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Old 14th Feb 2010, 18:40   #1 (permalink)
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Landing at private sites in the US - restrictions

Anyone got any pointers as to where I can find restrictions that would govern landing at private sites in the US?

I am trying to find out how one would (ideally online) go about finding restrictions or town ordinances that restrict or govern landing at private sites, e.g. a farm or golf course, etc. (assuming one has land owners permission).

And on a related note, the process and pro's vs. con's of creating a heliport on your own land....

For the latter question I am looking in NY State, the first question more generic across the US.

Thanks in advance
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 19:09   #2 (permalink)
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Regarding the permits, that's different from state to state, sometimes even counties or cities claim that they have ordinances prohibiting you to land within their limits - how much that would hold up in court is another question (for example: Bethlehem City (PA) does not allow you to land anywhere, unless a firetruck is on scene ).

I never researched the issue for NY, but in New Jersey ANY landing requires a temporary heliport permit ($10/day I believe) - you can call the State Police about that, they point you in the right direction, who to talk to at the NJDOT (I have actually talked to the sergeant in charge of the aviation unit).
For Pennsylvania state the law is a little iffy, unless you don't land more than "a couple of times", it's ok to land anywhere on private grounds (obviously as long you don't endanger anybody); if you want to go in and out more often, the PENNDOT will actually send out a person to survey the landing site, for only $10! This time I talked to the person that comes out if necessary, so he should know .

Bottom line: you need to call the state (NYSDOT is a good start) and the municipality too... if you want to play it safe also call the State Police; supposedly the fine in the above mentioned Bethlehem City is somewhere around 1,000 bucks!.

Hope this helps!
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 19:39   #3 (permalink)
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RunwayFinder - Boston Scientific Natick Heliport

Runway finder is generally quite helpful. The remarks table at the bottom the page will give any restrictions, and there are usually contact details of the site manager.

Above is an example.. Private heliport near Boston.
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 20:11   #4 (permalink)
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Here is California:

CA Division of Aeronautics

I land off airport all the time, most times people do not care, or are interested in what you are doing. Of course these are not normally in "downtown" areas. I do not believe there is one single place to check though.

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Old 14th Feb 2010, 22:58   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, good luck to anyone on the ground trying to report that N-number to the feds!
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 23:41   #6 (permalink)
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In the US, it's up to each individual municipality to set the zoning standards. You have to check with each one in which you plan to land.
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Old 15th Feb 2010, 00:26   #7 (permalink)
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I read an article about an ordinance passed by Suffolk County (Long Island, NY) where despite the fact they acknowledged they had no legal bounds to pass the ordinance, as the FAA controls all the airspace in the USA, they were passing it anyway. ($1,000 or 1 year in jail!)

It is clearly not worth the effort, legal troubles or bad PR to be a bad neighbor but the mind boggles as to how it can be legal to hover 1" above the ground but at the point of touching the ground it becomes illegal, or for a town to deny you.

My question was more along the lines to prohibit unintentionally busting a local ordinance when no internet search, including viewing the municipal or state web sites show any requirements.

In my search for property, and places to enjoy the advantages of traveling to in a helicopter I have come across rhetoric and rumor but so far not any legislation, or an ability to find heli friendly municipalities (if such a thing exists).

Long paved runways loose their je ne se quoi when you have a cyclic in your hand.
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Old 15th Feb 2010, 02:16   #8 (permalink)
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My one off-airport landing was in NY, in the Catskills region. I had the landowner's permission, called the local PD and asked if there was any law against landing there. No problem.

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Old 15th Feb 2010, 02:49   #9 (permalink)
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You are correct, there is no such capability. All you can do is land if you want, and accept whatever citations you get. That's just the way the US was set up by the Constitution.
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Old 15th Feb 2010, 03:28   #10 (permalink)
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There was an article in the December 09/January 10 edition of Vertical magazine about a guy who set up his own private LZ at his home in Utah. In it he goes into his reasons for not getting it designated as a "helipad";
FAA regulations and requirements state that one can only fly a helicopter from a residentially operated landing zone three days per week, and no more than 10 times in one day. Yes, technically that means you could actually fly from an LZ up to 30 times a week, but then there is the reality. And, if Lindsey were to apply to register his landing zone as a helipad, the number of takeoffs and landings would have to exceed 10 per day so a landing zone it is.
He then goes further into the local crap he has to wade through.

Here is a link to the article.
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Old 15th Feb 2010, 14:55   #11 (permalink)
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Try www.ecode360.com it helped me with 87N (Sothampton Heliport) new rules.

The New York / New jersey metro area is the least helicopter friendly landing place in the country.

The Eastern Region Helicopter Council (ERHC) website may also be a good source of information.
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