SirDeath
Topic Author
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:45 am

Minimum Altitude An Aircraft Must Fly

Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:55 pm

What is the minimum altitude an aircraft must be built to fly at in order to require FAA certification, an N-number, an pilot's license, etc? I'm wondering because of hovercraft. Small personal hovercraft are 6" to 1' (15cm - 30 cm) off the ground. Larger craft even more so, but so far as I know people who operate these as a hobby don't have the aforementioned FAA credentials. Are they technically in violation, or is there some exception?
 
A342
Posts: 4017
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: Minimum Altitude An Aircraft Must Fly

Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:58 pm

A hovercraft only "flies" within ground effect, so it is not a real aircraft. Therefore I suppose that any manned vehicle that can fly out of ground effect would be considered an aircraft.
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
AustrianZRH
Posts: 844
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:55 pm

RE: Minimum Altitude An Aircraft Must Fly

Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:58 pm

I guess there is some ruling that the vehicle must be able to maintain a given altitude (over MSL) without any conditions to the terrain below. That would exclude hovercraft, as they are always some given distance from the ground, not a given altitude over MSL.

But maybe nobody has ever asked this question before and there is no jurisdiction about that. I'm just speculating here  Smile.
WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
 
A342
Posts: 4017
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: Minimum Altitude An Aircraft Must Fly

Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:08 pm



Quoting AustrianZRH (Reply 2):
I guess there is some ruling that the vehicle must be able to maintain a given altitude (over MSL) without any conditions to the terrain below. That would exclude hovercraft,

And gliders.  Wink
Exceptions confirm the rule.

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