legal to takeoff from closed airport

noslonlo

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I am at an airport that is closed from 4:30pm to 6am local due to construction at the end of the runway. I know that I can "safely" takeoff there, I'm asking if it's "legal". Anyone who could site a source would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

MauleSkinner

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It now becomes an "off-airport" operation...it can be made legal, but there's a whole other can of worms there. Insurance/liability issues, probably some state statutes including "permission from the landowner" (that's what it says in MN), county, city, and township statutes...

Fly safe!

David
 

satpak77

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dude

forget "legal"

ask youself, "Will Insurance Pay if something happens"

there is your answer

as far as FAA Chief Counsel opinion, I don't have it, but you can bet that fresh CFI ticket that if it is NOTAM'ed closed, you can be charged with Careless and Reckless operation.

If it was an air ambulance flight with a dying baby onboard and it was 2 minutes into closed status, and you took off enroute to the hospital (you already determined it was "safe"), thats one thing and the FSDO would look at it as such. But absent life/death circumstances (literally) you do your ticket a favor to not fly when its closed.
 

A Squared

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vclean said:
FAR 91.13, for one.
It's not inherently reckless. I can land and take off on a 700 ft sandbar in a river (and yes, I have) and it's not reckless, yet to take off from a 5000' (for example) paved runway with the last 50 ft barricaded is reckless? Interesting.

Oh by the way, I have operated from closed runways, with the full knowledge (but not clearence) of the tower. The only thing the tower said was " takeoff/landing will be at your own risk " which of course they all are anyway.
 

satpak77

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A Squared said:
It's not inherently reckless. I can land and take off on a 700 ft sandbar in a river (and yes, I have) and it's not reckless, yet to take off from a 5000' (for example) paved runway with the last 50 ft barricaded is reckless? Interesting.
What I would be concerned with is the FAA interpretation of the operations in question, not anyone elses. They issue the "pass" into this club, called a pilots license, they enforce it and taketh away, not you, me, or the members on this site.
 

ackattacker

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I'm not sure about his one, but for a part 91 operation I think you'll find it's probably legal to take off. But you're taking a risk, an inspector might be able to throw careless and reckless at you depending upon the circumstances.

I once witnessed a GIII get taxi clearance in a blinding snowstorm. vis was 1/8 mile and snow was accumulating faster than the plows could keep up. The Gulfstream had been deicing for 20 minutes and a half dozen people were shoveling out the wheels because it kept getting stuck, even though plows were plowing right in front of it. The tower eventually came back with "operations has just informed us the field is closed". The GIII pilot had some choice words about how much they just spend on deicing, but he shut down and his VIPs deplaned and drove off in their limo (of course, 10 minutes later the snow stopped and the field reopened).

I later talked to one of the tower controllers. He told me that the plane could still have left legally. (I'm not sure if the tower would coordinate his IFR release, however). He explained that it was a liability issue. Operations closed the field so that they have no legal responsibility for the safety of the runway. And the tower essentially closes so they have no legal responsibility, it becomes an uncontrolled field. The GIII could still have taken off "at his own risk", but in the event of an accident the controllers and airport management would be off the hook.
 

414Flyer

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ackattacker said:
I later talked to one of the tower controllers. He told me that the plane could still have left legally. (I'm not sure if the tower would coordinate his IFR release, however). He explained that it was a liability issue. Operations closed the field so that they have no legal responsibility for the safety of the runway. And the tower essentially closes so they have no legal responsibility, it becomes an uncontrolled field. The GIII could still have taken off "at his own risk", but in the event of an accident the controllers and airport management would be off the hook.
I had a similar discussion with a tower controller on this subject. I was coming back into Santa Fe NM after a forest fire Air Attack flight in a Cessna 340, and where the airport had been, all i saw was a big dust cloud there, and ATIS was reporting winds 35-40...

I made one or two attempts to land on the runway with the least crosswind, and went around. On the last attempt, I was able to land it on that same runway, and the controller had mentioned on that attempt, that the closed runway was into the wind, but he could not clear me for it, it was at my own risk if I want to attempt it.

Afterwards I talked to him about and it asked about landing on the closed runway. He said that if someone had to land on it because they did something stupid, then he might very well report it to FAA. But if it was a situation like mine, then he would not have reported anything.
 

FN FAL

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vclean said:
FAR 91.13, for one.
That's usually what people say when they don't know anything better to say.
 

FN FAL

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satpak77 said:
If it was an air ambulance flight with a dying baby onboard and it was 2 minutes into closed status, and you took off enroute to the hospital (you already determined it was "safe"), thats one thing and the FSDO would look at it as such. But absent life/death circumstances (literally) you do your ticket a favor to not fly when its closed.
You can jeopardize a flight nurse and baby's life by deciding to take off on a closed runway, but you can't make the decision for yourself? Hahahaha...good one. What 135 operator does that kind of stuff?

Simple answer, get the airport managers permission to take off on the taxiway or the remaining usable runway and be done with it.

I been landing on a runway with construction equipement on it all summer...and it's notam'd closed except for 15 minute PPR. I tried to get ahold of them people each and every time, but they only answered a few days out of the many that I called.

Mesaba's been flying off of that runway all along as well.
 

Vector4fun

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I think, like one of the other posters, you've got several issues to deal with. Who owns the airport? If it's the city/county, you might just find yourself under arrest for "endangering" some of their workmen if they are present. The city/county could report you for an unsafe operation to FSDO.

The controller's handbook covers such an operation at a controlled field, but I personally wouldn't want to authorize such an operation unless I though it affected safety of flight. (For example, the very strong X-wind) Take-off? I doubt it. I'll give you the phone number to airport Ops and let you plead your case with them, see if they'd open it for 5 minutes, but I can't think of a reason to approve, even indirectly, a TO from a closed runway. I don't usually even have radio communication with all the trucks and equipment that may be operating on or near a closed runway. One could drive on at any time from several different points. FAA controllers can declare a runway "unsafe", but we can't close a runway, only the airport owner/operator can do that.




From the FAA 7110.65 Controller's Handbook:


3-3-2. CLOSED/UNSAFE RUNWAY INFORMATION
If an aircraft requests to takeoff, land, or touch-and-go on a closed or unsafe runway, inform the pilot the runway is closed or unsafe, and
a. If the pilot persists in his/her request, quote him/her the appropriate parts of the NOTAM applying to the runway and inform him/her that a clearance cannot be issued.

b. Then, if the pilot insists and in your opinion the intended operation would not adversely affect other traffic, inform him/her that the operation will be at his/her own risk.


PHRASEOLOGY-
RUNWAY (runway number) CLOSED/UNSAFE.

If appropriate, (quote NOTAM information),

UNABLE TO ISSUE DEPARTURE/LANDING/TOUCH- AND-GO CLEARANCE.
DEPARTURE/LANDING/TOUCH-AND-GO WILL BE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
 

FN FAL

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Vector4fun said:
From the FAA 7110.65 Controller's Handbook:


3-3-2. CLOSED/UNSAFE RUNWAY INFORMATION

If an aircraft requests to takeoff, land, or touch-and-go on a closed or unsafe runway, inform the pilot the runway is closed or unsafe, and...


b. Then, if the pilot insists and in your opinion the intended operation would not adversely affect other traffic, inform him/her that the operation will be at his/her own risk.

What a concept, it's almost as if the ATC assume risk responsiblity for your takeoff, land, or touch-and-go, under other conditions. :eek:
 

Vector4fun

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FN FAL said:
[/left]
[/indent]What a concept, it's almost as if the ATC assume risk responsiblity for your takeoff, land, or touch-and-go, under other conditions. :eek:
Ummm, I've actually seen a couple "arrivals" that had me looking for cover in the Tower... :eek:

I knew a Supe once that was working at ABQ years ago when a Century series fighter hit the Tracon. I forget which model, but it must have happened back in the '60s.
 

smellthejeta

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Funny this topic comes up...

The airport I work at has had some construction going over a couple of months this summer, which has closed the airfield at night during the week. This particular airfield has 24 hour airport ops people on field, and that definitely is who makes the call for ANYBODY. It got really fun one night when we had a certain high profile political figure want to come in after the airfield was closed. I had one guy want to take off during the closure... I told him that the runway was unlit and there were construction vehicles that may or may not be visible on the runway. That got his attention! Can you imagine if he crashed on takeoff and his response was "the line guy said it was okay"? It also got interesting when we had a beechjet roll of the end of the runway and ops shut the airfield down. We then had an inbound lifeguard flight who needed to get in. Ops eventually let him in, but they were extremely paranoid in doing so. The a/c had run off the runway during a bit of +TSRA and the LAST thing they wanted to do was "permit" a lifeguard trip in while the runway was still closed. Who would get hung out to dry if THAT a/c had a problem coming in?

For those who say that 91.13 is the excuse people use when they can't find a better reason not to do anything, well, that's what the FAA uses so what's the problem here? Our opinion doesn't count. Besides, I cannot see what logic could be used in front of the FAA when arguing that departing from a NOTAM'd closed runway is NOT careless/reckless/dangerous.
 

Flibmeister

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FAA-legal, yes. For example, Meigs was closed at night, but the FAA never got involved on the numerous occasions pilots used it after dark-- that was strictly a City of Chicago thing. Cops would actually write tickets to pilots that landed there when it was closed.

I've personally departed on closed runways twice: first time at FNT when all three runways were closed for various reasons. I knew that 9/27 was closed solely due to construction on the approach end of 27, so I departed 27 from an intersection (in an Cherokee 180) after the required back-and-forth with the tower as quoted above. No repercussions.

Second time was at Palwaukee when the airport was closed due to flooding. The first 2000 feet of runway 16 was underwater (and expected to be that way for days), and LOTS of us took off on the remaining runway, just to get off the airport. Tower even put the "takeoff will be at your own risk" phraseology on the ATIS. No repercussions.

If either of those situations had gone sour, I have no doubt that there would have been repercussions, in the form of a "careless and reckless" charge-- but most FAA folks seem to go by "no harm, no foul". They rarely pursue an isolated incident, even if it shows questionable judgement, if it turns out to be uneventful.
 

ackattacker

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FN FAL said:
[/left]
[/indent]What a concept, it's almost as if the ATC assume risk responsiblity for your takeoff, land, or touch-and-go, under other conditions. :eek:
They do, in a sense. It's been explained to me that after an accident the accident investigators actually divide up the blame on a percentage basis, i.e. tower control 25% pilot 50% maintenance 25% etc. In the event of an accident attributed to unsafe field conditions then the investigators may very well assign a percentage of blame to ATC for issueing a takeoff clearance on a runway they knew to be unsafe. Example would be you take off into wind shear and crash. If the tower controller had access to information that they didn't give you, such as a LLWS alert, recent pirep, or recent heavy aircraft departure then they would be assigned a percentage of blame.
 

yzf6

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ackattacker said:
divide up the blame on a percentage basis, i.e. tower control 25% pilot 50% maintenance 25% etc.
cool, if you ever have half an accident just say your 50% of the blame hadn't taken effect yet.
 

FN FAL

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smellthejeta said:
For those who say that 91.13 is the excuse people use when they can't find a better reason not to do anything, well, that's what the FAA uses so what's the problem here? Our opinion doesn't count. Besides, I cannot see what logic could be used in front of the FAA when arguing that departing from a NOTAM'd closed runway is NOT careless/reckless/dangerous.
For one, if you got permission from the airport management. Notam says runway closed except for 15 minute prior approval. By contacting airport management and getting the ppr...you are doing the same thing. Still doesn't change the fact that the runway is closed.

Two...nobody is saying just go out there and take off, steering around the parked cement trucks.

Three...

FAA wreckless operation is loss of license, possibly. If you crash, you'll still see the Feds in admin court. If you crash, you'll still see the local prosecutor in the culpable negligence or criminal negligence criminal trial. If you crash, you'll still be a defendant in a civil suit. Regardless of whether the runway is closed or not. Good day.
 

GravityHater

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Flibmeister said:
For example, Meigs was closed at night, .........................Cops would actually write tickets to pilots that landed there when it was closed
huh? They would leave the lights on at night even though it was closed? Sort of like baiting people into a 'ticket'?

PS I would not believe atc when they say anything is legal, or not legal.
No disrespect they are great at pushing tin but they are really not in a position to judge if something is legal or not. You really need someone in a suit to tell you that with any authority. (lawyer, judge)
 
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