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Old 12-16-2004, 03:27 PM
Marc Zeitlin Marc Zeitlin is offline
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tehachapi, CA 93561
Posts: 1,083

Originally Posted by Noodles
My boss and I were discussing the pros and cons of flying an experimental. He said you couldn't fly over densely populated areas......

....Is he correct?
An old "canard", to use a different meaning of the word. A common misconception, held by those who don't know what they're talking about. No. He's wrong.

Originally Posted by Noodles
(c) Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator in special operating limitations, no person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate over a densely populated area or in a congested airway. The Administrator may issue special operating limitations for particular aircraft to permit takeoffs and landings to be conducted over a densely populated area or in a congested airway, in accordance with terms and conditions specified in the authorization in the interest of safety in air commerce.
Notice the very explicit words that begin paragraph 2(c), here:



"The Administrator may issue special operating limitations ..."

When the experimental amateur built aircraft in question (mine, let's say) finishes it's Phase I testing and moves into Phase II (general flight), the Operating Limitations as issued by the FAA/DAR will say something along the lines of what mine says:
"This aircraft is prohibited from operating in congested airways or over densely populated areas unless directed by ATC, or unless sufficient altitude is maintained to effect a safe emergency landing in the event of a power unit failure, without hazard to persons or property on the surface."
In fact, my Phase I limitations ALSO had this paragraph, so even during my flight testing, I was allowed to fly in these areas, as long as I was high "enough" (with "enough" being defined after the fact, of course).

So the answer is, if you maintain a safe altitude (which, of course, you should be doing no matter WHAT plane you're in, and which is defined for you in other sections of the FAR's) - in this case, 1000 ft. above or 2000 ft to the side, IIRC, you can fly anywhere you want, just like any other plane.

Tell your boss he owes you the $50 you bet him, right? :-).