If I own a helicopter and am appropriately rated, can I land the helicopter anywhere that isn't private property, and is a safe place to land (clear of obstructions, appropriate surface, etc.)?

My question is specifically about the regulatory requirements to land a helicopter off-airport in the United States.


3 Answers 3


Per §91.119 of the FARs, yes. That said, you can't just find an open field-there may be local/state regulations regarding helicopter operations.

14 CFR 91.119:

(1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA

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    $\begingroup$ So it sounds like the FAA regulates you all the way to the ground and then it becomes a different agency jurisdiction. I guess I just dreamed of having a helicopter, seeing something cool and landing to take a closer look. Probably can't just do that on a whim then. That's cool, I'll stick with fixed wing :) $\endgroup$
    – Canuk
    Dec 27, 2013 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ FYI, you aren't allowed to just land a fixed wing aircraft to take a closer look, either - and it's WAY trickier to land one vertically in a field (or rather, it's really easy, but it tends to significantly damage the aircraft, the field, and you) $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Nov 28, 2014 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ 91.119 doesn't answer the question because the reg starts out: "Except when necessary for takeoff or landing", and this is a question specifically about landings. $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Jan 1, 2015 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ This answer is correct for rural areas, you can land in the country without formality. The general case is FAA doesn't prohibit landing if the crew follows flight rules (e.g, there may be a flight path to be followed in certain areas), but FAA doesn't grant anybody the right to land everywhere either except on public use airfields. This is a matter of property owner permission. Most of land is owned by some organization, e.g. the municipality. Permission must be obtained prior to trying to land. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Sep 2, 2021 at 19:44

It all depends on the exact location. You need the Federal, State, Local, USFS, Zoning, etc... If you have a spot you'd like to land at, you need to start doing the research early and make sure you don't forget any agency or possible owner before you land. Just because the land owner says it's ok, doesn't mean you won't get into serious trouble with someone else.

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    $\begingroup$ What is the way to know which agencies might require approval? Is there an online mapping system that can tell you? $\endgroup$
    – bovine
    Dec 29, 2013 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ @bovine unfortunately, it various by jurisdiction, and there's no one single source. best bet would be to contact a local helicopter operation in the locality in which you want to land. they are usually up on the local regs. $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Jan 1, 2015 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ There is no online mapping which gathers all available restrictions. Furthermore, some restrictions are not in law, but in policy or regulations of the agnecy (eg National Parks). Further complicating things are zoning, which is not necessarily published but may be documented in sub-division approval. Then there are local laws, which may not be published, but may (in one case I am familiar with) be in the town board meetings minutes. How can anyone search all these unknown sources? The FAA claims authority over the airspace, but not on the underlying land. $\endgroup$
    – mongo
    Oct 24, 2017 at 18:08

There is a big warning in the lower left corner of every print/FAA digital sectional (Detroit for example) about all the places you can't land to give you a starting point. Other countries may have different rules.

Basically it works out to any place you really would like to land, unless you ask for permission that you may not get.

You can see the full details of everything I dug up for another answer here.


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