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Land here no way it's illegal!!!

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Skirts Will Rise
Jan 17, 2002
Law: Landing an airplane on the beach is illegal.
Country: USA
State: Texas
City: Galveston

Citation: Sec. 8-11. Landing aircraft on beaches.

It shall be unlawful for any person to land or take off or operate any aircraft on the beach and what is commonly known as Seawall Boulevard except at heliports designated and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(Code 1960, § 4-30)

So what happens if this would be your only choice to crash into the sea.
Local ordinances notwithstanding, the supremacy clause of the constitution places the regulation of air operations over and above state or local statutes. Local municipalities, county, or state governments may regulate the land use of their assets, but may not infringe or alter the federal regulation as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (unless proven unconstitutional).

In this case, the City or State may certainly prohibit landings on the beach. However, in the event of an emergency, one must do what one must do. Certainly the pilot in command will have a good case for using the beach, especially if no other notification than the town ordinance is available for reference.

If the beach is populated or crowded, one may have a very difficult time explaining why one didn't ditch in the water or find an alternate forced landing site. In either case, one may be liable in civil and/or criminal court. While the CFR does provide some defense, it is not all-inclusive and does not relieve liability for negligence.

It's worth noting that while 14 CFR 91.3(b) does grant a great deal of lattitude in dealing with an emergency, it does not excuse or relieve civic duty to public safety, nor to the safety of those in the aircraft. A pilot may avoid administrative and even criminal litigation in many cases under the CFR, but may be entirely unable to sidestep any civil matters. Therefore, legal or not, it's still very much a judgement call, and the pilot is still fully liable for his or her actions...even if there's a big welcome sign on the beach saying, "land here."
There is a beach in Washington State that has a runway on the sand somewhere. There laws seem pretty relaxed. They allow cars on almost all of their beaches.
I would love to tell a story about myself, a British friend, a Cessna 140 and a bunch of girls partying on the beach at Galveston in the early 70's. But maybe I'll pass and just let you use your imagination,,,,,.....it was good.;)
I don't think you can land a plane on the beach in Galveston... there really is no beach left. It's just water and then the seawall anymore. Pretty crappy place now. Oh yeah, don't forget the roach infested hotels that line that "beach" too, you would probably do society a good deed by taking one of those out if you had to make an emergency landing.
Starchkr is right about landing along Seawall Blvd. There's not much beach left in that area. This person probably landed on East beach, if I had to guess. Also, this is probably a city thing. Knowing how power-hungry/abusive cities and counties can sometime be, it wasn't too smart landing where they routinely patrol.

Just fly up to Crysal Beach or South to Matagorda island if you feel the need to land on the beach. Galveston Island is getting so crowded, there just aren't many areas that are safe to land just for fun anyway. It's so crowded on warm weekends, you can't even buzz the beach for fear of some tourista snapping a picture of you and sending it to the ever-helpful government authorities.

As for landing on Seawall with an engine out... I'd much rather go for the surf. That road's always packed.

Turbo -

Things sure used to be different in Galveston... remember the stories about Balinese Room? You can't even drink on the beach now (in the city limits).
Hey Turbo7,

I just reread my post and it almost sounds like i was calling you out on the landing on the beach thing. I was just trying to make a statement about the current beach status, not about what it used to be back in the 70's. Hope you understand. Cool? :D

I wasn't joking about the hotels though....
The beach we landed on must be Crystal beach to the north it was a nice beach and that was 1974, that was a long time ago.
Thanks for the info on Galveston-no problem- I was trying to see if anyone knew about that nice beach north. I have only done it once a long time ago. In Alaska we landed on the beaches all the time.Thanks.

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