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Old 07-10-2008, 10:20 AM   #1  
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Default landing other than at a airport

Rather than landing on a airport, can you land a plane on the beach, a field, or just any open space legally ? This is a non-emergency and not anywhere near people or property and wouldn't be careless/reckless.
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:17 PM   #2  
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I don't know of any requirement that an airstrip be "officially designated" as such in order to be used. But there are numerous gotchas that come to mind...

- Private Property: You would need permission, and this probably includes government land.

- Government Land (including parks): There may be rules, prohibitions, or permission required.

- Roads are private or government property.

If you have permission, and comply with all FAR's about all available information (Area Forcast, pre-visit or overfly the site) you might be OK.

However, I suspect that if anything went wrong due to unsuitable terrain conditions, critters, etc that the FAA would get you for 91.13 (careless and reckless).
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:35 PM   #3  
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It was a helicopter and not an airplane, but I knew an instructor who regularly set down his Robinson R-22 on clients' properties which in some cases were parking lots on the commercial strip. He said he was questioned a time or two by LE but never received any flack.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:42 AM   #4  
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We have customers fly into our corporate headquarters from time to time (in helicopters). There's a large grassy area that has more than enough room/flat space to a safe landing.

What you do need to research is local and state ordinances (such as noise and aircraft operations within a city or municipal area).

Some states consider certain roads to be "free use" areas. I don't know if it's still the case, but in North Dakota, rural state roads were once free to use as runways as long as pilots exercised due caution, pre-surveyed their intended landing site (from the ground) and flew over prior to landing to ensure that there are no people/objects on the road. I believe the same is true of Alaska.

Bear in mind also that you will need permission (written is the best kind) from any private property owner. I would personally carry that permission along with me if I were to land off airport just in case you were to be questioned by any LEO's or FAA folk).
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:24 PM   #5  
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Also, you had better check the fine print of your insurance policy...just in case.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:10 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by Charley 2 View Post
Also, you had better check the fine print of your insurance policy...just in case.
Good point!
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:49 AM   #7  
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Although it may be convenient to land somewhere other then an airport/airstrip it may not always be the smartest/safest thing to do...

Like you mentioned the beach. I guess it would depend on the aircraft, and if you had an aquatic plane and we're going to land on the water that could make sense. Since you said the actual beach, that makes me think your talking about landing on the sand.

Landing on a terrain like sand will likely cause your tires to sink to right in. This isn't all that bad for landing, but when you are ready to leave it could make getting enough speed for take off really difficult.

Also, you mentioned you would do it when no kids/people were around. That is good, but it doesn't mean that kids were not there earlier in the day or the day before. If some kids dug a big two foot hole, and then you came down for a landing and your nose wheel happened to fall into a hole like that, it could probably ruin your day.

Assuming none of that happened, and you nailed a perfect landing you would still have to worry about your propeller. Unless you landed right at the waters edge where the sand is always wet (which is never flat so you'd have to land on an incline), your propeller would start a massive sand storm which throw sand particles into your air filter and all of your vents...

I'd say the beach just isn't a good idea
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:12 AM   #8  
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There is a beach in WA state that is actually an airport....

AirNav: S16 - Copalis State Airport
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:21 PM   #9  
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We used to land C207's on the beach in AK to pick up fish totes. fun but tricky, has to be just right between the wet and dry stuff.
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:59 PM   #10  
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generally the difference between helo and airplane off-airport operation is the minimum safe altitude differences. The FAA isn't exactly lax on the definition of MSA... even though FAR 91.119 specifically states that "except when necessary for take-off and landing", the FAA could disagree... even if bush pilots do it all of the time. I'd just call the FSDO give them the senario/place and ask.
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