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Careless or Reckless Operation

Introduction:

  • No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another
    • This applies to both air and ground operations
  • No person may assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crew-member in the performance of the crew member's duties aboard an aircraft being operated
  • Additionally, minimum safe altitudes are established to provide a buffer in the event of emergency

Dropping Objects:

  • No pilot in command of a civil aircraft or small Unmanned Aircraft System may allow any object to be dropped from that aircraft in flight that creates a hazard to persons or property
  • Neither FAR 91.15 or FAR 107.23 prohibits the dropping of any object if reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property
B-2 Dropping Bombs
Figure 1: B-2 Dropping Ordnance
B-2 Dropping Bombs
Figure 1: B-2 Dropping Ordnance

Minimum Safe Altitudes:

  • Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below:
    • Anywhere:

      • An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface
    • Over congested areas:

      • Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft
    • Over other than congested areas:

      • An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure
    • Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft:

      • If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface:
        • A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed above, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA; and
        • A powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft may be operated at less than 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure

Jettisoning Fuel:

  • ATC must be advised if fuel dumping is to take place
  • Whenever practicable, fuel shall not be jettisoned (dumped) below an altitude of 6,000' above the terrain
  • Should weather or emergency conditions dictate jettisoning at a lower altitude, every effort shall be made to avoid populated areas
  • When under positive control, the PIC should advise the air traffic control facility that fuel will be jettisoned
  • ATC will broadcast or cause to be broadcast immediately and every 3 minutes thereafter on appropriate ATC and FSS radio frequencies the following:
    • ATC: "ATTENTION ALL AIRCRAFT, fuel dumping in progress over [location] at [altitude] by [type aircraft], [flight direction]"
  • Upon receipt of such a broadcast, pilots of aircraft affected, which are not on IFR flight plans or special VFR clearances, should clear the area specified in the advisory
  • Aircraft on IFR flight plans or special VFR clearances will be provided specific separation by ATC
  • At the completion of fuel dumping the pilot must advise ATC:
    • ATC: "ATTENTION ALL AIRCRAFT, fuel dumping by [type aircraft] terminated"

Conclusion:

References: