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Flying in the USA

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I was just looking at taking a trip to the States some time next year. I'd love to try out some flying over there. Does anyone know what the rules/laws are regarding ppm over there?

I'll be heading for California mainly, though we might try and take in some other areas too. Obviously flying over there will be dependent on me finding enough decent weather days between now and then to get some decent hours in.

Is there some kind of licencing system for ppg over there?

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ScoobySnacks, I'm an expat brit living in CA. Ping me for some flying site on the west coast and an introduction to the NorCal flying crowd. What time of year? Maybe there is a fly-in you could attend?

Regulation in the US for foot launched PPG is very relaxed. We fly under FAR "Part 103-Ultralight Vehicles" and technically are not classified as aircraft, but vehicles instead. That said, FAR 103 is deliberately ambiguous, so basically any public complaint could cause problems. Essentially: don't take passengers, don't fly over gatherings of people, keep out of restricted airspace. That's about it.

One thing to remember on the CA coast is that there are a number of State parks with 500' minimum altitude for aircraft (remember what I said about vehicle/aircraft designation) and NOAA with 1000' minimum altitude that regulates all flying things from high tide mark out to sea. Don't mess with NOAA and respect the state parks/rangers even if technically legal. There have been one or two bozos (Dell Schanze for example) who has disrepected our simple restrictions and has single handedly managed to get entire stretches of the Oregon coastline shutdown to PPG.

This is brilliant site for viewing / downloading airspace maps for your GPS: http://www.maddyhome.com/ctr/

and this for NOAA: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/flight/mbnms.html

BTW The PPG Bible is IMHO essential reading. Jeff Goin has done more of the sport in the US than probably anyone else and his book is full of useful info and tips.


- Paul.

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Paul, excellent info!

Where abouts in CA are you? We'd be based around either Concord area or Sonoma county. Not sure when we'll be heading over, had a bit of a windfall so just trying to work out what best to spend it on (other than training etc.)

I will definitely contact you when I know dates. It may be that I don't get enough hours in before we go over to get any flying done, but would still be good to meet up.



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Matt, I'm near Santa Cruz. Concord is not far ... it's all the "Bay Area". There is a big flying community centered in Sacramento (check out the sodflyers group on Yahoo Groups). Mike Robertson (Black Hawk paramotors) has a ranch about an hour or so north. If your are not fully flying, you could continue your training there. There is a great/safe ridge soaring free flying spot at Mussel Rock aka the dumps, as well as Sand City dunes near Monterey, and a motor launch I just learned about at Half Moon Bay. The sodflyers crowd could recommend a ton more. Send me a PM and I give you my contact info.


- Paul.

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