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Where can you land a helicopter???


01CelicaGTS
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It's not a stupid question. The lack of knowledge in this subject has gotten more than a few pilots in serious trouble with the law.

 

There is no easy answer to the question. It all depends on the exact location. You need the Federal, State, Local, USFS, Zoning, etc all to line up with the stars. If you have a spot you'd like to land at, you need to start doing the research early and make sure you don't forget any agency or possible owner before you land. Just because the land owner says it's ok, doesn't mean you won't get into serious trouble with someone else.

 

Although it sounds like a lot of work, once you do it a few times, there's nothing to it. JUST BE SURE TO CHECK WITH EVERYONE!!!

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Many of the cities around here don't mind, however we did have to add a few as additional insured to get permission. Sometimes you contact the fire department, sometimes it is someone within city hall, other times they just don't care.

 

Calling city hall is the first step if you don't know where to start, someone there should be able to point you in the right direction.

 

And of course, you generally need the land owner's permission. We always get this in writing beforehand, just to make sure. It also gives us something to show the cops if they show up (it has happened).

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Many of the cities around here don't mind, however we did have to add a few as additional insured to get permission. Sometimes you contact the fire department, sometimes it is someone within city hall, other times they just don't care.

 

Calling city hall is the first step if you don't know where to start, someone there should be able to point you in the right direction.

 

And of course, you generally need the land owner's permission. We always get this in writing beforehand, just to make sure. It also gives us something to show the cops if they show up (it has happened).

 

 

...possible order of phone calls:

 

1 owner of property

2 insurance agent!...many policies have exclusions for "off airport" landings. One stupid glitch and you just bought the machine!

 

When you are EMS/LE/ENG they pretty much cover everything for you! as always, exercise good judgement

 

Cheers

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where can you land a helicopter?

 

 

Anywhere you want...once. Whether you ever fly or land again has a lot to do with what steps you take. In LA City limits for example, dont even think of it. In LA County, I landed last week multiple times just a few hundred yards from homes....invisible to them, but only a few hundred yards away !

 

Landing on private property is always trespassing unless you have prior permission. I have received permission over the years and I keep a business card of the owner in my logbook...just in case. Always call before, and if there is any type of traffic ( pedestrian, vehicle) you should have someone on the ground to increase safety.

 

In the urban areas it requires a bit of planning, in rural areas its a lot easier.

 

PS, most beaches have people. People constitute a congested area, which is not a good place to land..

 

Goldy

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Good timing i guess, I just seen this on yahoo news.

http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=848417

 

I guess i dont fully understand what all the fuss is all about?? So what, a helicopter landed, big whoop??

The problem is the property owner may care or may not care if you land there. But if someone

has a problem with it or there are laws or ordinances against it, YOU now have a problem.

It's called trespassing. There is a simple answer: don't land anywhere that you do not have permission and save your self a lot of grief.

Edited by helonorth
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Be very, very careful. I once had someone call the FAA and report that I had flown under a bridge. I was landing at a customer heliport on the Intracoastal Waterway, doing a crew change, with the bridge nearby. The FAA and the boss investigated, and he finally admitted that he hadn't seen me do it, but he didn't like helicopters and he thought I might do it, so he reported it. Fortunately I had a full load of pax every flight, who would attest that I hadn't. You can get in trouble landing anywhere you don't have prior permission, and sometimes even if you do. Do not land on beaches, ever. They're usually public property, regulated by the state, and usually not friendly to any vehicles. I've known of pilots being ticketed, and the helicopter seized, for landing on a beach. If it's not an approved helipad, you had better be very, very sure you have the proper permissions.

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What about some of the helipads/ports on top of restaurants and hotels in the LA vicinity and/or can fly to such as San Diego? I understand that there are some u can use, as I have heard through the rumor mill...but have looked this up specifically without much luck, so it must just be 'rumors' as mentioned? I'm sure that most of those pads/ports are for emergency evacuations. Or can they be used for landing and dinner with the wife?....(which sounds silly, I know. But let's use that as an example).

 

On another note, I talked at length with a guy from Guatemala, at the Robbie Safety Course a couple of weeks ago, who owns an R44 and lands everywhere he wants to...beaches, people's yards, hotels. Very different area. Lots of heli traffic out there too, he said.

 

thanks

 

derek

 

 

www.blenderpost.com

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In California you can not land on, or within 1000 feet of a K-12th grade school without a CalTrans Permit. It does not matter if you have permission or not from the school or the property owner. It also does not matter if school is in session or not, or if it is summer vacation. No permit = violation. That is probably why the coach could not land at the school. The only exception is for a lifeflight emergency evacuation. Police are NOT exempt. It also does not matter if it is a public or private school, size or number of students.

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It sucks that it seems more and more there are restrictions being put up to where you can land your ship. Its frustrating to me as a fixed wing pilot as well, I find it hard to justify flying the heli opposed to renting a 172 since I'm forced to land at an airport in both and other than being twice the price and having the ability to land off airport, a R44 isn't any different than a C172. I landed a R44 at an old abandoned dirt runway near the beach in northern california which happend to be on BLM land which happened to recently have been declared wilderness area and a hiker a half mile away happened to snap a picture of it and next thing I know I've earned myself a trip before a federal judge. Be careful and get permission and if you don't have it and land, hope no one is watching.

 

On a more positive note, I would hope we could use this forum as a place where people can share what they've learned about cool places to land legally. For instance, I've easily (one or two phone calls) been able to get permission to land at various auto racing tracks in CA, such as Laguna Seca in Monterey and Infineon Raceway in Napa, where they already have helipads established, its a cool way on non-busy race days to go watch qualifying or practice and the like.

 

Other people know specific restaurants, hotels, lodges where they'd welcome a heli on their lawn for a bit on the west coast please share.

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What about some of the helipads/ports on top of restaurants and hotels in the LA vicinity

 

 

We USED to have a couple of those we could land on....but not anymore. All closed, all private, most are emergency use only (FD, PD).

Goldy

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<snip> I landed a R44 at an old abandoned dirt runway near the beach in northern california which happend to be on BLM land which happened to recently have been declared wilderness area and a hiker a half mile away happened to snap a picture of it and next thing I know I've earned myself a trip before a federal judge. Be careful and get permission and if you don't have it and land, hope no one is watching. <snip>

 

Since I have a habit of landing on California dirt runways myself, which "abandoned" dirt runway was this?

 

FWIW, since cellphones with cameras are ubiquitous, always presume someone is watching, if not taking photos.

 

Fly safely.

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  • 1 month later...

it would be really nice if someone was able to create a complete list that covers all the prohibited places to land. Maybe HAI could do something like that. The ones I know about are Indian Reservations, Forest Service land, National Wildlife refuges, National Parks, Wilderness or a Wilderness Study area, all of which are in the AIM. I land at restaurants, hotels, tower sites, etc all over the state and have learned where and where not the hard way. In Colorado, only the City of Colorado Springs has a prohibition (excludes medevac) Of Course any military base would raise lots of questions. There are several hotels in Denver I land in their yard and stay there, they love it. Most of my work is SAR/LE related, so it helps when you know the Sheriff. We do land all on lands listed above on regular occaisons for rescues, but the Sheriff notifies the agency later to make sure they know. There have not been any problems, helps having the Sheriff with you!

 

The other city that raised a stink was Lubbock, TX.

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I've landed in my yard. All I had to do was contact the Sheriff and the Cleburne airport. The Sheriff just asked when I was going to land and advised me not to land before 8:00 am or after 10:00pm. We land on the Dallas Convention Center parking garage all the time, just have to contact DAL tower.

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YOU NEED TO READ THE FAA LEGAL INTERPRETATION OF CONGESTED AREA. ANY PLACE YOU LAND CAN BE A CONGESTED AREA IF PEOPLE "COULD" BE THERE.

 

WITH THAT SAID "YOU MAY BE ACCUSED OF CARELESS OR RECKLESS OPERATION NO MATTER WHERE YOU LAND IF THE FAA IS HAVING A BAD DAY!"

 

There is MULTIPLE cases of pilots being violated for landing in or around CONGESTED AREAS!

 

Be safe & have a nice day.

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One of the latest issue of AOPA Pilot had an article about "congested areas". It was geared toward low flying airplanes, but it could apply to us too. The judge said it depended on the locale, but mentioned the number "30 homes, buildings, structures, in the area." That doesn't sound very congested to me, but that's what he ruled.

 

Either way, the regs do not say we cannot land in a congested area. They do not set minimum altitudes for helicopters over congested areas either. But the words "congested area" could surely be brought into a careless & reckless case against you.

 

The golden rule, just use common sense. Don't land anywhere you don't have permission from the owner or somewhere that you're going to draw a lot of undue attention to yourself. Nothing is going to happen until someone complains. If you know you're going to have a complainer, do as much prep work as you can. Same goes for low flying.

 

But don't go out of your way to call the cops, mayor, etc, because if they say NO, you're screwed. It's legal, and they don't have the right to tell you NO, but since you asked...... Now, snub them and do it anyway? Ok, but they'll call the FAA on you, then pass an ordinance at the next meeting to make their point. We have 5 municipalities in St. Louis like that, but several spots therein that are grandfathered.

 

It's kind of like open carry of firearms in my state. It's legal, but a few municipalities prohibit it. It's perfectly legal for me to walk into Wal-Mart with a Glock on my hip, but it's going to draw a lot of attention and may get me a "disturbing the peace" charge and kicked out of the store if enough people complain. It will get in the newspaper and the city will pass an ordinance against it during the next session. So, CCW...but,

 

Just because things are out of the ordinary, people think they're illegal. If we start landing helicopters everywhere (or open carrying firearms everywhere) it will may become an accepted practice and not draw so much attention.

 

There were a few spots locally that people used to land at several times a week--just small fields next to restaurants. None of us ever had permission or called anyone, but we were there so often, nobody seemed to care or even look anymore. It was just normal to see a helicopter sitting there. I had a cop approach me once, grill me with a few questions, then told me it was "friggin' cool" and asked to sit in it.

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I landed a R44 at an old abandoned dirt runway near the beach in northern california which happend to be on BLM land which happened to recently have been declared wilderness area and a hiker a half mile away happened to snap a picture of it and next thing I know I've earned myself a trip before a federal judge. Be careful and get permission and if you don't have it and land, hope no one is watching.

Can you please keep us informed on the outcome of this?

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