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Low Flying GA Traffic

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by productofusa, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. productofusa

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    Yesterday I took my phantom 3 out for a cruise down at one of the areas I like to fly, Golden Gardens on Puget Sound in the Seattle area. I like this area because I can do some speck in the sky flying without cruising over people, cars, houses, ect. At the north end of the park there's an oval grassy spot that I launch from and then proceed to the north along the shore and from there back south just offshore then east a little bit then back north.

    As I was coming northbound (over the grassy area) from the southbound leg, a small aircraft (Cessna?) came around the corner from the north, from behind the ridge, along the shoreline, I would guess somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 or so off the water, probably gawking at the babes on the beach, anyhow I usually fly at around 150 feet. I can easily see a situation where our course lines could have intersected. Freaked me the hell out! I suppose i'll cross this spot off my list.
     
  2. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    This thread is not P3 specific and has been moved to the General section. Please post in the correct sections.

    Any questions, check here: P3 Forum Posting Guidelines
     
  3. productofusa

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    Crap, Sorry, will do!
     
  4. Suwaneeguy

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    Call the FAA and file an incident report!
    As he was at fault for flying so low.
    I don't think that kind of manned flying is common and probably frowned upon by the FAA.
    SteveMann might have a few words to say on this.
     
  5. tcope

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    Unmanned aircraft are always require to yield to manned aircraft.
     
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  6. LUISMARTINEZ

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    If you have his tail number (N) call your nearest flight standards district office (FSDO) and file a complaint. The Feds do act on this, personal experience. I began flying in 1969, age 16. During one of those brain fade moments, while a student pilot, in my youthful exuberance, I decided to buzz my girlfriend's house.
    My butt still hurts from the *** chewing I got from the FAA. Fortunately, the inspector took pity on me and did not file a formal report but promised I'd never get my private pilot license if I did it again!
     
  7. Bryce

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    I agree... Tail number and call him in.
     
  8. IflyinWY

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    Welcome to the party productofusa :D

    You're going to see all kind of stuff posted here. Keep in mind, just because someone took the time to write it, doesn't make it right. ;) Sounds like you survived the encounter and there was no harm done. There are some helpful links in my signature.

    Enjoy the show.

    I don't think calling the cops to rat on the guy/gal is going to solve anything. You're just going to piss off the pilot and put him/her is a world of Krap. How would you folks like it if someone reported you every time you failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or exceeded the posted speed limit?

    FYI: Fixed wing aircraft should be 500 feet from any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure except for those times when a lower altitude is required for take off or landing.

    Checking out the babes on the beach sounds like a great time to me, but do you know there is not a landing strip nearby? Constructive communication between aircraft pilots and drone pilots would serve everyone's best interest better than pushing someone into the frying pan.

    I wonder what I would find by doing a search, here in our forum. Would I find any of you "Cop Callers" flying at altitudes higher than the FAA recommends, or violating any existing regulations? It's a rhetorical question, and I really don't care to read your reply.
     
  9. productofusa

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    My intention with this thread was not to solicit advice one way or the other regarding the actions of the airplane pilot, I was more curious if anyone else had run into this unexpected situation.

    And honestly I didn't realize it wasn't legal for him to be that low. In retrospect it's kind of common sense. Do these altitude regs also apply to (manned) experimental aircraft?
     
    #9 productofusa, Jul 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
  10. AirApparent

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    Some people just love to hear themselves talk.
     
  11. SteveMann

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    Of course.
    Go ahead and call the FAA with the incident report if you got his tail number. Better if you got a photo with a ground reference (wide angle) so that the actual altitude would be estimable. Here's what will happen. If there's no tail number, the report gets filed. If there is a tail number but no corroborating information such as a photo or a LEO observation, the airplane owner will get an educational letter. (A scare tactic). If the altitude over people can be verified, then he may get a notice of violation.

    The human eye is the worst instrument for determining altitude or distance. Many of the Phantom flyers claiming that an airplane was only 300 ft over them were probably looking at an airplane at 500 ft. Private pilots worked hard for and at not an insignificant cost to get their license, so they as a group are the first to bust a pilot for violating rules like buzzing people.

    Here's what the rule says:
     
  12. productofusa

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    Great info, Thanks! And yeah its really tough (at least for me) to judge height / distance. Having said that i'm still confident that this guy was flying lower than me and closely following the shoreline in violation of:

    (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.

    And thanks for the helpful replies! All of them.
     
  13. LUISMARTINEZ

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    "I don't think calling the cops to rat on the guy/gal is going to solve anything. You're just going to piss off the pilot and put him/her is a world of Krap. How would you folks like it if someone reported you every time you failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, or exceeded the posted speed limit?"

    Not only may a call to the FAA save his/her life in preventing future stunts but also his/her license from revocation. Two sides to every issue, bud.
     
  14. johan

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    Call him in for what exactly? The OP said he goes there to fly because he can do so without flying over people or cars etc. According to that description, it would be perfectly legal for a private pilot to fly along at 100ft or less so long as they remain 500' laterally from any person or structure. No people? No structures? Go right down on the deck all you want. Perfectly legal.

    OP, as you've found out, the very things that drew you to flying at this particular location can also draw GA aircraft to do the same. Keep your eyes open and be prepared to dive/descend in case you need to give right of way to GA traffic and you'll be fine.
     
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  15. LUISMARTINEZ

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    "F.A.R. 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.

    (b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

    (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.

    (d) Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface–

    (1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA; and

    (2) A powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section.


    We weren't there so we do not know the distances involved, the decision to investigate and take necessary action is up to the FAA. They cannot investigate if no one reports.

    "No people? No structures? Go right down on the deck all you want. Perfectly legal."
    Don't forget there's another FAR on safe operation of your aircraft, a catch 22 rule.
     
  16. SteveMann

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    Louis - *if* there were no people, there's no violation.
    But, isn't the OP people?
     
  17. LUISMARTINEZ

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    Exactly. Notice I did not point out the obvious, figured the poster was smart enough to figure it out. :cool:
     
  18. LUISMARTINEZ

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    Perfect example why the FAA should, and likely will, require UAV operators of high performance A/C (Phantom class), not toys in the backyard, to pass a Pilot Knowledge exam in the future. No one should operate high performance A/C w/o a working knowledge of FARs.
     
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  19. johan

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    I can see more than 500' away. Can't you? I can also fly my phantom more than 500' from where I'm standing. Can't you? It completely plausible that the OP could have been more than 500' from the aircraft. Only the OP can say for sure. Either way, good luck trying to get the pilot violated without good video evidence and a tail number.
     
  20. LUISMARTINEZ

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    "Only the OP can say for sure" Yahtze!