    maybe his engine was running a teenay bit rough.

    Rahhhjawwwwww
     
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  24. MrAnderson

    MrAnderson Pre-Flight

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    I wonder if he was issued a citation? ;)
     
  25. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    ?? people are persons. “... person, vessel, vehicle, or structure...”
     
  26. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    This is the closest I’ve seen down here
     
  27. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    replied using terminology from higher post.

    except over open water.
     
  28. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.

    So, in the cases of flying over open water or sparsely populated areas, you can go lower than 500’ but you still have to remain 500’ or more slant range from people.

    But I don’t know who’s going to measure it.
     
  29. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    When the guy flew the length of the beach, twice, at that altitude, my thoughts weren't so much safety as stupidity. "Hey, I'm blatantly violating the regs, right in front of 1,000 people, most of whom have cameras."

    I just wonder what other bad decisions this guy makes.
     
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  30. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Whatever happened to that dude?
     
  31. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    OK, someone was flying too low. That happens a lot. Where are we going with this?
     
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  32. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    In classic PoA fashion you are trying to persuade someone to derail this thread, aren't you. :eek: :D
     
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  33. smv

    smv Pattern Altitude

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    Used to fly with the North Island flying club near Sandy Eggo. On the weekends we would contact Lindbergh tower for clearance through the Bravo. When transitioning north, their instructions would be, "Cleared into the Bravo to the north. Remain offshore and below 500'. Report Crystal Pier."

    Weaving in and out of boats, swimmers, and surfers at <500' with no hope of reaching dry land if the engine failed was always a lot of fun...
     
  34. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Prove it. He might have been too low and over people, but there's no way to prove it with the photo. 2 minutes in Gimp and it looks to me like he was out in the water or the people on the beach are giants....

    p2.png
     
  35. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I've done that one. Still can't figure out why the engine always sounded funny when I was doing it. Trip down memory lane. I got my PPL at NZY in the club.
     
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  36. smv

    smv Pattern Altitude

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    Pics from 2002 here. Believe it or not, there were wildfires burning that year. :rolleyes: I think that was the year Julian got wiped out... Maybe not...

    http://imagesdesavions.com/trip/index2.html
     
  37. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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  38. Todd82

    Todd82 Line Up and Wait

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    Maybe it's the meteorologist in me, but 2 of my 3 rules when buying my house were
    1. No wooded lots / large trees within a distance they could fall into my house while I sleep
    2. Basement / tornado shelter a must.
    (#3 was not in a flood plain / get up on a hill.)

    I ended up with a "wooded" lot, but it starts about 200 feet behind my house well beyond falling distance.
     
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  39. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    This part of that FAR is ridiculous and clearly written by a lawyer. This basically means it is illegal to fly a piston single over anything but the desert or open water. At 5,500 in the LAX VFR Coastal Route corridor am I in violation?

    They still do this.. it's fun, and feels wrong.
     
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  40. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Down the beach is not "over open water or sparsely populated areas." The term "open water" refers to areas "distant" from the shore or islands.
     
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