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Thread: FAA Part 103.15 Congested areas?

  1. #11
    Tralika, wow. That’s unbelievable. I guess we’re all subject in that sort of case. Crazy.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinmanJones View Post
    FAA 103.15 Operations over congested areas.
    No person may operate an ultralight vehicle over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.

    Let me start by saying I’m new to Ultralight’s. Not new to flying, as I’ve been flying Cessna’s as part of obtaining my Private Pilots License.
    I’ve read the FAA 103 rules & had a question about “congested areas”. What is their (the FAA) definition of a congested area of a city, town, or settlement?
    My home airport is very close to our towns “Downtown” area. On Final you are flying right over downtown & over a neighborhood. The end of that runway is separated from a neighborhood street by a fence.
    This airport houses our local EAA chapter & has had UL traffic now for over 40 years. So, I’m assuming our town isn’t a congested area or this would’ve already been an issue.
    I’m just curious how you all view this 103.15 rule.
    Thanks for any clarity.
    First lets define UL as you use it. Confirm you are a legal FAR 103 operation. What other experimental aircraft do is no issue. You are not an experimental UL. There is no such thing you are either an experimental aircraft or an Ultralight Vehicle operating under CFR 14 - 103.

    Congested area depends on the vehicle you are flying. You need to operate such that there is no undue hazard to persons or property on the surface. IF in a paraglider you can land in the back yard without knocking over the BBQ I maintain that you are OK. If you fly over the railroad (no train) or the power lines with a 100 foot wide right of way, it is not a congested area.

    Reference post #9 - I have a photo of Lake Union that I say is congested for the typical floatplane. Doesn't mean I can't fly my UL over it cause I can ditch and stop in 50 feet. Multiple rescue boats would be another 50 feet away.

  3. #13
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    If the pilot's good, I mean if he's really sharp, he can barrel that thing in so low, oh it's a sight to see. You wouldn't expect it with a big ol' plane like a '52, but varrrooom! The jet exhaust frying chickens in the barnyard!

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jedi View Post
    First lets define UL as you use it. Confirm you are a legal FAR 103 operation. What other experimental aircraft do is no issue. You are not an experimental UL. There is no such thing you are either an experimental aircraft or an Ultralight Vehicle operating under CFR 14 - 103.

    Congested area depends on the vehicle you are flying. You need to operate such that there is no undue hazard to persons or property on the surface. IF in a paraglider you can land in the back yard without knocking over the BBQ I maintain that you are OK. If you fly over the railroad (no train) or the power lines with a 100 foot wide right of way, it is not a congested area.

    Reference post #9 - I have a photo of Lake Union that I say is congested for the typical floatplane. Doesn't mean I can't fly my UL over it cause I can ditch and stop in 50 feet. Multiple rescue boats would be another 50 feet away.
    Jedi,
    Your definition of a congested area makes sense. Unfortunately that definition is not in the regs. That means the definition remains completely subjective. The FAA will decide what it means on a case by case basis which is not good news for pilots.

  5. #15

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    I think you all are missing something here. I dont have the exact words or the reference to them, but there is a part that says, "except as necessary for takeoff and landing" you cant fly low over certain areas. If not this clause, no one could land at the many airports that are right in towns, like Houston Hobby, Dallas Love and Addison, Montgomery Field,Oshkosh and hundreds more, in Chicago, L A, Miami.Denver. etc.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 03-12-2018 at 08:37 PM.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood View Post
    I think you all are missing something here. I dont have the exact words or the reference to them, but there is a part that says, "except as necessary for takeoff and landing" you cant fly low over certain areas...
    That's in Part 91, which doesn't apply to ultralights. There is no such wording in Part 103.

  7. #17
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tralika View Post
    The NTSB upheld the violation. So, in absence of of a definition in the regs, you go to case law. Case law says that one house on ten acres is a congested area. If the FAA wants to violate you no this one your pretty much done.
    What case law.

    Actually, I think you misheard or the lawyer misspoke. I don't think there is any "case law" on congested airspace. What is true with regulations in general is that if the regulation needs interpretation, the ALJ an then the NTSB and even the district court must defer to the agency that wrote the regulation for the interpretation. Yes, it's a digusting miscarriage of the checks and balances of the Constitution but it's not limited to the FAA regulations.

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