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A flight instructor i met with recently said that flying ultralight over national parks is a crime. The law section of the powered paragliders bible has nothing on parks.

One would think that commercial vehicles wouldn't be needing to plan around parks above a certain altitude. But ultralight vehicles may have different regulations.

After further reading into the book, it says "almost all state and federal parks prohibit launching aircraft and ultralights except at airports." Nothing about flying though

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of What is the legal altitude to fly through Yosemite Valley (US)? $\endgroup$ – GdD Aug 10 '17 at 8:22
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    $\begingroup$ There's no law against flying over a national park, the gov't would like you to keep above 2000ft agl for noise abatement reasons. As someone who likes national parks so would I. $\endgroup$ – GdD Aug 10 '17 at 8:26
  • $\begingroup$ The answer in the Yosemite question is broad, @mins, and I do think it answers this one. $\endgroup$ – GdD Aug 10 '17 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ @GdD I don't think it's a dupe. This is asking about FAR 103 regulation aircraft. the other one seems to be commercial. $\endgroup$ – tuskiomi Aug 10 '17 at 13:16
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There are no regulations that prohibit operating an ultralight (or any other aircraft) over a national park. We have a similar question about Yosemite and the same general answer would apply to any other national park.

For ultralights specifically, the regulations are in 14 CFR 103 which has only a few very simple restrictions on where ultralights can operate. 103.15 says you can't operate over a congested area or a crowd of people and other restrictions are the obvious ones: don't fly near airports without ATC approval, don't enter restricted airspace, and do follow NOTAMs.

That means that - as with the Yosemite question above - it comes down to whether the national park in question is a congested area or not. Realistically, most parks where you might want to fly an ultralight probably aren't, so it's very likely that you can fly over them at any altitude you like: part 91 doesn't apply to ultralights, so the minimum altitudes mentioned in the Yosemite question wouldn't matter.

There's also AC 91-36 to consider, which requests pilots to stay voluntarily above 2000' AGL. I don't know whether it's meant to include ultralights (it's a part 91 AC) but it doesn't really matter because the general guidance is definitely applicable to anything that flies:

The intent of the 2,000 feet AGL recommendation is to reduce potential interference with wildlife and complaints of noise disturbances caused by low flying aircraft over noise-sensitive areas

As you already mentioned, there might be restrictions on taking off and landing in a park or other public areas (that's an issue for seaplanes, helicopters and bush pilots too), but those would be non-FAA regulations.

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  • $\begingroup$ Cool! I know it isn't respectful to buzz around at low altitudes, and with all parks being different, I do plan on asking. That in mind, The law needs to be cleared first. $\endgroup$ – tuskiomi Aug 10 '17 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ How did a pilot measures 2000m AGL? Normally we measured ASL, as it normally done by any measurements. $\endgroup$ – AirCraft Lover Dec 29 '18 at 3:59
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The use of mechanized items, which UAS, ultralights and other aircraft are considered are prohibited from Congressionally Designated Wilderness areas.

That designation does not appear on a sectional chart, but can be queried from the supervisor for the park or forest. As far as I know, overflights, particularly those by manned aircraft are not prohibited, but launch, recovery or operation from the wilderness area is prohibited.

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Pilot regulations are under part 91. Violations are under part 61. You might be flying under part 103 but the answer is yes and ultralight vehicle is not a certified aircraft but the answer is yes you are still required to follow the federal minimum prescribes under CFR the codified federal rules. Just because your meeting the requirements of part 103 does not mean those are the only requirements. An ultra-light is considered a vehicle. But an ultra-light is still an aircraft. There are different types of aircrafts. Don't get mistaken and and up foot dragging down the highway. Because I promise you I've seen in 20 years I've seen plenty guys end up with some images of over $1,000 and having their equipment taken because they don't gain the concept.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE. I'm sorry, but this does not seem to answer the question "what regulations are there?" It mentions that some regulations are in place, but does not provide any detail that was not available in the other answers. $\endgroup$ – Federico Mar 13 '18 at 6:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico I'd say it's more info than a comment should have, even if incomplete, it adds to the knowledgebase. $\endgroup$ – tuskiomi Mar 13 '18 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ Operations are under part 91, and pilots and aircrew are generally under 61. It is not accurate to say that violations are under part 61. In fact many violations are of Part 91. Now specific to the question, designated wilderness areas and the use of mechanized devices within, is not in 14CFR. $\endgroup$ – mongo Mar 18 '18 at 20:27

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