Jump to content
KiteLife Forum
spiff

Apparently the FAA's 5 mile from airport rule is a bunch of BS

Recommended Posts

An FAA rule says you can't fly a kite 5 miles from an airport boundary.   Well, its almost impossible to find a spot of land that isn't within 5 miles of an airport.  This is certainly the case in all major cities.  Just for shits I hopped on kitemap.org.. you know, the repository for "best" places to fly and they listed three locations in my city and 2 were within half that 5 mile limit and the 3rd would still not comply if  you took literally the FAA's definition of this going right up the edge of the airports property as the starting point to start measuring. (in other words... was exactly 5 miles up the airport boundary)

So being curious I just picked another couple cities at random and all the locations listed there too were within 5 miles.   A lot weren't even a mile.   So it was 0-12 on best places to fly a kite conforming to FAA regulations.  I have little doubt it would be the same if I kept looking.   It would be interesting to get an airport map of the US...

Not that I give a sh*t, just pointing out the idiocy with the levels of bureaucracy in this country.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as you are responsible, not flying high altitude, and not in line with the runway, you can usually get permission.  Know the approach patterns and avoid being a hazard.  One person CAN ruin it for everyone.

In a parallel conversation, look at how Drones are being scrutinized now due to some irresponsible pilots.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Permission?  I doubt even .01 percent of kite fliers bother with that, if anybody at all.  I sure don't, do you?  But yeah, avoiding a flight corridor is just common sense, just like ignoring an idiotic draconian rule that is tantamount to saying "Let's just say you can't do this anywhere!  That solves OUR problem."

That London issue, who ever they were was purposely trying to cause a drone/aircraft collision and they were doing it for months.  I think that's beyond the definition of irresponsible. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in the Chicago area with 17 municipal, county and international airports in the area and have absolutely no problem finding fields that are much further than 5 miles from any of them. It's probably because you live there instead of here that you're having that problem. 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was my point.. you have to drive for miles outside of a city if you want to conform to this law.  In my state there are plenty of little regional airports spread about too making even that difficult.   Who is going to make a day trip just to fly a kite?  I have a school with a double sized field right across the street from me, I won't go any farther than that.  Other people fly kites there too (obliviously I'm sure). 

Did you actually check a map and measure though?  That 5 mile radius is significant.  This is my point, everywhere you thought it was okay probably isn't according to this FAA rule.

Wow, 17?!  That's nuts.  I thought the 6 my city had seemed like a lot.  They perfectly box in the city limits.  Its a conspiracy against kite fliers I tell you! 😉 

 I don't live in London, BTW.. was just referring to a recent issue they were dealing with.  I haven't seen a US airport close yet due to drone threats..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually fly very often where I can physically see the runway. I fly probably 1500 ft from it.  I do have rules I have to follow.  I have a hard ceiling of 100ft for my kites. (it's actually 125 feet but I stay well below that to be extra safe.) I've been questioned a few times but as soon as I tell them my line length and show knowledge of the rules and a sense of responsibility, they leave me be. Once they even asked if they could try..

Again, if you aren't in line with the runway and you aren't distracting pilots during critical landing and take off operations, you are probably going to be just fine. If you do get confronted, please don't make a scene, just politely ask for the local policy and follow the guidance provided. Very rarely are you going to be hit with the FAA reg unless you are causing an issue or pressing a bad situation.

The Kitty Hawk airport is just over the trees on the right side of the picture.. Coincidentally in this video I'm flying less than  500ft from the very first runway.

FWIW, I did ask permission to fly at my regular spot (not Kitty Hawk).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
An FAA rule says you can't fly a kite 5 miles from an airport boundary.   Well, its almost impossible to find a spot of land that isn't within 5 miles of an airport.  This is certainly the case in all major cities.  Just for shits I hopped on kitemap.org.. you know, the repository for "best" places to fly and they listed three locations in my city and 2 were within half that 5 mile limit and the 3rd would still not comply if  you took literally the FAA's definition of this going right up the edge of the airports property as the starting point to start measuring. (in other words... was exactly 5 miles up the airport boundary)
So being curious I just picked another couple cities at random and all the locations listed there too were within 5 miles.   A lot weren't even a mile.   So it was 0-12 on best places to fly a kite conforming to FAA regulations.  I have little doubt it would be the same if I kept looking.   It would be interesting to get an airport map of the US...
Not that I give a sh*t, just pointing out the idiocy with the levels of bureaucracy in this country.
 





Sent from my iPhone using KiteLife mobile app

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, SKS65 said:

just pointing out the idiocy with the levels of bureaucracy in this country.

It may feel that way, but imagine both the legal repercussions and how you feel if you distracted a pilot or flew into their flight path, and hundreds died as a result.

Height guidelines and distances vary by country.  The US has height limits of 150 feet (45 meters), 400 feet (120 meters), and 500 feet (150 meters) depending on details. Compare with countries that have shorter limits like the UK and Switzerland at 60 meters, or countries with longer distances.  Distance from airfields looks like it is commonly 5 km, or about 3 miles, but some are 10 or more.

Basically it is a mix of both being responsible and being liable.  Given the right circumstances it may be reasonable to fly at low altitudes a short distance from an infrequently-used airfield that is shielded by trees or buildings so the pilots wouldn't be distracted nor distressing to ground radar. But even so, if there was an accident at the airport while you were flying nearby, even if the kites had nothing to do with it I wouldn't want to face the scrutiny and investigation that followed.

Different airfields will have different levels of enforcement.  You can be certain if you're flying near LAX or Heathrow you'll be getting a visit from officers.  But if you're flying near a small community airfield you might get supportive spectators visiting from the radio booth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/19/2019 at 4:12 PM, riffclown said:

I actually fly very often where I can physically see the runway. I fly probably 1500 ft from it.  I do have rules I have to follow.  I have a hard ceiling of 100ft for my kites. (it's actually 125 feet but I stay well below that to be extra safe.) I've been questioned a few times but as soon as I tell them my line length and show knowledge of the rules and a sense of responsibility, they leave me be. Once they even asked if they could try..

Again, if you aren't in line with the runway and you aren't distracting pilots during critical landing and take off operations, you are probably going to be just fine. If you do get confronted, please don't make a scene, just politely ask for the local policy and follow the guidance provided. Very rarely are you going to be hit with the FAA reg unless you are causing an issue or pressing a bad situation.

The Kitty Hawk airport is just over the trees on the right side of the picture.. Coincidentally in this video I'm flying less than  500ft from the very first runway.

FWIW, I did ask permission to fly at my regular spot (not Kitty Hawk).

That's pretty interesting.  Was that for some kind of kite event?  Seems like lots of other flyers in your video.(looked like a sweet day for it)  Being that close I would have presumed they would have erred on the safe side and flatly refused permission so I wouldn't have even bothered to ask.  Actually, jaded me would presume that in just about all instances of even being within the 5 miles.   So that's a surprise.

Then there is the issue of even asking for permission.  I once tried to contact our ATC just to pick their noggin and get their perspective just to see if it was in line with the FAA rules.  I gave up after 3 days.   I rang a general airport#, then the airport police and finally got the ATC but it was only ever an answering machine.  I left a message and got one back 3 days later to call them back and... got another answering machine.  That's a lot of BS right there to fly a kite.  It might be worth it for an event though I suppose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, frob said:

It may feel that way, but imagine both the legal repercussions and how you feel if you distracted a pilot or flew into their flight path, and hundreds died as a result.

Height guidelines and distances vary by country.  The US has height limits of 150 feet (45 meters), 400 feet (120 meters), and 500 feet (150 meters) depending on details. Compare with countries that have shorter limits like the UK and Switzerland at 60 meters, or countries with longer distances.  Distance from airfields looks like it is commonly 5 km, or about 3 miles, but some are 10 or more.

Basically it is a mix of both being responsible and being liable.  Given the right circumstances it may be reasonable to fly at low altitudes a short distance from an infrequently-used airfield that is shielded by trees or buildings so the pilots wouldn't be distracted nor distressing to ground radar. But even so, if there was an accident at the airport while you were flying nearby, even if the kites had nothing to do with it I wouldn't want to face the scrutiny and investigation that followed.

Different airfields will have different levels of enforcement.  You can be certain if you're flying near LAX or Heathrow you'll be getting a visit from officers.  But if you're flying near a small community airfield you might get supportive spectators visiting from the radio booth.

Exactly!  But in my experience government policy rarely follows common sense.  A good example is the last time I got pulled over (years ago)  commuting to work.  My hot-rod days being long over, I just fell in line with the rest of the cattle traveling a brisk 80-85MPH.  It was a steady stream of synchronized traffic.(thank God, its not usually that way). so perfectly safe.  BUT it was that time of the month and officer Joe had his quota to fill and just randomly picked me out and pulled me over.  So I asked how he singled me out and he just says it doesn't matter because I was speeding and it was unsafe.  I pointed out that the only unsafe condition was the introduction of him with his lights on causing everyone to hit their brakes, which was 100% true on all fronts.  There were several instance that I saw myself of near accidents due to him.   Azzhole still gave me the ticket.  

That exemplifies government mindsets IMO.  Common sense never wins over their agenda.. and your example shows that a 5 mile rule could have just as safely been a 3000ft- 1mile  rule which would have been plenty.. but no, they cover their asses and rule out probably 65% of the entire nation instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was an event (The Wright Kite Festival) but the Wright Memorial does allow kite flying all the time. It's actually a great place the fly.  Hard Ceiling of 500ft if I'm not mistaken. There's a reason the Wright Brothers went to Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills. They knew where the wind was.

Let me suggest the common sense approach as you noted and fly your kite responsibly. If you do get approached, land your kite and  have an intelligent conversation. Note that your kite goes no higher than "x" feet and if asked to move on then pack up and do so. Politely asking forgiveness and then approaching the conversation with, "what's the proper way for me to get permission?" might also work to your advantage.  Don't press your luck on the issue or you will completely blow the opportunity and maybe end up in trouble.

FWIW, Ringing ahead will probably just get a blanket "no" to get you off the phone and avoid the issue entirely from their point of view.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, I've been flying at the same Airfield for nearly 10 years and have only been approached 3 times. Never ever actually had an issue. Don't be an issue and you'll rarely have one.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right on.... I just brought this point up more as a conversation topic than I'm really concerned about getting hassled.  Like you said I would be more worried about really causing an accident.  It doesn't keep me from flying my kite past 500 ft, but I have moved locations when I noted the prevalence of low flying aircraft nearby.  I think they were traffic helicopters that kept scoping out the same area's.. was time to move and find a new spot.

I was given the boot when flying from a levee owned by a nearby casino, by the casino who apparently sent a cop my way.  It was miles away, no one would have guessed they owned that river bottom land.  It was perfect.. vast stretches of farmland on both sides (guess leased from the casino) and you could drive the whole length of the levee.  Like you said, just packed up and left.. wasn't the cops fault, in that case was just doing his job.  I'm still respectful even if I might argue who was being a bigger menace on the highway.  But in this case you can tell the guy was a bit embarrassed and sheepish to have to run off a guy flying a kite.   I was pissed at the casino though... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...