#14 Operation without HAZARD to PERSONS or PROPERTY on the surface

Feb 07, 2019

91.119 Operation without HAZARD to PERSONS or PROPERTY on the surface...

Hey, it's Kenny with Helicopter Online Ground School.  This one is for a member. I want to give you his exact question because if he took the time to email me, I'm sure that many of you have the same question, and this is something that you got to know whether you're just getting into this or you're a commercially rated pilot doing 135 check checkride.

#14 Operation without HAZARD to PERSONS or PROPERTY on the surface

Every examiner asks this question, and I'm just going to tell you what his question is here, and then we're going to hit the FAR/AIM real quick and tell you exactly what it says so you understand it better. He said, "Kenny, this kind of goes hand-to-hand with the where can we land question that you made a video about. Thank you, but it didn't address many of my questions. If we're expected to maintain a 500 foot AG altitude, where can this be broken for take-off and landing without evoking the wrath of local, federal municipalities, governments, FAA, et cetera?

"For a good example, you mentioned wanting to land on your property but you still have to fly over many other properties at less than 500 feet. Which would seem to have issues, problems that add on to fixed wing pilots, and or heli's at airports don't need to think about." Okay, so great question. Since I didn't hit it and make people completely understand. First, it's not about the big bad FAA, right? I'm telling you if you're doing things by the book and you're being as safe as you can, it's almost always going to go okay with the FAA if somebody complains.

So here's the deal. This is 91.119. Luckily I had good instructors when I started out many years ago because they made me tab this into the FAR/AIM and said, "Hey you got to tab this one because the examiner is going to ask." So I've done the same with my students over the years. A student has never went to a check ride that I've sent, that didn't have this tabbed in his FAR/AIM.

So this is 91.119, minimum safe altitude general, except when necessary for takeoff and landing. So there's the first part. There's an exception for takeoff and landing. This is general for everyone. No person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes. So they have anywhere, so this is for everybody, an altitude allowing if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazards to persons or property on the surface.

#14 Operation without HAZARD to PERSONS or PROPERTY on the surface

For anyone, anywhere you have to be looking at the performance of your aircraft, glide distance, what's below you. You're always taking in consideration of if the engine quits, can I get to the ground safely? Airplane, helicopter, doesn't matter, this is for everybody. Then there's two more parts and then a third part for helicopters that's really important. You have the next is over congested areas, that's B, and then other than congested areas, or over other congested areas, and I'm not going to read those to you. Those are B and C, but these are talking about a 1000 feet above, 500 feet, blah, blah, blah.

Let's go to the next one. This is what's important. Helicopters, there's always, almost always an exception for helicopters in the reg's. Anytime you're looking something up, you've got to look at the FAR/AIM does it say aircraft? Does it say airplane? Does it say helicopter? So in this, this is helicopter, a helicopter may be operated at less than the minimum subscribed in B and C. Okay (affirmative). So you can go lower than what they're listing, and what's there for a lot of fixed wing stuff. Helicopter may be operated at less than the minimum is prescribed in BNC. This section, provides each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitude, specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA, and then there's something added there for powered parachutes. So bottom line. You can operate the helicopter anywhere as long as you're being safe. Okay, you're checking the area, whether it's an airport, you know as a pilot in command, you have to know everything about that airport.

If you're going to go land somewhere off airport, same deal. You've got to research it and make sure you understand everything going on. You've checked on local ordinances, so on and so forth. Other than that, can you go fly over an open field where there's nothing, not even any crops in flight 50 feet above the ground. Sure you could if you're not in a restricted or prohibited area. If you're over an open area, there's no danger to anything below you. I'm going to give you an example. One place I worked, we got to fly boat races. One of the coolest thing I've ever done in a helicopter. So we're out over boats or over the great big Lake, and we're chasing boats all over the place, flying fast. Now we're being careful not to fly over persons or property, but we're over the water.

We did this all the time and companies do it all over the world. So we're doing this, the company I was working for, sells to a guy, a new owner takes over, he's a cool guy, but he'd been working on his private airplane for like 30 years. Still wasn't rated, didn't know the helicopter reg's. And shortly after he takes over the company, one day he comes out to me on the ramp. He was like, Hey! There's this guy calling down here, and you guys fly up and down the lake shore, and he's really mad and he's a commercial airline pilot and he called the FAA. I'm like, calm down. This guy calls the FAA all the time. And I said, all of us, everybody operating helicopters, in this area we all travel along the lake shore through there. We're not overflying people on the beach, we're not overflying boats or we're not doing anything dangerous.

We're doing this safely. And once I kind of schooled him on it, he's like, okay(affirmative). And I go, this guy calls all the time and understand. So once we kind of explained to him how it works after that was no problem. I mean, everybody did it and none of us was breaking any reg's. We knew what we could do. So it boils back to understanding where you're going, checking on ordinances, and things like that. But as far as taking off and landing, sure on a helicopter sometimes, like in his question, "Well, what about flying over people's homes?" Well I'm going to do a video here soon. I'm going to come in and actually use my backyard and we'll do some filming. Put some cameras up inside and outside. But, when I come in, I'm going to come over a channel. I'm not going over somebody's house.

#14 Operation without HAZARD to PERSONS or PROPERTY on the surface

When I take off I see where the winds are, normally wind is out of the Southwest. Then when I take off I'm going to go that way. I might overfly a few houses, but I'm not going to fly 10 feet over their house. I'm still going to use my best course when I'm leaving to what street could I go to? What open field could I go to? So, I've always kind of told students in this way. The reg, almost, you could look at it kind of like the FAA gives you a lot of leeway to hang yourself, because they're allowing you to operate the helicopter pretty low. If you have an engine failure, something happens and you hit a wire, you hit a pole, you hit somebody's house, they're going to say you were too low.

So they give an exception for helicopters and they allow us to fly pretty low. It's still your duty to understand what the regulation says and to do everything the best, safest possible way. So I hope that clears up a question and that was from Mark. So thank you Mark for asking that because again, in the last two weeks I've done two short videos on off airport landings and people complain to the FAA and I want to say one more time, The FAA is always going to be reasonable. If you're doing everything by the book, and you're checking your performance for the day, and you've checked the area where you're going to be landing, and you're using the best possible scenario to get in and out. Then, if you think something is a little hinky, don't do it. Even in one flying helicopter EMS, many, many times you would fly to a scene firemen on the ground or law enforcement have set up a landing area.

A lot of times they set up what they think is a really good landing site. As pilot in command you show up and you circle two or three times and you're looking at the area. It was very common that we would say, because you're always communicating with the people on the ground or unsure you couldn't land. That was a 135 reg so you check it out. It was common that we would say, communicate with the people on the ground. Say, Hey, we see your spot, but we see a problem with a tower or we see a problem with a wire. There's a parking lot just about a quarter mile down the road. We want to meet you down there. Can you just move the ambulance down there? We'll land and meet you there. So always boils back to you as pilot in command.

Doing what's safe. The 500 feet thing. That is a general rule. We say for helicopter during the day, a general safe rule is 500 feet for helicopter. At night, a general safe rule is a 1000 feet. That's general safe rule. There isn't a rule that says a helicopter has to stay 500 feet above on the ground. And again, there's an exception for takeoff and landing in there too. So Mark, hope that answers the question a little bit better. Subscribe to the channel. Click the little bell when you do subscribe so you can get notifications. We're doing these daily videos. People are emailing every day, they're enjoying it. We do them quick, hit a lot of things people want to know about. Clarify things like this. So this one, I guarantee you're going to get asked on any check ride and you need to know it to be a safe and prudent pilot.

So mark it in you're FAR/AIM manual no. 91.119 if you're using an iPad or you're using your smartphone. Understand this reg because every single check ride you ever take in your life, the examiners are going to ask.

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If it's not right for you, we part as friends. You're welcome back anytime. So hope this answered some questions for some people asking about the taking off and landing, and what can I do, and is FAA going to come after me? Always do what the regulations say. Always do as much research as possible. Always use the best course of action in and out when you're landing somewhere. Fly neighborly. Just use common sense. A lot of being a helicopter pilot or an air fixed wing pilot, whatever. A lot of the things really is common sense. Of course, we have to know the reg's, but don't forget the common sense part of it. So give us a like and share. Put your comments down below. I want to hear your takeoff and landing stories, good and bad, things you've experienced, things you've seen. Make sure you put those comments below. So thanks for tuning in and we shall see you in the next video.

#14 Operation without HAZARD to PERSONS or PROPERTY on the surface



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