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Flyby!


nightsta1ker

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So while I was sending my holiday messages out this morning I hear a helicopter fly over, I didn't think much about it except that it sounded low. Then I realized I could still hear it, and it's getting louder, so I run outside. A friend of mine from work is doing his commercial training and he and his instructor were buzzing my house! What a great way to drop by and say hi!

 

I do love this community and the friendships I have made are priceless. Warm holiday wishes to you all!

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A friend of mine from work is doing his commercial training and he and his instructor were buzzing my house! What a great way to drop by and say hi!

 

What a way to get a suspension of his certificate and to risk damaging his career, just to say "hi."

 

Priceless, alright.

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What a way to get a suspension of his certificate and to risk damaging his career, just to say "hi."

 

Priceless, alright.

 

There's always one!

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What a way to get a suspension of his certificate and to risk damaging his career, just to say "hi."

 

Priceless, alright.

 

How exactly do you get that there was a violation from Sta1ker's post? It's aways nice when your friends stop by at 800 ft to say hi. Lighten up and happy thanksgiving!

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It's aways nice when your friends stop by at 800 ft to say hi.

 

800' is "buzzing," and "low?"

 

"...I didn't think much about it except that it sounded low...he and his instructor were buzzing my house!"

 

Buzzing at 800? Low? No. I know people personally who have been violated for posting foolishly on web boards such as this. Inspectors read this too, and I've known several who would go far, far out of their way to connect the dots and see someone violated. I've seen it done.

 

Posting a question about a regulation? Fine. Posting about violations of the regulation and crowing about it? Not very smart.

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Without a HATR filed or the inspector personally seeing the story that was posted on a forum happen, I don't think a violation would hold much weight or credibility, since the poster could just claim they were simply expanding their own ego and street cred by posting a false story to impress some young lady friend... After all if it's posted on the internet it must be true RIGHT...

 

I know of a facility where the airport managers office and ac owners hanger is buzzed @ 500agl each time an s76 arrives... The guys been doing it for years, everyone knows it, no one complains and the regional faa inspector was on site once when it happened... The inspector visited the guys hanger checked out all the aircraft and toys in the hanger and told the pilot how nice everything was and to have a nice day... No slap on the wrist, verbal warning or violation...

 

Now could you do something a little different at the same airfield and end up with a violation, yep and that's why every situation is different...

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Inspectors read this too,

 

Just wanted to highlight this point. You would be amazed at the people that read this board, and yet do not post...I've gotten several emails over the years from some well known names following up on something posted.

 

Flyby's can be done according to the FAR's or in total disregard of them......it's not all about altitude...its the mix of suitable landing sites, what's under you. altitude, airspeed, etc....all the things that make a flight safe or reckless.....

 

Back to the OP, Happy Thanksgiving.

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A low flyby doesn't equal a violation.

 

No, it doesn't. I do low flyby's for a living. However, the original poster already described it as a low buzz job by a friend and an instructor.

 

Flying low isn't against the CFR, and neither does flying by persons or property. It can very quickly become an issue of 14 CFR 91.13, however, and contrary to what some might think, it does happen.

 

I've known people to lose jobs over what they've written on the internet. I've known it to lead to FAA investigations.

 

I knew an individual some years ago who gave a talk in his church, and he illustrated that talk with what he thought was an innocent example of giving a friend a ride somewhere. The individual was a private pilot, and in the congregation that day was an inspector. The inspector caught up with the kid in the foyer and told the kid he would be beginning enforcement action for a violation of 61.113(a). The kid left in tears.

 

I happened to be at the FSDO not long after that and listened from the next cubicle as the inspector took a call regarding a private pilot who gave a friend a ride and didn't pay pro rata. The tip-off, I believe, came from a local 135 operator, as often does, not happy about having missed out on a potential charter.

 

"I'm not going to just make an example of him." The inspector said. "I'm going to rip his heart, beating, out of his chest, and hold it up, bleeding, for all the world to see. I'm going to make him sorry he was ever born, and I'm going to ruin his life."

 

I've had personal interactions with inspectors who will go out of their way to do it, too. Why would someone be foolish enough to post about a violation, or enough to entice someone to look into a violation of the regulation, on an open, public forum? One needs to ask the same question about those foolish enough to post things on facebook and other sites that eventually get back to employers (and others). Not very smart. Chalk it up to the young unwise generation of naivety that's rising today.

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If anyone was going to rain on the parade it would be you Avbug. How could you possibly come to such a snap judgment without any details? You just like to speak down to people don't you? I never said what height they were and what I consider low may be different from what you consider low. What would you consider an unsafe height to fly over someones house? I'm not giving you any more details for you to gnaw at but I will say that my friend and his instructor did not do ANYTHING wrong or illegal. I don't even think the neighbors noticed they were there as I was the only one who went outside to look and the neighbor across from me who happened to be getting his paper didn't even look up. My friends just took the time to say hi and I thought that was cool and decided to share. And you have found a way to turn that into a criticism? You are a character. I find a lot of your posts very informative, interesting, even enlightening, until you get up on your high horse. I really don't know what your deal is sometimes.

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What would you consider an unsafe height to fly over someones house?

 

Irrelevant, but the FAA is quite clear on the matter. There's no way that minimum heights specified in the regulation (and interpretations thereof) could ever be considered "low" or "buzzing."

 

Your language. Not mine.

 

My friends just took the time to say hi and I thought that was cool and decided to share.

 

Yes, you did, by describing their effort as low buzzing. You can backpedal now, but it doesn't change the fact. Then again, flying over with a legal minimum distance wouldn't have been nearly as interesting as your first post, would it?

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I'm not backpedaling. Not at all. You are simply trying to take a relative term and make it specific. Given the conditions, location, altitude above ground, airspeed, type of aircraft, instructor skill level, and ground environment, the flyby was perfectly safe as well as legal. If they had come over my house at, say, 200 feet, I would not have posted, and would probably have called my friend and chewed his butt for being reckless. Remember I am an instructor too and I have my reputation and rating on the line. Why would I post something that I thought was reckless unless it was my intention to criticize them? Helicopter pilots in this area routinely fly at altitudes below what my friend and his instructor "buzzed" my house at today. Once again, I'm not backpedaling, just clarifying. there was nothing illegal or unsafe. In fact, I would trust my life to that instructor. I've flown with him and he is top notch. I have flown with some of the most respected and highly regarded instructors in the helicopter industry and have seen them do things that were more controversial than what was done over my house today.

 

I do understand your ultimate point. I am well aware that there are inspectors out there that have an axe to grind. I am well acquainted with the guys at the local FSDO and have a good rapport with them. I'm really not worried about it. To sum this all up, you are off your base. Let it go and have a happy thanksgiving.

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Given the conditions, location, altitude above ground, airspeed, type of aircraft, instructor skill level, and ground environment, the flyby was perfectly safe as well as legal.

 

So it wasn't low then, and it wasn't buzzing. Got it. Your original statement then, wasn't correct, just your more recent ones. Got it. You're not backpedaling. You simply didn't speak correctly at the outset. Understood.

 

To sum this all up, you are off your base. Let it go and have a happy thanksgiving.

 

Off base? Perhaps you shouldn't open with a lie. That would be off base (as opposed to back pedaling). Thanksgiving is over.

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I used to live in a house that was patrolled almost nightly by a police helicopter at an altitude that allowed me to call their noise footprint loud enough as to be declared "buzzing". I didn't complain, and if anyone else did it was to no effect. One person's definition of buzzing can be entirely different than another's. I am not aware of any official use of the term in the FAR's. Any one of you who wants to "buzz" my house is welcome to do so, I will wave to you as you fly by and count myself lucky to be in the land of the free and the home of the brave that I and others have served to allow that right to be exercised.

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I used to live in a house that was patrolled almost nightly by a police helicopter at an altitude that allowed me to call their noise footprint loud enough as to be declared "buzzing". I didn't complain, and if anyone else did it was to no effect. One person's definition of buzzing can be entirely different than another's. I am not aware of any official use of the term in the FAR's. Any one of you who wants to "buzz" my house is welcome to do so, I will wave to you as you fly by and count myself lucky to be in the land of the free and the home of the brave that I and others have served to allow that right to be exercised.

 

Exactly. If an inspector wants to accuse someone of "buzzing", I'd say where's that definition in the FARs. If you operate a Part 91 aircraft then you simply have to be able to land if the engine fails. To say this particular aircraft couldn't land without undue hazard to persons or property would be pure assumption. It's called a low level auto and every helicopter pilot should be able to do it. Only violation these guys could be charged with, is if their company has a minimum altitude like mine. To try and enforce Part 91.13 on a helicopter would be a stretch. Just because an inspector accuses someone of a violation doesn't mean they are found guilty either.

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What is doing CVI's and patrols on powerlines through built up areas at levels lower than 150ft considered then? Just wondering, hypothetically, supposedly, theoretically, on the assumption, pertaining to!!!!

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If you operate a Part 91 aircraft then you simply have to be able to land if the engine fails.

 

Wrong.

 

Only violation these guys could be charged with, is if their company has a minimum altitude like mine.

 

Unless its an opspec minimum as issued to a certificate holder, then your company requirements are irrelevant to the regulation and won't be considered by the FAA.

 

To try and enforce Part 91.13 on a helicopter would be a stretch.

 

You're unaware that 91.13, Careless or Reckless Operation, is the most commonly used regulation when pursuing enforcement action against pilots? It's the FAA's favorite, as it can be attached to nearly any action.

 

Insofar as minimum altitudes, there's a big difference between an instructional flight approaching and overflying low and "buzzing" as described by the original poster, and an aircraft working, inspecting power lines.

 

Insofar as built-up areas, the FAA has previously held that very small quantities of persons or properties are enough to constitute a built-up area, for the purposes of separation between an aircraft and persons or property on the ground. You might be surprised.

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Wrong.

 

 

 

Unless its an opspec minimum as issued to a certificate holder, then your company requirements are irrelevant to the regulation and won't be considered by the FAA.

 

 

 

You're unaware that 91.13, Careless or Reckless Operation, is the most commonly used regulation when pursuing enforcement action against pilots? It's the FAA's favorite, as it can be attached to nearly any action.

 

Insofar as minimum altitudes, there's a big difference between an instructional flight approaching and overflying low and "buzzing" as described by the original poster, and an aircraft working, inspecting power lines.

 

Insofar as built-up areas, the FAA has previously held that very small quantities of persons or properties are enough to constitute a built-up area, for the purposes of separation between an aircraft and persons or property on the ground. You might be surprised.

 

Who cares what's a congested area and what isn't? You are aware 91.119 b and c don't apply to helicopters right? If they did, then the 12 yrs of flying NOE that I did in the Army was completely illegal. As far as my opspecs. They are relevant because they mirror 135 mins of 300 ft over a congested area. Of course that's irrevlevant to this case because they aren't doing on demand, air taxi, charter operations.

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So it wasn't low then, and it wasn't buzzing. Got it. Your original statement then, wasn't correct, just your more recent ones. Got it. You're not backpedaling. You simply didn't speak correctly at the outset. Understood.

 

 

 

Off base? Perhaps you shouldn't open with a lie. That would be off base (as opposed to back pedaling). Thanksgiving is over.

 

 

What do you consider low? What do you consider "buzzing"? I asked you this earlier and you said it was irrelevant. Yet you continue to throw it back in my face. Give me some definitions to work with here. If we can agree on definitions of the words used, then we can determine if my opening statement was a lie or not. Until then, you are off base by making the accusation that I was lying, as well as off base by assuming that the flight was conducted unsafely.

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What do you consider low? What do you consider "buzzing"? I asked you this earlier and you said it was irrelevant.

 

I did, didn't I? I was correct.

 

I'm still correct.

 

What I think of as low is irrelevant, for several reasons. I'm not the one of whom you should be concerned regarding enforcement action. I'm not the one who introduced your friend as "low" or as "buzzing." You did that, although now you assure us that it wasn't low and it wasn't buzzing. Perhaps you simply misspoke.

 

Low to me is looking up at fence posts and power lines, but again, it's irrelevant to the purposes of this discussion.

 

The FAA, of course, has addressed the matter on many occasions, and has taken enforcement action against aviators on many occasions. The matter is well established.

 

As for buzzing...I wouldn't use that word at all. Particularly in a public forum, as it's a foolish use. You used it, however, and I'm not at all surprised. You said your friend buzzed you. You said he was low.

 

 

Yet you continue to throw it back in my face.

 

I do, don't I? Yet you continue to backpedal or try to skate out of your words. The problem is that you've contradicted yourself several times now, and the bottom line is that you've said your friend was low and buzzed you, then backtracked to say he wasn't low and didn't buzz you. One of the two statements is correct. One is not. Again, perhaps you misspoke, but you were too busy with your original post trying to sensationalize the event with the sound growing louder and louder, the footprint sounding different than any other aircraft approaching your place...this one had your attention and there he was! Your buddy. On thanksgiving. Giving you a low buzz job.

 

Give me some definitions to work with here.

 

The FAA has already done that. That's all that really counts here. Given that you describe the event as "low" and a "buzz" job and then go on to tell us that it was at least above 800', you've either got a really skewed idea of both terms, have no idea what your'e talking about, are backpedaling, or simply didn't tell the truth. Let's just call it embellishment and say you were in error the first time, shall we?

 

If we can agree on definitions of the words used, then we can determine if my opening statement was a lie or not. Until then, you are off base by making the accusation that I was lying, as well as off base by assuming that the flight was conducted unsafely.

 

If you think that 800'+ is "low" or "buzzing" then we're not going to agree on any definitions. The FAA has it well in hand, however, and the Chief Legal Counsel has addressed it many times, as have various GADO's, FSDO's, and regions as they've pursued enforcement action.

 

I simply posted to suggest that you'd be wise to keep your trap shut when announcing your friends activities as low buzz jobs, but you couldn't take some friendly counsel and leave it alone, so here we are...you having either lied at the outset, or having lied to cover up your initial error. I don't really care which is which.

 

Who cares what's a congested area and what isn't?

 

The FAA. It's their definition and also their chief legal counsel addressing the matter, after all.

 

You are aware 91.119 b and c don't apply to helicopters right? If they did, then the 12 yrs of flying NOE that I did in the Army was completely illegal.

 

Wrong. How can you possibly misunderstand that? I have several decades of low altitude experience, too...and there's a place for it, and there are places where it's not appropriate. Flying an approach to a fire drop...no problem. Spraying a field. No problem. Doing low buzz jobs to people at their houses, or on a beach, or in other environments where there is no reason to be doing that can certainly be a problem.

 

As far as my opspecs. They are relevant because they mirror 135 mins of 300 ft over a congested area. Of course that's irrevlevant to this case because they aren't doing on demand, air taxi, charter operations.

 

So...you're not a 135 operation, and therefore have no OpSpecs. You're right. It is irrelevant, which is what I told you before...as is your experience in the army, and my personal opinion of what constitutes low flight or a "buzz" job. Also as I already correctly said. Go figure.

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avbug, everything that you say is pure speculation. Once again you can't deny the fact that 91.119 b and c don't apply to helicopters. Fact. There was no undue hazard to persons or property on the ground. To claim that there was would be another speculation based on there is no evidence that any hazard existed. I am authorized to fly as low as 300 ft over a congested area. . Does that mean when I fly over a town that's "buzzing?" To be found guilty of 91.13 the FAA would have to investigate based on several factors and not just because one person says it was a buzz job. At what altitude does flying over houses in a helicopter go from being legal to being a violation of 91.13? I don't know and you don't either.

 

Only thing these guys possibly violated is flying neighborly. Even then, then noise of a piston helicopter is far less than what people experience around a major airport. I personally avoid flying over populated areas simply because most people see GA as an annoyance. While what these guys did was most likely an annoyance, we have no clue if it was a FAR violation

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To be found guilty of 91.13 the FAA would have to investigate based on several factors and not just because one person says it was a buzz job.

 

The testimony of that post would be enough. You, as with most people, don't apparently understand administrative law, particularly enforcement action. You're more familiar with the UCMJ, or civil law, or even criminal law. The FAA operates under administrative law, and one does NOT have the presumption of innocence.

 

When the FAA prefers enforcement action, one is guilty until proven innocent. One has the right to respond to an investigative letter, but does not have the opportunity to contest the action until after it's been taken. After one has been the subject of enforcement action, then and ONLY then can one appeal.

 

Often the only evidence that the FAA has to support their action in an appeal is a rental record, or a single sentence uttered by the pilot over the radio. It may be nothing more than asking one person "did you see?" It may be a statement on a board like this, followed up with substantiation of the helicopter and it's occupants, easily obtained from flight school records, rental records, and verified by logbook entries and endorsements, etc. The clincher to many cases is little more than the pilot himself responding to the letter of investigation. He may proclaim his innocence, but it's his statement that he was there that is all that's needed. In lieu of that, numerous other sources can be used to put him at the scene.

 

A friend who posts on a public board that his buddy did a low buzz job isn't much of a friend.

 

At what altitude does flying over houses in a helicopter go from being legal to being a violation of 91.13? I don't know and you don't either.

 

What one is doing, and one's purpose in doing it plays a big part of that. If one is flying over looking at powerlines in the course of one's employment, acting contrary to the scope and nature of that employment might constitute careless or reckless operation, whereas flying low would not. A flight instructor "buzzing" a buddy and "flying low" to do it isn't consistent with the nature of instruction nor a necessary part of that instructor's job, and regardless of the intent of the student, could come back to haunt the instructor and the school.

 

I once watched a young man "buzz" a group of people at an airport. The occasion was a banner pickup in a light airplane, when the airplane was supposed to fly low, because it was picking up a banner. I was present when the FAA inspector who witnessed the event told the banner operation to can the pilot or he'd shut them down. The event was a buzz job. It wasn't a low banner pickup, and the inspector knew the difference.

 

The original poster apparently can't tell the difference between "low" and 800.' Either that, or he's not being truthful. Far better that he'd simply exercised better judgement in the first place.

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From an aviation lawyer:

 

Who has the burden of proof?

 

 

 

The FAA. In

 

short, the FAA is required to establish by a preponderance

 

of the evidence that each element of the

 

charged violation(s) has been proven. While this

 

may be the lowest evidentiary standard in the law

 

(the highest standard is the beyond-a-reasonabledoubt

 

standard used in criminal proceedings),

 

you’re still innocent until proven guilty.

Like I said the FAA has to investigate the "alleged violation" by obtaining all relevant info. It's on the FAA's shoulders to prove there indeed was a violation. The pilot also has many rights as to what private info the inspectors may obtain and they also allowed to see any evidence obtained against them.

Once again there is no proof of a violation in this case. Also, I'm curious. If the aircraft flew over his house at 500 ft, is that a violation?

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