Pilot Counsel

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Pilot Counsel

Article | Aug 01, 2001

It is against the law to shoot at civilian aircraft in flight. It is against international law.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jul 01, 2001

Not surprisingly, a recent disaster has spurred pilots to want to learn (or refresh) what they must do to minimize the risk of getting shot down during an in-flight interception. In case you missed it, about three months ago a Peruvian military jet intercepted and shot down an innocent civilian single-engine Cessna 185 on floats (U.S.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jun 01, 2001

As general aviation pilots, we are charged with knowing the regulatory requirements for supplemental oxygen aboard the aircraft that we fly. (Airliners and some other commercial aircraft have stricter requirements.) The requirements are spelled out in FAR 91.211.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2001

Most of the judges in our federal and state judicial systems are not pilots, although I am happy to note that the number of pilots among judges is increasing. Anyway, it is still unusual to find a judge's legal decision affecting pilots that is written by a pilot.

Topics Pilots

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2001

A case study Many, if not most, pilots have made low passes in their airplanes, sometimes to say hi to friends or family on the ground, sometimes just to sightsee. These low passes are perfectly legal operations so long as they are not done carelessly or recklessly, and so long as they are done at or above the minimum safe altitudes set out in the Federal Aviation Regulations.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2001

Anyone who has been involved in the buying or selling of a used aircraft has probably wrestled with this nagging legal problem: Who is responsible for defects discovered in the aircraft after it has been sold? There are some standard techniques that we have developed over the years to try to address this problem. They are usually very helpful, and they work most of the time, but, as we will see, imaginative lawyers may attempt to find ways around them.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2001

In November in this column ("Pilot Counsel: Small Airports and the Law," November 2000 Pilot) I talked about a recent court decision because it gave us a real-life example of some principles of law that help protect airports. The case involved a dispute between a small private airport and its nearby landowners.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2001

The logging of flight time can sometimes create real legal problems for pilots. This is especially true, as a recent case tells us, if the FAA believes that a pilot is intentionally padding his or her time to meet some FAA requirement.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Dec 01, 2000

An unspoken truth in general aviation is that FAR 91.171 is one of the most chronically "violated" regulations on the books. It is the regulation that requires a VOR equipment check before any flight under the instrument flight rules.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Nov 01, 2000

Here is a recent case that tells us something about the law as it relates to an important and typical airport situation. It is the situation of a small general aviation airport that has existed in a sparsely populated area and is now being threatened by nearby residential and commercial development.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Oct 01, 2000

The use of cellular telephones in connection with private flying has become very popular. It is not at all unusual to see a pilot in or near an aircraft on the ground using a cell phone.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Sep 01, 2000

Do you sometimes rent an aircraft from a fixed-base operator? Most of us have, and will. When you do, do you ask to see the aircraft's logbooks to make sure that the aircraft has a current annual inspection? If you don't ask to see the logbooks, do you at least ask the FBO about the inspection status of the aircraft? Most of us don't do either, normally.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Aug 01, 2000

Many of you are already members of the AOPA Legal Services Plan. This is a program that is available exclusively to AOPA members.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jul 01, 2000

Do you know the technical difference between ground visibility and flight visibility? It could be important. Suppose you are sitting in your aircraft on the ground at a satellite airport (an airport that is in the same surface airspace area as the primary airport on which the airspace designation is based).

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jun 01, 2000

It seems that we can expect more uncomfortable one-on-one discussions between pilots and FAA inspectors about possible regulatory violations. We previously reported on the relatively new FAA Streamlined Administrative Action Process (SAAP) program now in effect (see "Pilot Counsel: FAA’s Ticket Program," September 1999 Pilot) and offered some legal guidance to pilots.

Pilot Counsel

Article | May 01, 2000

There is good news and bad news. The bad news—well, maybe it would be better to call it sad news—is that celebrated airshow pilot Bob Hoover has announced that he is canceling his performances scheduled for the rest of this year.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Apr 01, 2000

When filing an IFR flight plan, must a pilot choose a cruising altitude/flight level in accordance with the hemispherical rule? The simple answer is, "No." If you would like to have a different altitude or flight level, there is no harm in asking. It is not a violation of the regulations to do so.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Mar 01, 2000

A recent legal interpretation of the FAA Chief Counsel’s Office gives us an opportunity to review an important set of regulatory requirements. These requirements sometimes go unnoticed because they are one-time requirements.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Feb 01, 2000

We in general aviation have a relatively unique federal law on the statute books. It is called the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jan 01, 2000

In a recent FAA enforcement action, a pilot’s Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate was suspended for 30 days for violating the regulation on the minimum fuel requirements for the flight of an airplane in VFR conditions. It’s a regulation that we don’t have much occasion to look at in detail.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Dec 01, 1999

Suppose a friend calls on Labor Day weekend to tell you that an air ambulance aircraft, along with its pilot, nurse, and doctor, is stranded because of a mechanical problem, and they need somebody to fly a mechanic to the aircraft to get it operational. He tells you that they have tried to get a charter but have been unable to do so.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Nov 01, 1999

Buying an aircraft, whether it is new or used, is a big event in anyone's life. For many of us, it will be the biggest single purchase we will make, next to buying a home.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Oct 01, 1999

It's a fact of life. Many airports are under constant pressure from local residents who complain about the sound and sight of airplanes.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Sep 01, 1999

There was a proposal to have FAA inspectors issue Federal Aviation Regulations violation citations "on the spot," much like traffic tickets issued by police or state troopers for alleged motor vehicle violations. For that reason it was dubbed the "FAA ticket program." The good news for pilots is that the proposal has now been revised significantly as a result of objections by AOPA and other industry organizations.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Aug 01, 1999

A hot issue at recent flight in-structor certificate revalidation courses is the legal liability of the flight instructor. It seems that flight instructors are becoming more and more aware that they could be sued, not only for something that happens during the flight instruction period, but also for something that happens afterward — something that somebody could say was caused by faulty flight instruction given earlier.