FAA to pilots: Fly higher over Lake Elmo

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport isn’t the only place where the neighbors are upset about the noise.

The Federal Aviation Administration today sent a notice to area pilots to stop flying low over the Lake Elmo area.

Over the past few weeks, the Minneapolis Flight Standards District Office has received numerous complaints against low flying aircraft in the Lake Elmo, MN flying area.

As a reminder to all, 14 CFR Part 91 is very specific with regards to aircraft operations over and around congested areas. 14 CFR Part 91.13 in part states, “No person may operate an aircraft in a Careless or Reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another”.

To clarify, property can be livestock, a car, a building, a boat, and even a power line or tower. Endangering or the fear of loss of those posessions is expressed by the owner or complainant and held as such in the eyes of the court.

As far as defining a congested area keep in mind the following:

Two people in a shed has been considered congested, its all up to the court.

With the climate we have here in the North Country and the limited time we have to truly enjoy the warm weather and great flying conditions, let’s not give cause to anyone in the air or on the ground to be concerned for their safety or that of their possessions.

Why is the definition of “congested area” significant?

Under the rules, an airplane can fly as low as 500 feet above the ground or water, although unless you’re landing or taking off, it would be fairly foolhardly to do.

Over “congested areas,” an airplane can’t fly lower than 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle.

Lake Elmo Airport has been in operation in one fashion or another since World War II. In recent years, as in other suburbs, more houses have been built nearby.

  • BillBasham

    Try enjoying some peace and quiet in our state parks. Sadly, it’s not going to happen thanks to ultra-lights and small prop planes, at least in the St. Croix valley.

    • How would you resolve competing interests?

      • BillBasham

        Keep like things together?

        Noisy disruptive things like ultralights could fly along the roadways. Quiet non-intrusive things like me could be allowed to enjoy the very tiny amount of space reserved for our park system.

        We don’t allow cell phones in theaters. Noise pollution in our parks should be equally abhorrent.

        My tongue in cheek solution would be simply to allow the occasional pot shot at an annoying plane. It would certainly serve to establish boundaries.

    • Kassie

      I spend time in our State Parks often and haven’t been disturbed by an excessive amount of planes in any park I’ve been to.

      • BillBasham

        Afton is probably the worst for ultra-lights. I agree that Sibley and Carley and several others well away from the Twin Cities are generally pretty quiet. The flip side is that when I spend most of a day to get to a wonderful far away state park it’s pretty frustrating to have a small plane buzzing me, on the rare times it occurs in those parks.