AOPA AV8RS Chris West asks:
Q: How low can one legally fly?
A: Hi Chris, that depends on several factors. For the purpose of this question, we will assume we are discussing airplanes. FAR § 91.119 specifies minimum safe altitudes. Generally, it breaks it down into three categories: anywhere, over congested areas and over other than congested areas.
Anywhere: An altitude, that if you had a power failure, an emergency landing could be made without undue hazard to people or property.
Over congested areas: 1000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2000 feet of the airplane.
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.
--Pete Arnold, AOPA
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AOPA AV8RS Scholarship Program Now Accepting Applications
The AOPA AV8RS Scholarship program will award up to $20,000 in financial assistance in February 2014 to deserving AOPA AV8RS. The program is funded through the AOPA Foundation, a non-profit organization, and made possible through generous donations from AOPA Insurance Services and Sporty's Pilot Shop.
The scholarship program encourages, recognizes and supports excellence among AOPA AV8RS members and helps outstanding students accomplish their goals. It is open to all current AOPA AV8RS, ages 13 through 18, who are pursuing an aviation-related goal, including:
A complete application and supporting documentation must be received on or before December 31, 2013. The Scholarship Committee will determine the recipients of the scholarship by the award date of February 7, 2014.
New dedicated helpline for student pilots!
Learning to fly is challenging to everyone who pursues flight, but with the support of your flight instructor and AOPA, you can overcome any challenge that may come your way. To provide its student members with additional assistance and encouragement, AOPA launched a dedicated Flight Training Helpline at
1-888-232-7456 – and AV8RS have free access!
The helpline is staffed by a team of experienced AOPA pilots and CFIs who are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., ET to provide you with support, advice and answers to help you reach your flight training goal.
Always remember as you progress through your training, the only bad question is the one you never ask. So be sure to take advantage of this excellent member benefit as much as you want!
Corporate Pilot - not your 'typical 9-to-5 job'
Luz Beattie laughs when she says she worked in just about "every other industry" until she became involved in aviation. Ironically, she's also worked in just about every facet of aviation, too.
She got into aviation, almost by chance. Beattie graduated from college with a business degree and was working at a downtown Manhattan bank when she found a magazine lying about while she was eating lunch. "It talked about aviation colleges, and I read it from cover to cover," she recalls. "I decided that I should look into it."
While she had always wanted to fly, Beattie says she never thought it could become a career. Finally convinced it was an option, she quit her job and enrolled full time in college, majoring in aviation management.
But she didn't start flying then. "My hope was to get into their college flight program, but I couldn't get loans to cover everything," she recalls. "So I decided to get the degree and learn to fly later."
Meet AOPA AV8R Matthew Cahn
Matthew Cahn received Microsoft Flight Simulator as a Christmas gift one year. Knowing that the game had piqued his son's interest in aviation, Matthew's father arranged for him to go flying with a friend in November 2012.
Less than a year later, Matthew is the one doing the flying.
A freshman at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Matthew, now 15, has about 14 hours logged in a Cessna 172 and plans to solo on or near his 16th birthday on Nov. 7, 2014. He hopes to follow that up a year later and earn his private pilot certificate.
His goal is to become a commercial pilot. "It would be cool to fly around the country and maybe the world," he explains.
Want to be featured in the AOPA AV8RS Member Profile Column? Email [email protected] for an application!
Jetman uses 'senses' as his instruments
With a nickname like Jetman, you'd think Yves Rossy would be a cartoon character or the hero in a new comic book series.
Yet Rossy is a down-to-Earth aviator who made headlines throughout the United States this summer and fall, visiting and flying his jet-powered wing at events such as EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. and the National Championship Air Races in Reno. Then in November, he made headlines in Japan when he flew his unique jet-powered wingsuit above Mount Fuji nine times as part of a celebration of the mountain's official designation as a World Heritage Site, BBC reported.
Drone deliveries can delight
Drones may be best known for their military use to target militants and perform reconnaissance missions. But civilians are also touting the possibilities that drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, can bring.
Some uses aren't too surprising. For instance, drones can be used by journalists to record aerial video and photos, by law enforcement officers or firefighters to see without putting officers at risk or by farmers to keep an eye on crops.
But media reports show that drones can do more than just take pictures or provide a unique view.
From lawn mower to powered parachute
The high cost of flying didn't stop Landon Clipp from reaching to the skies. But it did make him look into another type of flying that most don't consider – powered parachutes.
At 7, Landon started flying remote-control airplanes. But a one-day visit with his Boy Scout troop to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2008 made the then 12-year-old realize he could be the one in the sky. "Once I came to the ultralights area and saw how relatively cheap powered parachutes were, I know I could do that."
Whooping cranes take flight…sometimes
Halloween has long-since passed, but you'd have no clue if you were looking at the Operation Migration crew. Dressed in long, white costumes with hoods that cover their faces, the group aims to trick their charge – a group of eight whooping crane chicks – from recognizing the human form as they teach them the migration route from Wisconsin to Florida behind ultralight airplanes.
The cranes were raised in Maryland before being brought to Wisconsin and trained to follow the plane as a surrogate parent. They left the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area and began their migration journey on Oct. 2. As of mid-November, the cranes were in Illinois, having traveled about 200 miles in 41 days. To see their current location, go to the Operation Migration blog, In the Field, or click on either of their two cams: http://www.ustream.tv/migratingcranes or http://www.ustream.tv/flyingcranes.
A pool of anchovies
When larger fish or marine mammals in the ocean threaten small fish, the small fish usually group together to try to appear larger as a group. However, it's rare to have millions of anchovies group together, and it's even rarer to have a photographer flying overhead when it happens. A passenger with Channel Islands Helicopters, Liz Vernand took this image in early November off Ventura, Calif.
Click here to see more.
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Questions? Comments? Send them to [email protected]
Contributing Writer: Barbara A. Benish
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