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Thread: Trent Palmer’s Pilot certificate suspended for going around at an off-airport landing site

  1. #161

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Bob,

    No, there is a very specific letter from FAA legal on this. It clearly states that operations at established airports and within the traffic pattern are essentially exempt from 91.119. Now, if you’re four hundred feet below recommended traffic pattern altitude, maybe not. But, “normal ops”, no problem.

    I really don’t see this as precedent setting regards enforcement of 91.119. There’s lots of case law on this, and we’ll established procedures outlined by FAA concerning off airport ops. I suspect the FAA is suggesting that operations IN a subdivision really aren’t what is described in their guide to off airport ops.

    Any quick review of the regulations suggests that there will often be some “interpretation” required.

    At some point common sense also should be applied.

    Many years ago, I was involved in a case which was decided by an Administrative Law Judge. This was an environmental permitting process. I was a fairly new government guy, and was tasked with arguing the case before the ALJ. After the hearing, which we lost, the Judge invited me to dinner with him, to discuss the hearing.

    The discussion over dinner was fascinating, and educational….which was the point. In short, the Judge explained to me how an ALJ is REQUIRED to function. He said that my arguments were well organized and compelling, but all he was allowed to consider was the specifics of the LAW, which in this case favored the other side.

    Based on Trent’s video, and chatter on social media, it’s obvious that many don’t understand how an ALJ functions, and the rules they operate under. In these cases, right/wrong/ indifferent, the FAA is the “expert”. Their testimony is always going to have more weight.

    And, the NTSB Board? Take a guess as to how they are required to view the differing views.

    MTV
    Much like when you show up in court to discuss your ticket the nice officer wrote for driving ’insert your favorite offense’.
    Mostly formality because the officer is always right.

  2. #162
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Would someone please point me to an FAA definition of "established airport". The term is not defined in 14 CFR 1.1 and I can't find a definition anywhere else.

    According to 14 CFR 1.1 - "Airport means an area of land or water that is used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft, and includes its buildings and facilities, if any".

    I know of several airstrips that have a windsock, some sort of runway marking, and have been shown on various maps for many years. These airstrips meet the 14 CFR 1.1 definition of "airport" and are, in my opinion, "established" because they have existed for a long time. However, most of these airstrips do not appear on any current FAA chart.

    Are these uncharted airstrips "established airports" and who decided that? Is anyone here asserting that "established" has the same meaning as "charted"?

  3. #163
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    My take would be that it was an "established airport" if it was registered with the FAA.
    There's lots of airports that are registered but uncharted.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  4. #164
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    Mine is both, on the chart and registered, all 400' of it. It even has a courtesy car, and security, if he isn't chasing the cat. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the stats on it came thru Oklahoma City, they didn't blink, though I did get a call making sure I hadn't dropped a zero on the length.

  5. #165
    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    Established, graded strips with a wind sock are very likely going to be accepted as an established airstrip. But the only way to know is to write a letter asking for legal interpretation - or accept the writings of the ones that already are published.

    Like the definitions of "congested" and "sparsely populated," such a definition does not exist except for the interpretation on a case-by-case position that have been taken in the past. This is why the FAA is asking for things that indicate an established "airport" such as, but not limited to: wind sock, runway markings, lights, pavement, gravel, airport identifier. Without any of that - and Trent I think said none of that was there - not even a wind sock - at the rc aircraft airport - and the simple fact that he went around indicated that the whole thing was not necessary. This is why he is not likely to get anywhere on his appeal.

    But here is what I think you are asking for:

    From https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...rpretation.pdf

    and https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...rpretation.pdf

    and https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...rpretation.pdf

    The FAA has determined that"§ 91.119 does generally not apply to aircraft operationswithin airport traffic patterns," and that "aircraft operating within a traffic pattern areexcepted from the regulation for a considerable portion of each pattern, i.e., during climb topattern altitude following each takeoff, and during descent from pattern altitude prior to eachlanding." Legal Interpretation to Frank J. Deighan, from Donald Byrne, Assistant ChiefCounsel (Oct. 30, 1997).

    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    Would someone please point me to an FAA definition of "established airport". The term is not defined in 14 CFR 1.1 and I can't find a definition anywhere else.

    According to 14 CFR 1.1 - "Airport means an area of land or water that is used or intended to be used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft, and includes its buildings and facilities, if any".

    I know of several airstrips that have a windsock, some sort of runway marking, and have been shown on various maps for many years. These airstrips meet the 14 CFR 1.1 definition of "airport" and are, in my opinion, "established" because they have existed for a long time. However, most of these airstrips do not appear on any current FAA chart.

    Are these uncharted airstrips "established airports" and who decided that? Is anyone here asserting that "established" has the same meaning as "charted"?

  6. #166
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Frequent,
    Actually that definition from 1.1 is pretty clear, I think. It doesn’t say it has to be on a chart. Customarily used, and infrastructure are pretty solid definitions.

    MTV
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  7. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Actually that definition from 1.1 is pretty clear, I think.
    Yes, it is a clear definition of "airport". It is not a definition of "established airport". If "airport" and "established airport" have the same meaning there would be no reason to qualify airport with the term established.
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  8. #168
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    No mention of "established airport" in any of these references. Perhaps it's not a term that FAA has used.
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  9. #169
    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    No, they just used "airport" and "traffic pattern." Neither of which applies in this case because they were arguing "off-airport" operations. So 91.119 definitely applies, the question is how. People, however are mistakenly freaking out about how TP's judgement has made it now suddenly illegal to go around your local patch that has an identifier. Nothing of the kind is happening.

    To answer the "factual determination" of the question "Is this an airport?" or "Is this necessary operation for a landing" is where the "established" comes from. A lawyer argues and the judge has to establish the facts from that point on as a part of his/her/their ruling.

    This all points to the fact that you have to have been considerably wrapped up in your own case in the past (whether aviation related or not) to be able to speak and understand the legal-ese or be an attorney yourself. Clearly lots of people are not - and Trent is not. From the comments I've seen online by Trent's attorney (if that is in fact him commenting), I don't think the Trent's attorney seems to understand this either. I am not an attorney either, but I've been involved and worked enough with attorneys to have had to teach myself how to read this poop. 99.99% of pilots have zero clue what is actually happening in a legal proceeding whether it be an faa action, simple traffic court, or a goldang murder trial. Judges and lawyer have to act on rather strict and rigorous rules where findings of fact and the past interpretations of law/regulations really dictate what they can find or not. This is why I have _some_ degree of trust in them going through this fairly carefully in 5 full days of hearings in front of an ALJ and am not so quick to think TP isn't getting a fair shake here.

    Trent is getting an expensive and time-consuming education on this, I think. His followers, however are the ones who don't get it - and are going to then "f-ck around, and find out" as they say in the sh-tposting game. One CANNOT be landing and taking off in the middle of housing subdivisions of 11 homes that are 350' apart or flying under bridges or even take your lear jet down to 250' over courierguy's 400' strip. That dog don't hunt. If you do it, pray don't get caught and you'd better delete the footage before you post it on the utoobs. 'Cause karens gonna karen.

    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    No mention of "established airport" in any of these references. Perhaps it's not a term that FAA has used.
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  10. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    No, there is a very specific letter from FAA legal on this. It clearly states that operations at established airports and within the traffic pattern are essentially exempt from 91.119. Now, if you’re four hundred feet below recommended traffic pattern altitude, maybe not. But, “normal ops”, no problem.
    This post asserted there was FAA precedent that " operations at established airports and within the traffic pattern are essentially exempt from 91.119"

    I am only trying find out where "established airport" was referenced or defined. Did this "very specific FAA letter from FAA legal" actually use the term "established airport"?

  11. #171
    ScaleBackcountryPilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post
    ...Yes, they probably inspire a lot of youngsters to go fly something fun...
    One of those youngsters here! The Flying Cowboys are the reason I got into flying

  12. #172

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScaleBackcountryPilot View Post
    One of those youngsters here! The Flying Cowboys are the reason I got into flying
    Who?
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  13. #173
    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    Who?
    You know! The guys with the hats, but no cattle! ;-p

  14. #174
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    My question. They are asking for a 60 day suspension. Instead of taking that, he is fighting it. That is great. But, what is it costing him to fight it and who is paying?

    Being called a Cowboy in the fighter business is not a compliment.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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  15. #175
    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    AOPA legal services posted on instagram that they are representing him: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cc_JLmXJ..._web_copy_link

    For $149/year the cover the first 50 hours of legal services for representation for certificate suspension actions. After that it's like any other lawyer - you pay up front a retainer and it's kind of a blank check you pay by the hour drawn off the retainer. I don't know what his attorney charges but in my experience it's somewhere between $200 to $400 an hour billed in 15 minute increments for every second the lawyer or anyone on their staff is so much as raising an eyebrow on your behalf.

    Their plans are described here:

    https://www.aopa.org/membership/join...hoCHVwQAvD_BwE

    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    My question. They are asking for a 60 day suspension. Instead of taking that, he is fighting it. That is great. But, what is it costing him to fight it and who is paying?

    Being called a Cowboy in the fighter business is not a compliment.
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  16. #176
    sjohnson's Avatar
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    There is a lot of discussion above of the FAA definition of "established airport". Apparently, there isn't one. Is there an FAA (not MTV) document or interpretation that uses "established airport"?
    There are three simple rules for making consistently smooth landings. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

  17. #177
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    This post asserted there was FAA precedent that " operations at established airports and within the traffic pattern are essentially exempt from 91.119"

    I am only trying find out where "established airport" was referenced or defined. Did this "very specific FAA letter from FAA legal" actually use the term "established airport"?
    Trying to find the reference to Williams, but it's an old case, so apparently not in digital form. That said, here is another similar case, with the same "determination":

    "This letter is in response to your February 13, 2009 request for legal interpretation regarding
    the minimum altitudes over congested areas established in 14 C.F .R. § 91.119. As indicated
    in your letter, you are seeking information regarding the point when a takeoff terminates and
    a pilot flying over a congested area would be required to fly at or above the minimum
    altitude specified in the regulation. You also ask how the FAA defines a congested area.
    Determinations of what constitutes a congested area under the regulations are made on a
    case-by-case basis. See Legal Interpretation to F. Dennis Halsey, from Neil R. Eisner,
    Assistant Chief Counsel (Jan. 5, 197. Factors relevant to determining whether an area is a
    "congested area" for purposes of part 91 include housing density, the presence of people,
    and whether buildings are occupied. See Administrator v. Folk, NTSB Order No. EA-5404
    (Aug. 12, 200. For example, in the Pick opinion discussed in your letter, the NTSB
    determined that a "subdivision--comprised of a minimum of 20 houses, in an area
    approximately .5 miles by .66 miles-would qualify as a congested area." Administrator
    v. Pick, NTSB Order No. EA-3646 (Aug. 11, 1972) (footnotes omitted). Therefore, the facts
    indicated in your letter pertaining to the number of homes and residents in your community
    would be relevant to determining whether the community is a congested area under part 91.
    Next, you ask when a takeoff terminates during flight over a congested area. Section 91.119
    provides that "except where necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an
    aircraft . .. over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement ... [below] an altitude of
    1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft."
    14 C.F.R. § 91.l 19(b).
    The FAA has determined that"§ 91.119 does generally not apply to aircraft operations
    within airport traffic patterns," and that "aircraft operating within a traffic pattern are
    excepted from the regulation for a considerable portion of each pattern, i.e., during climb to
    pattern altitude following each takeoff, and during descent from pattern altitude prior to each
    landing." Legal Interpretation to Frank J. Deighan, from Donald Byrne, Assistant Chief
    Counsel (Oct. 30, 1997).
    2
    With respect to touch and go landings, the interpretation noted that the takeoff and landing
    exception to § 91.119 "applies equally to all practice approaches, including repeated 'touch
    and go,' 'stop and go,' and 'low approach' operations .... " Id. We would like to
    emphasize that the NTSB has also applied the § 91.119 takeoff or landing exception to touch
    and go landings and other practice maneuvers. See Administrator v. McCollough, NTSB
    Order No. EA-4020 (Nov. 4, 1993) (stating that simulated landings fall under the section
    91.119 exception); Administrator v. Johnson, NTSB Order No. EA-739 (Jul. 31, 1975)
    ("[T]hese practice maneuvers come within the takeoff or landing exemption to the [section
    91 .119] restrictions because their purpose is to improve a pilot's capabilities in those
    operations."). Therefore, if the operation is not within the traffic pattern, or involves the
    approaches noted above, the pilot must operate in accordance with §91 .119.
    You also inquired about how two National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) decisions,
    Administrator v. Travis, NTSB Order No. EA-1114 (Feb. 17, 197, and Administrator v.
    Pick, NTSB Order No. EA-3646, affect the interpretation of§ 91.119 with respect to takeoff
    and landings in congested areas.
    In the Travis case, the pilot violated the congested area altitude restriction after circling
    homes one-half mile from the airport at 100 feet in order to verify that his aircraft was
    functioning normally. See Travis, NTSB Order No. EA-1114. The takeoff or landing
    exception did not apply to the pilot because his actions could not "be viewed as part of any
    reasonable departure procedure." Id. Therefore, we do not believe that the Travis opinion is
    relevant to the issue you raise regarding student flying lessons conducted within established
    traffic patterns over congested areas.
    Likewise, we do not believe that the Pick opinion is relevant to the question of takeoffs and
    landings under § 91.119. In that case, the pilots made circling passes over a congested area
    below the altitude restrictions of§ 91.79 (now§ 91.119) for the purpose of taking
    photographs. Pick, NTSB Order No. EA-3646. The matter of when takeoff ended or
    landing began was not at issue, and there is no indication in the opinion regarding whether
    the circling passes were conducted within an airport's traffic pattern. See id.
    As discussed, we do not believe that these cases are relevant to the issue you present.
    Further, we note that FAA enforcement actions are made on a case-by-case basis by
    applying the facts of each case to relevant statutes and regulations, NTSB case precedent,
    and all FAA "validly adopted interpretations of laws and regulations .... " See 49 U.S.C.
    § 44709(d)(3).
    3
    This response was prepared by Dean Griffith, Attorney in the Regulations Division of the
    Office of the Chief Counsel, and was coordinated with the General Aviation and
    Commercial Division of Flight Standards Service. Please contact us at (202) 267-3073 if we
    can be of further assistance.
    Sincerely, )f,, ft __ R~.i::: Assistant Chief Counsel for Regulations, AGC-200"

    That's from the Chief Legal Counsel determinations.

    AOPA has now weighed in on this case, in support of Trent Palmer's case according to Facebook. Their concern is, like several on this thread, that this case COULD establish precedent that "evaluation passes" at off airport sites near people or buildings, etc, would be in violation of 91.119. AOPA Legal is working on this with Trent.

    I hope they prevail on this. This stuff is confusing enough as it is.

    MTV

  18. #178
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Trying to find the reference to Williams, but it's an old case, so apparently not in digital form. That said, here is another similar case, with the same "determination":
    Again no mention of "established airport" but there is mention of airport and traffic pattern. I can only assume that "established airport" was not a term used by FAA and that we should assume that "airport" is as defined in 14 CFR 1.1.

    That seems to leave open the can of worms for traffic patterns and evaluation of landing suitability at sites that do not meet the 14 CFR 1.1 definition of airport. My take would be if you want to land, or evaluate, where no one has landed before then do it a long way from anyone who may complain.

    I am a frequent visitor to a local dirt strip that has been show on topo maps for years but is not charted. The area is frequented by 4 wheel enthusiasts who are reputed to think airplanes shouldn't be there. Approach to landing takes one directly over a place where they like to congregate.

    My solution is to go there only mid week assuming the 4 wheelers only go there at weekends. With over 45 recent visits I has never seen any vehicle except a few aircraft. The plan seems to be working.
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  19. #179
    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    The presence of the definition of "airport" in the CFR is a pretty good thing for you. It's broad, and it would seem to me fairly easy to prove that a given area is intended to be used for takeoff and landing of aircraft and it especially doesn't say it has to be charted. Showing up on topo maps - hopefully with a legend indicating it's an airstrip - I would think you are very safe from prosecution for violations of 91.119 when landing. A wind sock at one end sure would help the case. Maybe we could get an RAF work party out there to put one in?

    Again you can state your position that this strip is in fact an airport - and give the common indications: grading, length, width, topo map charting and history, and the activity that proves that people regularly land there - and boom you have just "established" the fact that it's an airport - and an ALJ will only care about that establishment to evaluate whether or not you did indeed violate a FAR. You are either operating in an airport environment, or you are not. A judge will very likely side with you - unless there's absolutely nothing there that indicates this place is intended for the taking off and landing of aircraft.

    Now, if you really want to blow minds here. There is also a definition of "aircraft." Note that nowhere in there does it say that aircraft have to be big enough, or piloted by a human to be called an "airport." So maybe the presence of remote controlled or UAS aircraft at this site gives Trent that angle? It doesn't sound like they argued that in their 5 days of hearings, though... So maybe too late.

    i still can't believe we are bending brains trying to help Trent justify trying to land his airplane in the middle of a subdivision of 11 or more houses. How did it come to this? Clearly in other cases the FAA has argued this was "congested" and unless he was an ag operator this would be a pretty open and shut case.

    And then, what's the definition of "long way" away from anyone who might complain if not 500' like the reg clearly states for sparsely populated areas and 1,000' otherwise?

    You remember some (in)famous slick dude saying "it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is?" That's what it's like dealing with lawyers.



    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    Again no mention of "established airport" but there is mention of airport and traffic pattern. I can only assume that "established airport" was not a term used by FAA and that we should assume that "airport" is as defined in 14 CFR 1.1.

    That seems to leave open the can of worms for traffic patterns and evaluation of landing suitability at sites that do not meet the 14 CFR 1.1 definition of airport. My take would be if you want to land, or evaluate, where no one has landed before then do it a long way from anyone who may complain.

    I am a frequent visitor to a local dirt strip that has been show on topo maps for years but is not charted. The area is frequented by 4 wheel enthusiasts who are reputed to think airplanes shouldn't be there. Approach to landing takes one directly over a place where they like to congregate.

    My solution is to go there only mid week assuming the 4 wheelers only go there at weekends. With over 45 recent visits I has never seen any vehicle except a few aircraft. The plan seems to be working.
    Last edited by soyAnarchisto; 05-05-2022 at 08:28 PM.

  20. #180
    acroeric's Avatar
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    I just want to see the video.
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  21. #181
    ScaleBackcountryPilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soyAnarchisto View Post
    You know! The guys with the hats, but no cattle! ;-p
    You're not wrong

    Ever hear how they got their name? Don't want to bring this thread off topic...

  22. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by soyAnarchisto View Post
    A wind sock at one end sure would help the case. Maybe we could get an RAF work party out there to put one in?
    There is a wind sock in the middle and it is maintained (last time by myself). The one at the East end is gone. Don't know if it was stolen or simply blew away. Windsocks don't last long in the Arizona sun especially if secured to the frame with plastic cable ties. I use safety wire.
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  23. #183

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    You also ask how the FAA defines a congested area. Determinations of what constitutes a congested area under the regulations are made on a
    case-by-case basis.

    MTV
    Right there, that's the essence of tyranny. Laws and regulation that can be bent at will to meet the needs of the government that is trying to find you in violation.
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  24. #184
    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    Yes, I'm pretty sure I was at the same fly-in in at JC. I really do have tremendous respect for Kevin Quinn, Jason Sneed, Steve Henry, Trent and Scott Palmer, Mike and Mark Patey... and especially Kyle Bushman. Those guys are awesome.

    These guys were not the first to be out doing this stuff, nor even the first to be putting awesome videos on youtube however... Some of the OGs decided to back away from publishing videos of their exploits because of incidents, access issues, and well sometimes the coolest poop happens when there's no cameras rolling.

    Personally speaking, I give a LOT of credit (blame) to Greg Miller. I bought all his DVDs and learned A LOT. We also have a fantastic cadre of VERY active pilots here in Colorado from which to draw a lot of inspiration.

    Once again, I wanna be clear to Trent and his fans. I'm super interested in this topic from my own learning perspective - don't think I'm piling on. I wish him a positive outcome, of course. If I'm wrong about my understanding and interpretation of the regs, I'll happily admit it when the time comes. The best of us can make mistakes and misunderstand the law.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScaleBackcountryPilot View Post
    You're not wrong

    Ever hear how they got their name? Don't want to bring this thread off topic...
    Last edited by soyAnarchisto; 05-06-2022 at 12:52 PM. Reason: cussin'
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  25. #185
    Rob's Avatar
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    Cool

    Established, misstablished....

    I'm not sure why anyone thinks that makes any difference in the world in a regulation world that leaves so much up to interpretation... and of course semantics.

    It has been suggested that this type of open endedness is tantamount to tyranny.... my tin foil hat blew away long ago, I think it was written this way so that we'd occasionally have to use brain cells and common sense instead of having an absolute definition or parameter for every single gas we passed.

    Congested is not predefined because it in fact can be defined in an almost infinite amount of ways. I for one don't want to have to carry around an encyclopedia worth of definitions to tell me if congested in Los Angeles, CA is the same as congested in Manson, IA... I will do the best I can to asses what I believe that to mean on a case by case basis. And then if I'm wrong I'll take my licks... (accountability....there's a novel concept that some seem to have forgotten)

    As to the *Established Airport* operations I will offer the cliff notes of a portion of a PT137 chief supervisor competency ride I did with 4 (yes 4) FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors. The whole story is fun, but only one snippet relates to this thread (and only because of the airport tangent).

    For the test I was having the inspectors meet us at our base at Imperial airport. IPL not IML, big congestion difference....
    Anyways, in light of the frequent military activity, FedEx, regional, and Careflight ops, we had initially agreed to meet there at the big airport, satisfy the knowledge portion, satisfy the aircraft requirements, then they could observe a departure of their choosing and travel to a nearby farm strip to watch the dispensing (of water) load dumping (again water) and then a landing of their choosing as well.

    As fate would have it that day, we woke up to a drizzle. It was one of those rains that was light, but going to be light for the day or days... I kept to the plans and just as we pulled in to IPL the lead Inspector called and said;


    "it's raining in San Diego"
    yes it's raining here as well I replied...
    "what do you want to do?"
    well... here's the deal... we've been trying to get together for months. This is obviously not spraying Wx, so if this question is to determine whether I am competent enough to make that decision, let's tick that box, and keep on with the test, because while it is raining, it is still very vfr and actually a nice day to fly.
    "great choice, we'll head that way"


    So all 4 arrive, contrary to all the nightmare stories of 'feds gone wild', all 4 where genuinely good to deal with.

    The only sticky wicket moment was when I suggested that rather than venture off to a muddy farm field, perhaps they should just hop in the fuelers golf cart or courtesy car and observe the whole thing right here at the airport. The military traffic was light that day, and with the calm wind I could use the crosswind strip and leave the big one to the big boys.

    the cross wind strip at IPL has a fence, next to a road, next to an entire city of apartments right across that road. Right away the #2 safety inspector piped up;

    "will turning around over those apartments be within your PT 137 regs?"

    I knew right where she was going with that, because clearly I was not 'dispensing economic poisons' nor conducting non dispensing aerial work operations related to agriculture, horticulture, or forest preservation' which of course would be the only portion of a part 137 operation that allows us to deviate from
    91.119, and even if I had been, the relief would not have been the same as it most certainly was (even in my mind) a congested area...

    And just then, there in front of God and everybody FedEx made a landing exactly where I proposed to make my simulated spray runs and dump, rainwater coming off it's wings good enough to qualify for a spray run itself...

    There must have been 100 reasons why this would be safe, easy and expedient... and then there's the established airport... there could have been a lot to say..

    Me? 'Let's go spray in the mud', I declared .... I was simply looking to make their life easier with a little common sense, she on the other hand was charged with testing my skills, and knowledge, and her point was correct....

    I got my certificate signed, they got to watch a cool airplane do cool things, high fives all around... What more could you ask for?

    Speaking of correction,

    I have been taken to task for my initial post in which I said the ferry part of a part 137 OP is really part 91.... and of course, if you want to cite regs, that is incorrect, the entire flight is a part 137 operation. Here again I was simplifying in the name of common sense. What the regs say about it is exactly this;

    Notwithstanding part 91 of this chapter, during the actual dispensing operation, including approaches, departures, and turnarounds reasonably necessary for the operation, an aircraft may be operated over other than congested areas below 500 feet above the surface and closer than 500 feet to persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures, if the operations are conducted without creating a hazard to persons or property on the surface.


    To my way of thinking, that means if you are not spraying, or turning back in to a spray run, part 91 stands.

    I'm not the writer here, I'm not the messenger, heck I don't even like it, in fact I don't even like flying any higher than I'd care to fall out of it...

    Take care, Rob

    soyA, Amen, and you've got too much common sense for todays world
    Last edited by Rob; 05-06-2022 at 08:15 PM.
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  26. #186
    Rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScaleBackcountryPilot View Post
    One of those youngsters here! The Flying Cowboys are the reason I got into flying
    First and foremost, good on them for inspiring you!
    Next congrats on your flying journey, I hope it is long, safe and prosperous.
    and lastly, I hope you're paying attention, you now posses the crystal ball that Trent did not 20 minutes before that infamous flight.... I bet he wishes he did

    Take care, Rob
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  27. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee View Post
    Right there, that's the essence of tyranny. Laws and regulation that can be bent at will to meet the needs of the government that is trying to find you in violation.
    I think your tin foil hat got a little too snug there……

    So, how would you define a “congested area of a city, town or settlement or open air assembly of people” so that it’s easily identified, including by a pilot in flight?

    There are several problems with many of these regulations, not the least of which is, of course, The preponderance of Philadelphia Lawyers among our ranks. But also, some of these things are just close to impossible to define in such a way that a pilot in the air can say….oops, don’t go there. There’s a tremendous variety of circumstances here.

    So, the THEORY is, you (the FAA) hire competent, knowledgeable and reasonable Inspectors to make these determinations.

    as we’ve all seen, that doesn’t always happen. Secondly, the FAA seems to have no mechanism to reverse an errant Inspectors’ judgement. THAT is the real problem here, NOT the regulation. I was horrified last year at OSH when the Administrator got up at the AOPA tent and told us that he was just as angry about the Warbirds decision as we were.

    Seriously? If the Administrator can’t fix these kinds of things, the agency is broke, and needs to be fixed.

    Unfortunately, the subject case probably isn’t going to do it.

    MTV
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  28. #188

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    Jon from Fly8MA with his take, if you have 20-30 mins. I know plenty of you will disagree with it, but I think a lot of us are viewing this from a similar perspective.

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  29. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    So, the THEORY is, you (the FAA) hire competent, knowledgeable and reasonable Inspectors to make these determinations.

    as we’ve all seen, that doesn’t always happen. Secondly, the FAA seems to have no mechanism to reverse an errant Inspectors’ judgement. THAT is the real problem here, NOT the regulation. I was horrified last year at OSH when the Administrator got up at the AOPA tent and told us that he was just as angry about the Warbirds decision as we were.

    Seriously? If the Administrator can’t fix these kinds of things, the agency is broke, and needs to be fixed.

    Unfortunately, the subject case probably isn’t going to do it.

    MTV
    Exactly, perhaps this had something to do with his leaving his term of office early?
    N1PA

  30. #190

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    I think your tin foil hat got a little too snug there……

    MTV
    I admit that I was being too hyperbolic there, but my point stands anyway. We need good laws. Good laws make good people. Laws and regulations should be brief, straightforward, easy to understand and easy to interpret by the public and the authorities.

    We should not have to live with vague laws and regulations that have no real definition. It gives the government too much power to take away your freedoms at will. Like:

    "Changing lanes too many times" on the highway.
    "Making fun" of politicians.
    Not "feeding your pets enough."
    "Being mean" to your spouse.
    "Acting crazy" at a football game.
    "Drinking more than you should'" at the beach.
    Catching a fish that's "too small."
    "Being disrespectful of the animals" at the zoo.
    "Not wearing the right clothes" at the PTA meeting.
    Flying "too fast" in class B airspace.

    With today's mapping and demographic technology, high resolution "congested area" maps could be generated by a sophomore geography major using a well defined formula of some sort. If the FAA felt like it was important enough, it could publish these maps annually & anybody who wants to could refer to it at any time. I would prefer that pilots just use common sense, but we all know that won't happen all the time. When they don't, busting them should be easy and objective.
    Last edited by Tennessee; 05-07-2022 at 05:38 AM.
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  31. #191
    S2D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob View Post

    It is also worth noting that ferrying is not a part 137 portion of a flight,
    Take care, Rob

    this was the only portion of Robs statement I took exception with. It does matter how you state something. This is a perfect example. Had he said the part 91 rule for 500 ft applies during the ferry flight he would have been correct.
    No issues Rob, just that how one phrases a comment can make a complete different meaning.

    Brian

  32. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2D View Post
    this was the only portion of Robs statement I took exception with. It does matter how you state something. This is a perfect example. Had he said the part 91 rule for 500 ft applies during the ferry flight he would have been correct.
    No issues Rob, just that how one phrases a comment can make a complete different meaning.

    Brian
    No worries here Brian. You are absolutely correct, I was sloppy with my verbiage. And to your point, it is probably how a lot of these situations come to be.

    Take care, Rob

  33. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee View Post
    I admit that I was being too hyperbolic there, but my point stands anyway. We need good laws. Good laws make good people. Laws and regulations should be brief, straightforward, easy to understand and easy to interpret by the public and the authorities.

    We should not have to live with vague laws and regulations that have no real definition. It gives the government too much power to take away your freedoms at will. Like:

    "Changing lanes too many times" on the highway.
    "Making fun" of politicians.
    Not "feeding your pets enough."
    "Being mean" to your spouse.
    "Acting crazy" at a football game.
    "Drinking more than you should'" at the beach.
    Catching a fish that's "too small."
    "Being disrespectful of the animals" at the zoo.
    "Not wearing the right clothes" at the PTA meeting.
    Flying "too fast" in class B airspace.

    With today's mapping and demographic technology, high resolution "congested area" maps could be generated by a sophomore geography major using a well defined formula of some sort. If the FAA felt like it was important enough, it could publish these maps annually & anybody who wants to could refer to it at any time. I would prefer that pilots just use common sense, but we all know that won't happen all the time. When they don't, busting them should be easy and objective.
    Have you ever been cited for driving 57 mph in a 55 zone? The law is clear there…..speed limit is a line. Yet small infractions are rarely enforced. Point is hard and fast rules are often not enforced “strictly”. There are a lot of reasons for that-the police officer has to rely on his equipment, etc, but the big one is, the cop has to justify that citation to his Prosecutor, to the court and ultimately to his Captain. Any of whom will almost certainly say “two over? Seriously?”

    Most law enforcement officers are expected to use discretion. Draw too hard a line, and the prosecutor may say, Nope. Or you may alienate a judge if it gets that far. Or, your City councilman and the Mayor…..

    By the same token, get too generous and there can also be consequences for the officer.

    But, FAA Inspectors aren’t trained as law enforcement officers, though they do serve in that role. But, perhaps more importantly, in the FAA, none of that supervisory infrastructure to moderate and supervise enforcement by the Inspector seems to exist. Essentially, FAA Legal appears to be there primarily to defend whatever Inspectors cite, regardless of circumstances or validity of the charge.

    There is a reason we have checks and balances in our justice system. It’s unfortunate that the FAA doesn’t adopt the same procedures. Most of these kinds of cases would either go away or be dealt with very differently.

    MTV
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  34. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee View Post
    With today's mapping and demographic technology, high resolution "congested area" maps could be generated by a sophomore geography major using a well defined formula of some sort. If the FAA felt like it was important enough, it could publish these maps annually & anybody who wants to could refer to it at any time. I would prefer that pilots just use common sense, but we all know that won't happen all the time. When they don't, busting them should be easy and objective.
    Holy cats. over the last decade the TFR BS has become a nightmare for folks that just want to take a joy ride in the evening. Now you want to spend more money to have more restrictions that we need to spend more time researching as these restrictions will come and go at all hours of day and night???

    Give me a break, see a crowd, get away from it.

    Looks like lots of folks/houses? Climb or turn away.

    If you create the perception that you are a 'cowboy', and there is question as to your judgement and willingness to comply with regs, expect the FAA to take action. My observation one stupid oops will get you a phone call. Lots of actions that look stupid, or questionable putting others at risk, (in THEIR opinion), you can expect things to be less congenial.

    Take responsibility and realize that youtube is putting focus on our flying. Time to get the heck away from people, or climb to 2,000 and stay away from towers.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  35. #195

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    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    Good discussion, glad I brought it up here on Supercub.org with pilots who have real experience dealing with this type of situation.

    Here is where the surveillance pass was conducted (at the invitation of the property owner to land there).
    BTW these are all 1-1.5M dollar homes, welcome to New California.
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  36. #196
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    Many of the arguments above implicitly criticize regs that are somewhat blurry and require judgement to apply.

    Blurry rules:
    The good - leeway in judgement allows an FAA inspector to consider all the factors, and overlook some operations in the grey areas, or just maybe provide a little guidance for next time.
    The bad - there are always a small but not insignificant number of inspectors, for their own reasons, that will use the leeway to be particularly critical and enforce where they probably shouldn't.

    Bright line rules:
    The good - unambiguous rules reduce the application of judgement and give a lot of guidance.
    The bad - bright line rules are a) overinclusive, because the drafters fear missing some corner case, and b) in practice always still require judgement (which leads to more bright line rules, and so on) because language itself is ambiguous.

    Personally, I'd rather have blurry rules and work on institutional aspects to reduce abuse. More and more bright line rules make it harder, not easier, to operate.

    An exercise in judgement means that you consider the context, not just parse the regs and consider only those facts that fit.
    There are three simple rules for making consistently smooth landings. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
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  37. #197
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    So, putting aside all the legalese, how do blurry rules apply to Trent?


    • There is no history of landing at that site
    • The approach to land was within a subdivision of large lots and houses, not some remote backcountry field
    • The owner of a lot, his child, and a propane tank, were 100-150’ away from the plane at 100’ on final
    • It appears that Trent did not do progressively lower passes* to inspect the field. (LMK if I missed something this)


    I suspect the ALJ more or less agreed with the FAA that, taken together, this wasn't a landing, it was a buzz job. The exception in 91.119 does not apply if it was not a landing.

    I can't find the actual ALJ opinion, but it appears that it was inartfully worded ("the wheels didn't touch"), which will likely bite someone later when an ambitious inspector tries to enforce it.

    So, it is justified to criticize the ALJ opinion and at the same time criticize Trent's actions. I don't think criticizing the FAA for enforcement against Trent is warranted.

    * Inspection passes need more discussion.
    When I'm looking at a new field, I may make as many as a dozen passes (why be in a hurry?), starting at 800' or so and working lower. You need 700-800' to see vertically through the trees on the approach and departure ends. Had Trent started high and made multiple passes, he likely would have seen the people and structures (propane tank), and gone elsewhere. If he didn't, then intentionally flying close to people who are unaware of what is going on is a bad move, even if you can argue that the rules allow it.
    Last edited by sjohnson; 05-07-2022 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Tupo
    There are three simple rules for making consistently smooth landings. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
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  38. #198

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    "If you create the perception that you are a 'cowboy', and there is question as to your judgement and willingness to comply with regs, expect the FAA to take action. My observation one stupid oops will get you a phone call. Lots of actions that look stupid, or questionable putting others at risk, (in THEIR opinion), you can expect things to be less congenial.

    Take responsibility and realize that youtube is putting focus on our flying. Time to get the heck away from people, or climb to 2,000 and stay away from towers."


    That about sums it up.

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    For legal interpretation, I believe the more important word is "for", not "necessary". So, "except when necessary for landing/takeoff...", means, that if it is necessary to operate an aircraft below 500' for the purposes of (safely) landing/takeoff, then the 500' restriction does not apply. I wish Trent the best in his legal case.
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  40. #200
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    This is an interesting topic. A friend of mine loves to fly low and slow, window up door down over huge pastures of farm land. No way would he ever intentionally overfly a person, yet I can see the potential to do it by accident if he is unable to spot someone in the field who is crouched down or hidden by a shrub that obscures his outline. In such an occurrence is the pilot at fault for failing to see and avoid? A human can be anywhere at any time on this planet, including remote wilderness, and then pop up to film you.

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