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REVAN

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I'm think the rules for GA may make it hard to fly from beaches. Probably a lot of beaches we would like to fly from would attract unwanted attention from the police, and ultralights are probably an easier way to go for beach flying.

The rules will vary state-by-state, but I'm thinking if the aircraft has an N number on it, a lot of public access beaches won't even let you roll it over the beach to get it into the water for an amphibious take off, let alone allow for takeoff and landing from the beach.

I'd like to hear more from someone with knowledge on the subject. If I find a large enough piece of sparsely populated sand on the coast of California, or Florida, can I fly from it in an ultralight? What about flying from the same place in something with an N number on it?
 

Rhino

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Absent any local laws to the contrary, there is no prohibition on operating an aircraft on a beach. However, the rules about separation from people and property still apply, and that necessarily eliminates most public beaches. If you get away from the most populated areas though, you'll find beach areas that don't have any people, or very few anyway. Some pilots also like landing on sandbars, whether they be coastal or in rivers. I know of several Zenith pilots who are fond of landing on sandbars in rivers, and sandbar operations are quite common in Alaska.
 
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Lynette

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It has occurred to me that these expensive hobbies often have more to do with the lifestyle than the hobby itself. People don't get a boat because it is economically justified. In many cases, they get a boat to get a girl on their boat in her bikini, and then eventually out of it. Guys also get into fancy cars to get the attention of women. The same can be said for aviation, but the girls aren't impressed with an ultralight. They are impressed with a Learjet. If guys could get the girl of their dreams by owning and flying around in a Vashon Ranger, there would probably be a lot of guys buying and flying Vashon Rangers.

The "Thomas Crown Affair" glider scene was more about impressing the girl than it was about the glider, or soaring. The bump in people buying glider rides after the movie came out, might better be attributed to guys trying to recreate the movie scene to impress a girl they were interested in rather than their interest in soaring.

Maybe the biggest problem with GA is that most women don't want their men wasting their money on low-end aviation. So, most men don't do that unless they are intrinsically interested in flying. If they do go down that path, they will be cost conscious because they are truly just buying the experience for themselves, not investing in a lifestyle that gets the attention of women and boosts their social status among their peers. There are a lot of guys out there who will spend fortunes getting the lifestyle that will get them the social status and the girl they desire. Maybe, if you want to make more GA pilots, you have to first make more women that want to be with GA pilots. So... How might that be accomplished?
You get women into aviation by first getting them into an airplane. Then they have to see a possible way they can own or build an airplane or become a military pilot. This is the same for boys or girls. Since most of us women don't start with mechanical skills the move to building an airplane is a little bit more challenging for women than men. I first flew while in college then again in my 40s in a Champ but did not see myself in the left seat. It wasn't until I saw ultralights, then gliders then a VariEze that I finally bit the bait. In my 70's I started a flying club. We're rebuilding a Ercoupe. I shall finish the build of a VariEze. That plane lit my fire. I may not get finished but I'll have fun.
 

Bigshu

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Do you do that? Fly your little airplane into your friends backyard?
No, but I don't sail my boat into their back yard either. Going where the people are is a good approach, and one that can be accomplished by building more airparks that are surrounded by places to shop and hang out, that are surrounded by residential or office parks. You need pilots and the public able to rub elbows. See and be seen, so to speak. unfortunately, the trend is for cities to try and close airports to take the high value land for developers. Electric aviation, including V-TOL, is very useful for bringing aviation into neighborhoods, lower noise, no worries about lead in the air, clean and modern looking vehicles, not sketchy old relics.
 

BBerson

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Copalis beach is a (only?) designated Washington state landing area. Not sure about the other beaches in general. Ultralights do not have any distance from people rules. GA planes can get close when in takeoff or landing but not for low beach cruising.
 

Rhino

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Actually Part 103 regs say "No person may operate any ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates a hazard to other persons or property." On the surface that seems to give more leeway, but it's very vague. And experience has taught that when someone makes an accusation, vague regulations are very often interpreted in the worst way possible. I wouldn't want to hang my hat on that.
 

BBerson

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Ultralights operate about 75 feet from a large crowd at Airventure.
And the STOL event has Cessna 180’s also that close. Takeoff and full stop landings only, high speed or any flyby is prohibited.
 
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Rhino

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People at Airventure aren't going to complain, but people relaxing on a beach somewhere....... I'm not saying it makes sense, but we all know how nonsensical things can get when non-aviation folks start complaining about aviation operations. I think the odds are indeed pretty low, but as I said, I wouldn't want to hang my hat on that hope. Safer to stick to the Part 91 rules, and they really aren't all that draconian. Plenty of folks manage to operate on beaches without violating them. Revan's far more likely to find a sandbar on a river than a beach anyway, considering he's located in Tucson.
 
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BBerson

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It's always best to avoid strangers but flying by your friends at a beach camp in an ultralight wouldn't be a violation.
 

Bigshu

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I could get a pretty nice boat for 3.5 M but then what would I do with all the woman it would attract That kind of boat is to big to go fishing.
Plus you'd need a license to run it. Also, the insurance might be just as restrictive as for aircraft.
 

REVAN

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No person may operate any ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates a hazard to other persons or property.
I know I've seen videos of people taking off from Florida beaches with a paramotor, so I assume that beach flying in an ultralight is probably legal there.

However, California is much closer to me. That makes it more likely I'd be flying there, but the state has a reputation of being so screwed up, my impulse is to stay away from it. That impression may not be warranted though, as per flying an ultralight from the beach.

Maybe an example would be helpful:

Let's say I'm heading up the 101, and I pull off at Refugio State Beach near Goleta. They have parking for vehicles with trailers there and beach access. If I pulled my ultralight out of the trailer, walked it down to the beach, unfurled the wing and started flying, and assuming I was not endangering other persons or property, would I be okay, or should I expect to get a citation from the local police for flying to and from the beach? Looking online, as I expected, I can't find any Refugio State Beach rules that would indicate for or against this activity. But, that doesn't mean that there aren't any.

If that is not an acceptable flying location, what about any generic location along the coast where I can find access to the beach with my ultralight, someplace not a "State Beach" park?

Is there anyone here from CA that would have knowledge on this subject?
 

Rhino

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I lived there for three years, and that reputation is well deserved. I know of no such prohibitions, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. My only concern would be the attitude that existed if someone complained, and that attitude would determine whether or not they feel a "hazard" exists. Given the anti-freedom attitude I experienced when living there, my impression is the danger of that would be higher there than in a place like Florida (lived there too). But there are lots of relatively unpopulated beaches in California that should make your chances much better (Refugio is somewhat crowded). The problem is those beaches would be further north, and further from you. As I said earlier, the overall danger of this happening is low. It's just a possible hassle I'd do my best to avoid.
 

Topaz

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I know I've seen videos of people taking off from Florida beaches with a paramotor, so I assume that beach flying in an ultralight is probably legal there.

However, California is much closer to me. That makes it more likely I'd be flying there, but the state has a reputation of being so screwed up, my impulse is to stay away from it. That impression may not be warranted though, as per flying an ultralight from the beach.

Maybe an example would be helpful:

Let's say I'm heading up the 101, and I pull off at Refugio State Beach near Goleta. They have parking for vehicles with trailers there and beach access. If I pulled my ultralight out of the trailer, walked it down to the beach, unfurled the wing and started flying, and assuming I was not endangering other persons or property, would I be okay, or should I expect to get a citation from the local police for flying to and from the beach? Looking online, as I expected, I can't find any Refugio State Beach rules that would indicate for or against this activity. But, that doesn't mean that there aren't any.

If that is not an acceptable flying location, what about any generic location along the coast where I can find access to the beach with my ultralight, someplace not a "State Beach" park?

Is there anyone here from CA that would have knowledge on this subject?
The only beach in California from which you could operate any aircraft or vehicle (and by the latter, I also mean ultralight) would be a private beach with permission of the owner. People aren't allowed to operate motor vehicles (ATV's, quads, cars, trucks) on state beaches, and they're sure as heck not going to allow flight operations. If you assemble and fly at a public (state) beach in SoCal or near SFO with an ultralight, expect either a park ranger (state beaches are operated under the park service) or local police to show up and demand that you stop, probably with a citation and fine. Same goes for any beach area where there are concentrations of homes, such as Santa Barbara, Monterrey, etc.

Privately-owned beaches tend to be north of Santa Barabara or south of Long Beach. They tend to be small and "exclusive," and again, you'll need the explicit permission of the land-owner (in advance) to operate there. Even then, local zoning ordinances might prohibit operations. When I was a teen, a neighbor of my father's in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains wanted to install a helipad. To get the zoning variance, the city required a public hearing with notice served to all the surrounding homes, who got a voice on whether the pad would be installed. It was rejected immediately and permanently.

Your odds of finding a beach either deserted enough, or remote enough that zoning isn't likely to be enforced because of neighbor's complaints, get much better in the extreme north of the state. I believe that some of those areas are also state parks, so no flying there, either.

California has well-earned its reputation for iron-grip regulation.
 

davidb

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Oceano Dunes SVRA might work. It’s an off-road vehicle area so motorized vehicles are permitted on the beach.
 

Doran Jaffas

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The Lord has blessed me with far more women and far more attractive women in my life than I even begin to deserve .
Last night I was at a party where there were only three men and a couple of dozen cuties in their teens and 20s and 30s , it occurred to me that none of them have ever been in my airplane nor had any but one been on my boat , in my car or to my house.
I don’t think I was invited to spend time with them because of planes or boats cars or pick up trucks.
I think it was the attitude that leads me to want to fly ,to desire taking a boat to sea or that brings me home from Alaska with stories Of wilderness ,traveling ,fishing etc.
What I’m trying to say is I don’t think it’s toys that draw the women to us it’s the attitude that draws us to the toys that draws women to us.
Another thread that needs to be on a forum other than this one.
 

Topaz

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I happen to be editing a printed version of the California Penal Code today for a customer and it contains an appendix with, among others, sections from the Public Utilities Code. Of interest to this discussion are the following. The second one is the catch-all where they get you, as "reckless" is a matter of opinion. The CA judge is supposed to "consider" the federal standards for "safe operation of aircraft," but you'll note that they're not bound by them.

§21403. Aircraft Altitudes and Forced Landings
(a) Flight in aircraft over the land and waters of this state is lawful, unless at altitudes below those prescribed by federal authority, or unless conducted so as to be imminently dangerous to persons or property lawfully on the land or water beneath. The landing of an aircraft on the land or waters of another, without his or her consent, is unlawful except in the case of a forced landing or pursuant to Section 21662.1. The owner, lessee, or operator of the aircraft is liable, as provided by law, for damages caused by a forced landing.
(b) The landing, takeoff, or taxiing of an aircraft on a public freeway, highway, road, or street is unlawful except in the following cases:
(1) A forced landing.
(2) A landing during a natural disaster or other public emergency if the landing has received prior approval from the public agency having primary jurisdiction over traffic upon the freeway, highway, road, or street.
(3) When the landing, takeoff, or taxiing has received prior approval from the public agency having primary jurisdiction over traffic upon the freeway, highway, road or street.
The prosecution bears the burden of proving that none of the exceptions apply to the act which is alleged to be unlawful.
(c) The right of flight in aircraft includes the right of safe access to public airports, which includes the right of flight within the zone of approach of any public airport without restriction or hazard. The zone of approach of an airport shall conform to the specifications of Part 77 of the Federal Aviation Regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation.

§21407. Reckless Operation of Aircraft
It is unlawful for any person to operate an aircraft in the air, or on the ground or water in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another. In any proceeding charging operation of aircraft in violation of this section, the court in determining whether the operation was careless or reckless shall consider the standards for safe operation of aircraft prescribed by federal statutes or regulations governing aeronautics.
 

Dana

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Paramotors often operate from beaches, even, I think, in CA. Although they're Part 103 ultralights just like ultralight airplanes, they often don't get treated the same because they don't look like "airplanes" and don't [usually] have wheels. They're closer to hang gliders, which CA has a long history with.

Until, as sometimes happens, you get an idiot paramotor pilot who flies in a manner to annoy people (even if technically legal), then the responsible flyers get thrown out, too.
 
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