What are the laws for flight in a residential area. Can I just fly around the neighborhood or do I have to have a flight plan? I have my own strip. I have had some noise complaints about just flying back and forth around the neighborhood

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome! In which country? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ I doubt the people who are complaining are going to care whether or not you have a flight plan. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ 14 CFR 91.119 says 1,000 feet. $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ As well as which country, what exactly are you flying? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 20:50
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    $\begingroup$ [nitpicker] you'll find it quite difficult to fly in a residential area, you'll have more luck flying above it [/nitpicker] $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


I am going to assume you are asking about regulations as they pertain to the U.S. and the FAA. abelenky is on the right path. 14 CFR 91.119 states that that over a congested area, i.e. your neighborhood area, you must stay at least 1,000 feet AGL. The only exceptions would be of course for purposes of takeoff, landing, and remaining in the traffic pattern, if the traffic pattern is set at less than 1,000 feet AGL.

As far as having a flight plan goes, as long as the flight remains under VFR conditions and does not cross into the Washington DC FRZ/SFRA areas or cross the ADIZ you are under no regulatory requirement to file a flight plan.
Though a flight plan is still highly recommended any time you are flying away from the vicinity of the airport (generally considered more than 25nm) or no one else knows you are flying.

As far as the noise complaints, I have a few recommendations

  • Use a lower power setting IF POSSIBLE.
    Using a lower power setting will help keep down the noise.
  • Choose to stay at a higher altitude rather than at the minimum 1,000 feet AGL
  • Try to fly out a little further and give some time between your passes over the neighborhood.
  • Offer to take some of those neighbors on a flight! Often times once people with complaints about aviation will stop complaining once they see how much fun it is.

Hope this helps!


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