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Thread: Ramp checks on private property

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    Default Ramp checks on private property

    Is it legal for FAA to conduct ramp checks on private property? Wouldn't they have to get a warrant like any other enforcement body to conduct a search on private property?

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    Member mit's Avatar
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    It was always my understanding that they needed permission to come on private property. But I'm not an internet lawyer or an expert at anything and opinions only carry weight if you are a climatologist.................
    Tim

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    I have heard of it on well traveled beaches, I can't imagine private property. But then I couldn't imagine beaches either until it happened.


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    If you have no trespassing signs up than they cannot I believe. Heard of a Faa guy getting called into the troopers for trespassing on a private neighborhood strip here in the valley. The caller didn't know it was an Faa guy, until the trooper called him back. He was told to leave the premise immediately anyways. Im not a lawyer but if they are snooping around my cabin strip they better have a warrant.

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    That is good to know that Alaskans are in alignment on this issue. I will likely be operating out of a private strip in the future and I have heard of horror stories of FAA gone wild after some incident at Wasilla a number of years back (it might have been alot of years back at this point). My documents are up to date but who wants to be put on the spot, its like nazi's asking to see your papers, would kinda ruin my day.

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    So you started a thread about something that has not happened ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    So you started a thread about something that has not happened ?
    That may be true, but it is a good question. Without an invitation or a warrant, an FAA representative is not allowed on your private property for any reason. If invited, he has only the right to examine the airplane's documents, and you may refuse to show him your pilot certificate. Unless the engine is running, which then means you are "operating an aircraft."

    I was once on a controlled airport, changing an O-ring on the brake system. Two FAA folks approached me and asked if I owned the airplane. With my name and company logo obviously apparent on the exterior of the plane. I told them that I did. Then when they asked what I was doing, I told them that I was changing an O-ring in the brake hydraulic system. They then asked to see my pilot license, and I refused. They just went away . . . They knew their legal limits and so did I.

  8. #8

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    So you are only required to show your pilot certificate if the engine is or was seen running?

  9. #9

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    Yes, unless you were on a public strip and they personally witnessed you operating the aircraft or flying it. If your a mechanic I don't know the legalities of it but you do not need a license at all to taxi a plane all day long. Its just a motor vehicle at that point, it would be like needing a pilots license to operate an airboat. Just because it has the potential to fly doesn't mean you need the license if you do not operate it as such. Example being a CDL truck on your own land or a motorcycle license at the motocross track.

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    Thanks for the tip!

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    If u guys are scared of a ramp check, you probably need to do things different.
    It's not some invasion of rights. It's a simple inspection. They have a job to do. So do you
    I'm speaking as someone who's been ramped many times. Not much easier in life. Take it easy.

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    While not on topic to private property I had a fed pull up to me at paws while i was changing a starter solenoid. I was kink of worried for a minute never having been ramped, but he was a great guy and just seeing what i was doing got him talking about other stuff and airplanes and the weather. He hung out for probably a half hour talking and never once asked to look in the plane, or my license, or logs, or anything even related to a ramp check. I told a few friends about that and they all say that was pretty much a ramp check!

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    I get ramped all the time. It always turns in a nice conversation and then I score some training aids from them. I have never had a negative experience with a ramp check.
    I also do BFRs & seaplane ratings for more than a few FAA folks . Most of them are just trying to pay the bills like everyone else. But every agency has a few hard cases.

    By the way, only showing your pilots license is no longer the correct answer. There have been a LOT of changes since 9/2011 and the introduction of the Homeland Security and TSA.
    (FAR) 61.3, Requirements for Certificates, Ratings, and Authorizations, states that each person who acts as pilot in command or as a required pilot crewmember must have three documents in that person's physical possession or readily accessible: a valid pilot certificate or special purpose authorization, a photo identification (such as a driver's license, government ID, passport, armed forces ID, or airport security ID), and a current and appropriate medical certificate.
    Then, FAR 61.3(l) states, Each person who holds an airman certificate, medical certificate, authorization, or license required by this part must present it and their photo identification as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section for inspection upon a request from:

    • The administrator;
    • An authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board;
    • Any federal, state, or local law enforcement officer; or
    • An authorized representative of the Transportation Security Administration.
    • .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ................................
    • Be aware that there is no legal requirement that you engage in any sort of discussion with the inspector. Your legal obligations are to present your certificates and identification to the inspector for inspection, nothing more. And, the inspector is obligated to return the certificates and identification to you. The inspector does not have any legal authority to take custody of your certificates, no matter what may have occurred, unless you are voluntarily surrendering your certificates to the inspector for cancellation
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    I get ramped all the time. It always turns in a nice conversation and then I score some training aids from them. I have never had a negative experience with a ramp check.
    I also do BFRs & seaplane ratings for more than a few FAA folks . Most of them are just trying to pay the bills like everyone else. But every agency has a few hard cases.

    By the way, only showing your pilots license is no longer the correct answer. There have been a LOT of changes since 9/2011 and the introduction of the Homeland Security and TSA.
    (FAR) 61.3, Requirements for Certificates, Ratings, and Authorizations, states that each person who acts as pilot in command or as a required pilot crewmember must have three documents in that person's physical possession or readily accessible: a valid pilot certificate or special purpose authorization, a photo identification (such as a driver's license, government ID, passport, armed forces ID, or airport security ID), and a current and appropriate medical certificate.
    Then, FAR 61.3(l) states, Each person who holds an airman certificate, medical certificate, authorization, or license required by this part must present it and their photo identification as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section for inspection upon a request from:

    • The administrator;
    • An authorized representative of the National Transportation Safety Board;
    • Any federal, state, or local law enforcement officer; or
    • An authorized representative of the Transportation Security Administration.
    • .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ................................
    • Be aware that there is no legal requirement that you engage in any sort of discussion with the inspector. Your legal obligations are to present your certificates and identification to the inspector for inspection, nothing more. And, the inspector is obligated to return the certificates and identification to you. The inspector does not have any legal authority to take custody of your certificates, no matter what may have occurred, unless you are voluntarily surrendering your certificates to the inspector for cancellation
    The requirement to show your FAA documents are only when "acting as" a PIC or crew member. If you're just standing around by your airplane at its tiedown area, you may legally just stick your hands in your pockets and walk away. Consider for a moment that you are NOT operating your airplane, which is in a static condition, and you no longer have a current medical certificate, what do you suggest? At that point, it's still none of the FAA's business. I've had my share of ramp checks, and have had only one that included truly rude FAA personnel. That's the one I chose not to just follow along. I don't need to countenance rude people.

    If the engine is running, and I'm belted in, I'll shut 'er down and be happy to comply . . .

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    They always see me while landing and taxiing onto the ramp, so I guess I never thought about what I would do if I was just out turning wrenches. They never come over when I am doing nothing.... I run into so many rude people out in the woods, including govt people, that being back at home base has never been a problem. Not saying that it might not be some day.
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    Ramp checks are just part of the flying game, it's really not the same as getting pulled over by a LEO, just smile and it's over quick.

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    For those that are regularly ramped, do the ramp checks often involve "stuff" beyond the certificates? Asked about W&B, fuel on board, etc?

    Just curious; my one ramp check back in the mists of time was a two minute exercise that ended upon producing a valid medical and certificate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa12drvr View Post
    For those that are regularly ramped, do the ramp checks often involve "stuff" beyond the certificates? Asked about W&B, fuel on board, etc?

    Just curious; my one ramp check back in the mists of time was a two minute exercise that ended upon producing a valid medical and certificate.
    First off how have u been?
    Yes just what you remember basically.
    "AROW" plus medical and license. Pretty scary stuff.
    Maybe a couple questions out of curiosity stuff. "How do u like the stol kit". Alot of the guys there now are "us" -- flying their planes on the weekend.
    ...tho I've heard we are fortunate here in SC....

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-HUNT View Post
    If u guys are scared of a ramp check, you probably need to do things different.
    It's not some invasion of rights. It's a simple inspection. They have a job to do. So do you
    I'm speaking as someone who's been ramped many times. Not much easier in life. Take it easy.
    yea you are a hero!
    Tim

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    A couple of issues to remember, they are looking at you as the pilot and at your aircraft for airworthiness. You need the documents for both you and the Aircraft... If you are on skis, you need a wt & balance showing that configurations empty wt & CG. Same for wheels & floats. No big deal, just make sure you have them with you. Remember ARROW?

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