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

  1. #1
    Narwhal's Avatar
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    Trent Palmer’s Pilot certificate suspended for going around at an off-airport landing site

    This is about Trent Palmer, NOT Trevor Jacob (who crashed a Taylorcraft intentionally and had his certificate revoked).

    So, Palmer, who is one of the “flying cowboys” and generally a pretty responsible pilot with a nice YouTube channel lost a ruling on a violation resulting in a penalty of a 60 day pilot certificate suspension.

    Basically, sometime in 2019 he was attempting to land on a friend’s property for the first time and made a low surveillance pass but didn’t land there because he wasn’t satisfied with the spot. He went around. The FAA argued that since he passed within 500 feet of a structure and didn’t land, he violated 91.119(a) and (c). A neighbor of the friend turned Palmer in using surveillance camera footage as evidence that he flew too close to their structure.

    Anyway, Palmer has appealed the suspension to the NTSB which was apparently handed down through an administrative law judge, but the judge’s ruling was for a 60 day suspension. He can still fly pending the appeal. The ruling, if upheld would appear to mean that if you fly within 500 feet of a person, vehicle, vessel or structure you must land, a go around with a diversion would result in a violation and/or suspension.

    Anyway, that’s Palmer’s side of the story. I’m interested in SC.org’s thoughts even though Palmer flies a Kitfox not a cub, it seems relevant to what we do.

    Last edited by Narwhal; 04-28-2022 at 10:14 PM.

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    Colorado-Cub's Avatar
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    A high time extremely experienced pilot flew a high approach to scout a landing strip on my private property in the mountains of Colorado. It was too windy and the landing was aborted. Windsock on site, radio contact 5 miles out, eyes inbound and outbound from both the ground and the air. No incriminating video, no incriminating pictures, but a single Karen camping complained to the FAA. This set off a year long ordeal.

    This is par for the course with the FAA. They will attempt you to violate you for landing on your own property even if you follow their procedures. They will attempt to violate you for exercising good judgement and not landing on your own property. Either way, they will attempt to suspend your license for following their own publications and regulations. And, you will pay for it either with your tax dollars or with your checkbook.

    Trent is experiencing what many of us already have.
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    mvivion's Avatar
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    I can’t tell you how many pilots, during a flight review, argued to me that basically as long as you’re landing or taking off, you can legally fly closer than 500 feet to persons or property on the surface. But, that is NOT what 91.119 says.

    The operative term is the first statement in that regulation: “Except when necessary for landing or takeoff”….(emphasis added).
    Most pilots ignore that phrase, but it has bitten a few.

    Contrary to Trent’s statement in the video, there is already precedent in this type of case. The case of A commercial pilot operating out of Lake Union comes to mind.

    Trent makes some very good points, and I sympathize with him, but I seriously doubt he can beat this one.

    Trent is a good guy, and I feel for him. But this is something we ALL need to be well aware of. If a “citizen” files a complaint that you or I flew too close to them, we may be spending a LOT of money on lawyers.

    And, as Trent points out, ALL alleged violations of the regulations are handled by an Administrative Law Judge….no jury. You can appeal, but good luck there. These are not handled like a “normal” civil or criminal case.

    Tough deal. Be careful out there, folks.

    MTV
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    Talk about the FAA setting a dangerous precedent.
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    stewartb's Avatar
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    It’s hard to tell any difference between a single “inspection pass” and a buzz job. A single pass with no landing attempt is hard to defend, apparently.

    A camera giveth and a camera taketh away.
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    Our system of justice is different when there is a distinction between privileges (i.e. what we can do with our pilot licenses) and constitutional rights (free speech, fair trial, etc.)

    Non-pilots can easily overlook the fact that the possibility of a go-around is an integral part of every landing. This can get lost in the legal minutia of a hearing 3 years after the fact. The take home message is that at least for now, an inspection overflight is NOT considered to be part of a actual landing process in the eyes of the FAA. We need to remember that in our fractured society, there are lots of woke people who are opposed to aircraft in "their" outdoors and they will do anything they can to legally hurt and oppose us.

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    cubdrvr's Avatar
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    Necessary? A "gotcha" word in this reg. Seems no matter the situation FAA could prevail.
    I give rides from a farm pasture to folks and fly closer than 500' to people and property.
    Is it necessary that I even give rides? Is it even necessary I take off from my airport to do this?
    It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.
    Thanks for the post.......
    "Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar"
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    It’s hard to tell any difference between a single “inspection pass” and a buzz job. A single pass with no landing attempt is hard to defend, apparently.

    A camera giveth and a camera taketh away.
    Speed and common sense.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Been there, done that. Took 5 years and I retained my pilot's license. The CYA was sickening.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Never forget the way the FAA treated Bob Hoover.

    Bill
    Very Blessed. "It's not an obsession, it's a passion"

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    Never forget the way the FAA treated Bob Hoover.

    Bill
    and Bill Bainbridge.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    I’ll pass on a bit of advise handed down to me from a fed. Deny deny deny. Never admit you were flying. Might be your one get out of jail free card. If they don’t have a clear picture of you breaking the reg there’s nothing they can do. They get excited after they ramp check the airplane and call back and say you didn’t tell me you annualed it. You didn’t ask. You asked if I flew. Kind of sad as a young guy in aviation they have completely given me a horrible outlook on them.
    They’re not happy until you’re not happy.

    They will make outlaws out of everyone.


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    This isn't a FAA issue, this is Biblical. We are ruled by women and children because that is what we deserve. And if you are a nonbeliever know that it still isn't a FAA issue it is our current culture(ruled by women and children) and you can make any excuse you want for how we got here, but sending money to AOPA won't get us out of this.

  14. #14
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadrifter View Post
    Talk about the FAA setting a dangerous precedent.
    Nope, the precedent has been set for years on this very issue.

    Many years ago, a commercial seaplane pilot took off out of Lake Union, which is VERY busy waters. He flew close to some boaters, who filed a complaint. FAA violated him. He argued he had to takeoff, which the FAA didn’t dispute. They pointed out that he COULD have taken off a different direction. He lost.

    Second case: Western Alaska. Two FAA Inspectors were on shore on a lake. Their seaplane was well out in the lake. A passing pilot saw the plane and assumed it had drifted away from shore. He lined up to land, then realized the plane was actually “beached” in very shallow sloping shore. So, he powered up and left. The feds violated him under 91.119. It stuck.

    And then there was the guy who did a fly by and landing “close to” a wedding party in the Mat Valley. Pilot of seaplane landed close to party, then docked. It was unproven there was a buzz job, but it was clear the pilot touched down very close to party on lake shore. He too was suspended. FAA said it wasn’t “necessary” to operate that close to people.

    Those are just a few I’m aware of…..I’m betting there are many others.

    this is something I try to cover on every Flight Review.

    MTV
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    DJ's Avatar
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    An inspection pass is not "necessary" for an off-airport landing at a new LZ? Really?

    Sent from my SM-G965U1 using SuperCub.Org mobile app
    The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Psalms 19:1
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    SJ's Avatar
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    I like Trent, and I'm glad he is appealing and I sure hope he is able to make some progress, but as Mike says, the precedent is out there so who knows.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    No doubt, it is a slippery slope. I suspect that we are collectively shooting ourselves in the foot with youtube videos, the latest redbull is a pretty good example.

    Its likely that there is somebody in the FAA has put a most wanted poster with Trent's face on it, too.

    All that being said, I think Trent has done a great job of trying to advocate for safety in recent times.

    Tim

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    stewartb's Avatar
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    I’d like to hear the neighbor’s story. I can understand how a guy who buys a 10 acre plus lot bordering undeveloped public land might not welcome airplane noise from next door. He has a right to quiet enjoyment. We all have to learn to respect the opposing perspective.

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    Colorado-Cub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    I’d like to hear the neighbor’s story. I can understand how a guy who buys a 10 acre plus lot bordering undeveloped public land might not welcome airplane noise from next door. He has a right to quiet enjoyment. We all have to learn to respect the opposing perspective.
    My neighbor has horses on his 10 acre lot which is next to mine.

    He does not have the right to offend my nose with their offensive smell and clippity-cloppity noises.

    Did I perform the mental gymnastics correctly?
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    txpacer's Avatar
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    I guess I'm lucky my picture from a game camera was sent to the game warden and not the FAA. I don't know if deer stands and feeders count as structures.

  21. #21
    stewartb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorado-Cub View Post
    My neighbor has horses on his 10 acre lot which is next to mine.

    He does not have the right to offend my nose with their offensive smell and clippity-cloppity noises.

    Did I perform the mental gymnastics correctly?
    I just bought a lot that sounds a lot like the area in question. 6 parcels make up our subdivision, all over 11 acres. I have an 1100’ property line shared with a very large ranch. I commented to my son in law that we ought to cut a strip along that fence line, but we’d need to get a nod from neighbors who’d be on approach and departure ends. I won’t bother asking because I’m pretty sure they’d object, and I wouldn’t blame them. The best feature of the property is the absence of noise. And getting put of the growing city was the point. Like I said, different perspectives.
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  22. #22
    Colorado-Cub's Avatar
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    Not necessarily disagreeing. However it seems that at some point, possibly within some level of reason, you should be able to use that patch of land as it best suits you and your interests. Airplanes are not illegal (yet).

    (and FWIW, I spend large sums of $ on carrots for my neighbors horse. That little bugger loves me, and I love it. No horses feelings were harmed in the making of this hypothetical discussion.)

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    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    Very good points mentioned earlier. I, too am on Trent's side (and us pilot's in general) but that "Necessary" part does critically involve people and structures within 500'. I don't quite see the doomsday scenario he is painting - the critical lapse in judgement I see quite often is playing like this within 500 feet of people - and filming it for the 'gram.

    I also feel compelled to point out that there many, many examples (the majority actually) where you don't get a jury of your peers and actions are taken against you in courts both civil and minor criminal where you have a case made in front of a judge and the judge decides against you. Judges make mistakes and have natural biases - and that's what the appeals process is for. I'd hope Trent wins on appeal - but I don't really see that his case is all that strong if he was, in fact operating within 500' of a home, person or a person.... even a karen that walks over to film it.

    I think the best takeaway is, when called in to a conference with the FAA you need to understand what you say is going to be evidence used against you in an enforcement action - so shut the eff up and deny so you don't have to lawyer up.

    Also, painting that kitfox up like a dang 'murica flag - that's a pretty unique color scheme - hard to deny who it was. I want my ship to look like every other cessna in the world. To quoth Windy, "Didja get an N Number?"

    Time to go get those 3" numbers back on my plane - the one advantage to antique aircraft!
    Last edited by soyAnarchisto; 04-29-2022 at 10:44 AM. Reason: fixing spelling errors

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    Richgj3's Avatar
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    Mike

    I fly in and out of 23N Bayport Aerodrome on Long Island. Learned to fly there in 1967 and instructed there in 2000 and a few years after. When landing 36 there is a house within 300 feet or so of the threshold so we are clearly within 500 feet of his house. (This may be why he shot at us…..see other thread about that). So you’re saying if I’m on final and I have to go around for a reason I determine to be safety related and he complains to FAA I could run afoul of this reg. The way I read it I, could.

    I hope I would prevail in the ensuing discussion.

    Rich

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    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    An established, registered aerodrome is not the same as an off-airport landing. The FAA's argument is that the landing is not "necessary" and he did not have to choose to be within 500' of houses and people to evaluate the feasibility of that landing. I don't think Trent is adequately presenting both sides of the story - which is understandable - but people are getting in a tizzy over this and I don't see it yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richgj3 View Post
    Mike

    I fly in and out of 23N Bayport Aerodrome on Long Island. Learned to fly there in 1967 and instructed there in 2000 and a few years after. When landing 36 there is a house within 300 feet or so of the threshold so we are clearly within 500 feet of his house. (This may be why he shot at us…..see other thread about that). So you’re saying if I’m on final and I have to go around for a reason I determine to be safety related and he complains to FAA I could run afoul of this reg. The way I read it I, could.

    I hope I would prevail in the ensuing discussion.

    Rich
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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    There are places on Earth, and particularly in Alaska in my experience, where tourism or outdoor use like hunting and fishing (both sport and commercial) involves flight. And that flight has been accepted as both a customary and traditional means of access. So maybe that means I/we/FAA look at that operation sometimes as "necessary" even if it involves flight closer than 91.119 normally permits. It's an atypical scenario but then it has been since aircraft first flew here, especially in poor weather or when several aircraft are vying for airspace.

    Gary
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    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soyAnarchisto View Post
    The FAA's argument is that the landing is not "necessary" and he did not have to choose to be within 500' of houses and people to evaluate the feasibility of that landing.
    That is not what I heard Trent say in the video nor, in my opinion, is it what 91.119 says.

    Nothing in 91.119 is conditional on the landing or takeoff being necessary. 91.119 allows the listed altitudes to be waived if violating them is necessary for a takeoff or landing.

    Trent indicated that it was the ruling of the ALJ that, since he did not land (or takeoff), the relief allowed for takeoff and landing did not apply.

    edited to add - Every missed approach to KDVT 7L or 7R would be a violation of 91.119 is this interpretation is correct. An on-VASI approach passes far closer than 500 feet over the industrial units on the approach end.
    Last edited by frequent_flyer; 04-29-2022 at 11:56 AM.

  28. #28
    Grand Pooh Bah soyAnarchisto's Avatar
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    I don't think we yet have the whole story. We just have Trent's side. Which is fine.

    The takeoff or landing doesn't have to be necessary, but maintaining separation of 500' from people, structures, and vehicles is... unless he's actually landing. As Mike points out there was already precedent for busting people trying to use the takeoff and landing argument to give them blanket permission to fly closer than "necessary" to people and houses. He made a low approach in someones back yard and the neighbors complained. 2.5 years later he's trying to convince everyone that this was an "off airport" landing. C'mon man. How many dudes have been busted for buzzing people and houses on the ground and lost this battle already? Calling it a landing isn't a get out of jail free card. Now "carb ice" is a rock solid alibi!

    Don't get me wrong, I'm on his side. I hope he wins the appeal. I just don't see that his case is the first of the precedent so I don't think this is a new type of action worthy of "government overreach". This is kinda like Martha Lunkin to me - his equivalent of flying under a bridge. He could mess around and it could be worse. My money is on him taking his 60 days and learning to stay further away from houses on the ground for his youtube channel. I think he's already learned that lesson, he's just not saying it. It's his half million followers that need to get this message rather than trying to fire up the pitch forks and torches to overthrow the gummint.

    This is just my read of the situation. I'm mad at myself for clicking on the Dan Gryder video and giving that dipshit a click. I should know better.

    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    That is not what I heard Trent say in the video nor, in my opinion, is it what 91.119 says.

    Nothing in 91.119 is conditional on the landing or takeoff being necessary. 91.119 allows the listed altitudes to be waived if violating them is necessary for a takeoff or landing.

    Trent indicated that it was the ruling of the ALJ that, since he did not land (or takeoff), the relief allowed for takeoff and landing did not apply.

    edited to add - Every missed approach to KDVT 7L or 7R would be a violation of 91.119 is this interpretation is correct. An on-VASI approach passes far closer than 500 feet over the industrial units on the approach end.
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  29. #29
    courierguy's Avatar
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    "Also, painting that kitfox up like a dang 'murica flag - that's a pretty unique color scheme - hard to deny who it was. I want my ship to look like every other cessna in the world. To quoth Windy, "Didja get an N Number?"

    You who fly with stock Cub Yellow paint schemes, were/are way ahead of the curve! I too have opted for somewhat bland paint schemes: 1. I'm not really into painting that much, just want to preserve the fabric 2. Don't really care about a show finish. 3. Less memorable. Sad to say, I think of this when driving my crane around town, with my name in 1' high letters and phone number, (and I drive it like a little old lady,) not what I really want on my airplane. The 500' rule lumps us all into the same category, as to the perceived hazards, from a big twin to a Lear jet, no thought given as to our lower speeds, lesser mass, etc. The YouTube "stars" are really hanging it out there, with many of them getting their wings clipped.



  30. #30
    ScaleBackcountryPilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by courierguy View Post
    "Also, painting that kitfox up like a dang 'murica flag - that's a pretty unique color scheme - hard to deny who it was. I want my ship to look like every other cessna in the world. To quoth Windy, "Didja get an N Number?"

    You who fly with stock Cub Yellow paint schemes, were/are way ahead of the curve! I too have opted for somewhat bland paint schemes: 1. I'm not really into painting that much, just want to preserve the fabric 2. Don't really care about a show finish. 3. Less memorable. Sad to say, I think of this when driving my crane around town, with my name in 1' high letters and phone number, (and I drive it like a little old lady,) not what I really want on my airplane. The 500' rule lumps us all into the same category, as to the perceived hazards, from a big twin to a Lear jet, no thought given as to our lower speeds, lesser mass, etc. The YouTube "stars" are really hanging it out there, with many of them getting their wings clipped.


    Kinda interesting how the YouTube pilots have been pretty influential in growing GA, and yet they seem to be targeted by the FAA more often...

  31. #31
    Colorado-Cub's Avatar
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    Trent has presented the FAA Judge/Jury/Executioner believes his landing was not necessary. Even if the FAA has directed us to inspect possible landing zones thoroughly for safety reasons, none of that matters since the landing was not necessary.

    That is different than how the regulation is worded: "...except when necessary for landing/takeoff..."

    What exactly constitutes a necessary landing?

    I would argue landing at my home, on my own property, to use the lavatory constitutes necessary landing. In possible situations, I may even declare an emergency. Yet, one complaint proven to be an abuse of the ADSB system and in congruent with multiple data sources was enough for the FAA to disregard multiple FAA licensed pilots (witnesses) and join the witch hunt to find the rogue pilot who flew 800+ feet over someone hiding in the woods.

    Those in this thread that state "never ever talk to the FAA" don't realize how right they are.
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  32. #32

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    Never forget, even with Administrative Law (executive department regulations), you still retain your 5th amendment right of not self incriminating. About 90% of FAA enforcement actions that result in penalties are due to self incriminating oneself. As stated above Deny, Deny, Deny! If the tower asks you to contact them when you land, park the plane and go home. Calling the tower is self incrimination. It is very hard to do, but never volunteer information.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  33. #33
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorado-Cub View Post
    That is different than how the regulation is worded: "...except when necessary for landing/takeoff..."

    What exactly constitutes a necessary landing?
    91.119 does not say the landing must be necessary.
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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ View Post
    An inspection pass is not "necessary" for an off-airport landing at a new LZ? Really?

    Sent from my SM-G965U1 using SuperCub.Org mobile app
    Well, I’d agree with Trent that landing an airplane IN a built up subdivision certainly qualifies as an “off airport operation”. But, like with most things, context is kinda essential.

    So, Trent was invited to land at this RC airplane “strip”. What do you suppose the odds are that the neighbor who called in the complaint was already complaining about RC airplanes flying around his house?

    Not a good setup, in any case and a far stretch to assume this decision implies you can’t make an inspection pass on a gravel bar on the Xxxx River in Alaska.

    I’d bet good money there’s some history in that subdivision.

    MTV
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  35. #35
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorado-Cub View Post
    Trent has presented the FAA Judge/Jury/Executioner believes his landing was not necessary. Even if the FAA has directed us to inspect possible landing zones thoroughly for safety reasons, none of that matters since the landing was not necessary.

    That is different than how the regulation is worded: "...except when necessary for landing/takeoff..."

    What exactly constitutes a necessary landing?

    I would argue landing at my home, on my own property, to use the lavatory constitutes necessary landing. In possible situations, I may even declare an emergency. Yet, one complaint proven to be an abuse of the ADSB system and in congruent with multiple data sources was enough for the FAA to disregard multiple FAA licensed pilots (witnesses) and join the witch hunt to find the rogue pilot who flew 800+ feet over someone hiding in the woods.

    Those in this thread that state "never ever talk to the FAA" don't realize how right they are.
    Thats Trent’s interpretation. I’m betting the AL Judge found that Trent flying closer than 500 feet to the neighbors home was not “necessary” for the operation.

    MTV
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  36. #36
    Colorado-Cub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    91.119 does not say the landing must be necessary.
    Trent is presenting in his video the judge felt the landing was not necessary, thus weighted the decision to violate.

    I do not have any more information in his case beyond what is presented in the video, so I am not saying what he presented is fact or not.

  37. #37
    Colorado-Cub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Thats Trent’s interpretation. I’m betting the AL Judge found that Trent flying closer than 500 feet to the neighbors home was not “necessary” for the operation.

    MTV
    I don't find your interpretation unreasonable. It would be interesting to see the actual wording of the findings, although I suspect we never will.
    Last edited by Colorado-Cub; 04-29-2022 at 02:44 PM. Reason: fix da#$ spelling
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    Paint scheme, 2" N numbers (if applicable) on the vertical stab JUST above the horizontal stab, don't linger, and Situational Awareness.
    Many pilots just "do stuff" without thinking.
    As SB says.........everyone has a cell phone and camera.
    It's our job to stay out of jail !
    "Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar"

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorado-Cub View Post
    Trent is presenting in his video the judge felt the landing was not necessary, thus weighted the decision to violate.
    Would you please provide a time stamp at which that was said. What I heard was "You didn't land so the landing exemption of 91.119 does not apply".
    Last edited by frequent_flyer; 04-29-2022 at 03:31 PM.

  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    Never forget, even with Administrative Law (executive department regulations), you still retain your 5th amendment right of not self incriminating. About 90% of FAA enforcement actions that result in penalties are due to self incriminating oneself. As stated above Deny, Deny, Deny! If the tower asks you to contact them when you land, park the plane and go home. Calling the tower is self incrimination. It is very hard to do, but never volunteer information.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

    Giving a false statement is a huge mistake. Giving ANY statement is a mistake. Do not deny. Just giving name and birthday (for identification purposes) is all you need to do. Should you want to belt and suspender, name, birthday, and I understand my rights and I choose not to give you a statement.

    The latter choice is what I would do.

    Nobody talks their way out of trouble. Nobody.

    Period. Hard stop.

    Sikorsky
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