08: Powered Paragliding Law
Feb 17, 2007 |
Section II | Common Sense & The Law
U.S. has less regulation for powered paragliding than most countries. Many
places haven't even addressed the sport, so it's probably illegal
since anything that flies and carries a human would be a regulated aircraft.
freedom is as precious as it is fragile. By knowing the law, following it
and, most importantly, practicing courteous common sense, we
can preserve this amazing freedom.
single biggest guiding principal of flying our craft should be:
piss anybody off!
Of course you need to know when
and where you can fly but, if you follow the rule above, you'll not likely
have to demonstrate your superior knowledge.
The book's Chapter 8 provides a
concise resource to understanding our regulations but this material is included for
a quick reference and to update some of the violations that were mentioned
in the book.
covers airspace and
how to read charts but you can also get some good tips on the subject from
FootFlyer's airspace coverage.
Remember, even if your flying may be technically legal, anybody feeling
threatened by your actions may contact the police. They are obliged to
contact the FAA. If the FAA believes you were endangering them, or
anyone else by your operation, you can be found in violation of our FAR
Knowing the Law
Know the law because frequently the
enforcers won't. In Sept, 2007, a paramotor pilot in Texas was ticketed
for violating a local ordinance prohibiting aircraft from flying below
500 feet. The law applied to aircraft without mentioning ultralights
but even that law was flawed. The problem is, once the ticket is
written, you must spend time defending yourself.
That ticket was written from ignorance of a law that itself arose from
ignorance. Remarkably, this local office never noticed that federal law rules navigable
airspace. Cities or other local governing bodies cannot usurp airspace.
Rightfully so; can you imagine trying to fly an airplane across the
country while trying to handle a myriad of local laws? They can make noise ordinances but they cannot regulate the airspace.
Federal law, which overrides state and local law, makes it clear that
regulating airspace is the jurisdiction of
Even the birds have protections. See this piece to find out why we can't
be seen "harassing" the birds from aloft.