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HLA Designee


Flying Pig
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Ive been looking around my field for something interesting to offer of than a listing of what LE agencies hire civilian R22 pilots. So I thought of this, and how it might interest those here in CA specifically. Sorry you out of staters......although feel free to participate :D Although your states may or may not have something similar.

 

http://www.dot.ca.go...school_auth.htm

 

In CA, Public Utility Code 21662.5 Public Utilities Code (PUC) Section 21662.5 states, in part, that, with limited exemptions, “no helicopter may land or depart in any area within 1,000 feet, measured by air line, of the boundary of any public or private school maintaining kindergarten classes or any classes in grades 1 through 12, without approval of the department [i.e., Caltrans].”

 

So... in CA you cannot land a helicopter at or within 1000' of a K-12 school unless its an emergency. I do not work for CALTrans but I am a state HLA Designee (Helicopter Landing Authorization) There are only 2 actual CALTrans designees who have the responsibility to do this. Since those two cannot possibly be all over the state everyday, they have sworn LE officers who can also certify that an LZ is safe for a landing. In order to be certified to do it you have to be a sworn LE officer and you attend an 8 hour course. Not many LE's attend the training, its voluntary, and unless an LE officer is in an Air Unit, they probably arent going to have any idea about the program. I dont recall if you have to be a pilot or not. I think you have to at least have a Private.

 

So whenever we do school programs where we land and talk to kids, if an EMS company wants to land and do a simulated DUI crash for the "Every 15 minutes" campaign you have to contact CalTrans, arrange for a survey to be done and that survey has to be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the event. You just need to ask, the HLA designee will do the rest. If you know an LEO that is a Designee, you can ask them directly as well. However, remember that the Designee is does not have any obligation to grant the landing, or do the survey for you. They could tell you that they want you to contact CALTrans, who would then have to come down personally and do it. Keep in mind, the Designee is part of the liability chain when they do the HLA. We do the training and certification for our use in house. We chose on our own, with our agencies permission to do it for other operators.

 

Our local EMS company calls over and bribes us with T-Shirts which works OK by me :D

 

I have seen a few incidents where helicopters have landed at schools without one for some event, or a flight school doing a career day where the helicopter landed in a park. No problem, but that park was across the street from an Elementary school. So you need a survey done. Same scenario, but landed at a community college for an event without a survey. Why? Its a college. Well, you forgot about the separate Continuation High School that is located on the college campus!!!

 

The surveys are very simple. They can be a little involved but usually take about 45 minutes to complete once I have the measurements I need.

 

Yeah..... its not very exciting reading, but I can guarantee getting your license yanked probably is way more exciting!! And when it comes to our little ones..... "I didnt know" is NOT the phrase of the day :D

Edited by Flying Pig
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I have seen a few incidents where helicopters have landed at schools without one for some event, or a flight school doing a career day where the helicopter landed in a park. No problem, but that park was across the street from an Elementary school. So you need a survey done

 

So, how would a flight school (or anyone not in LE) know that this exists? Is it in the FAR/AIM somewhere?
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Its a CA specific law so it would not be in the FAR. If you were going to land at a K-12 school you SHOULD be contacting the school administrator for permission I would hope. That administrator would or should know the requirement. Although, as they say, "Ignorance of the law is not a defense."

 

 

A little background on the law. A politician was at a high school football game where the local LE agency delivered the game ball via helicopter. WAAAY cool right!?? Not if your a politician looking to put your name on something. The said politician (who was not a pilot) decided it appeared unsafe and wanted to know what precautions were in place to prevent or mitigate any accidents. When it was learned that there were no graphs, pie charts, studies, research, submitted in triplicate to a competent authority he was horrified. Thus..... the birth of this law. Thank Goodness..... imagine the horror of pilots landing in football fields all willy nilly without some cop doing a site survey prior! Wheeeew..... the countless children's lives that have been saved :D

Edited by Flying Pig
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Ive never seen that for a school. But who knows. Maybe its specific to each FSDO. Have they accepted that to actually land at a school during school hours?

 

 

Some jobs were done on school grounds off-hours. Others were done during school hours within Caltrans 1,000’ limit, but far enough away to comply with the FAA CAP.

 

As an example, a warehouse 450 feet behind the school, for most helicopters using a 100’ long line, would comply with the CAP; however, that’s technically within Caltrans 1,000’ limit.

 

It’s easy enough for the Caltrans inspector to see from the FAA approved CAP that the lift could be conducted safely, so they didn’t necessarily walk each site.

Edited by iChris
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All joking aside though...

 

Thats why having a pretty decent amount of common sense is crucial to being a professional pilot. CFIs need to be aware not only of their FARs but also state and local laws and ordinances. If you are asked to do something out of the ordinary, chances are, there is a reason your brain paused for a second and said "hmmmm..." In law enforcement we call that a clue!

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I dont recall if you have to be a pilot or not.

 

No pilot requirement. We have a few local Deputies who were formally TFO’s who are currently listed as CalTrans authorized HLA surveyors. While I’ve been a surveyor for many years, I quite often run into pilots who’ve [admittedly] violated the code. Plus, without getting to specific, many municipalities have ordinances not only against helicopter landings but aircraft over-flight as well. Usually a 500 feet AGL or below restriction. These are citable ordinances just like a traffic ticket issued while driving a car. The best methods to avoid such hassles is just know where you are flying and understand, not all open space lands are considered “private property”. Some are government owned and monitored.

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