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3 Answers

Flight over water

Asked by: 7410 views ,
General Aviation, Student Pilot

I am planning a VFR flight from KILG New Castle County, DE. to KORF, Norfolk, VA. I have chosen an eastern shore route through Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. This will enable me to avoid the DC SFRA and various "R" restricted areas in between and is the most sensible in terms of VFR landmarks and Nav aids.  My concern is the 15nm over the bay between Fisherman's Island and the Norfolk Airport.  Based on the magnetic course altitude requirements for VFR flight I will be at even thousands +500 i.e. 4500, 6500, or 8500.  My airplane is a C-172S. I was not planning to fly that high but at an altitude of 6,500 feet using a ( best case ) glide ratio of 9:1 I get a glide distance of 9.6 miles which appears to be within legal limits without the required safety equipment. The plane is a rental,(flight school aircraft), so I believe 91.205 applies if we were to fly at lower altitude.  It is my opinion that it might be a good idea to include the approved flotation gear for each occupant and the pyrotechnic signaling device as required by 91.205 regardless of altitude because it provides an extra margin of safety.
    My questions are as follows:
    1. Do you agree with my calculations and assumptions?
    2. What would you do?

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3 Answers

  1. Jeff on Mar 18, 2011

    Are you operating the aircraft for hire? (i.e. are you getting paid and/or otherwise compensated for the flight? If not, I’m pretty sure 91.205 (12) does not apply. The relevant FAR for a Private Pilot flying over water is 91.509, which states “(a) No person may take off an airplane for a flight over water more than 50 nautical miles from the nearest shore unless that airplane is equipped with a life preserver or an approved flotation means for each occupant of the airplane.”

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  2. Wes Beard on Mar 18, 2011

    Jeff is correct.  91.205(b)(12) does not apply.  The “for hire” language deals with the pilot and not the airplane.  You can see a previous post of mine where I figure that out with an FAA interpretation.  It is wise to have that equipment on board but not required.  Enjoy the flight.

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  3. Micah on Mar 20, 2011

    Bill, in response to question #1, isn’t your 9.6nm calculation the radius of your power-off-gliding distance? In a calm wind situation (which you won’t have, of course) that should allow you to cross the 15nm stretch of water and remain within power-off-gliding distance of the shore (which should require a 7.5nm radius). Of course, that doesn’t mean that you are within gliding distance of a safe place to land–that’s a slightly different question.

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