NYC traffic is so horrendous that it would be pretty convenient to be able to take off with a powered parachute (PPC) from the top of a building or from a park and be able to fly above all the traffic to your destination. I'm wondering if anyone has any insight into this.

I know the class B extends to the surface in upper Manhattan but how about downtown? Class B starts at 1100' (plenty of space for a PPC); could one fly around there without talking to anyone? Also, could one potentially get a class B clearance to fly around at low altitudes in upper Manhattan?

Finally, does anyone know how much space a PPC can take off in? Is there any way a STOL PPC could take off from an NYC rooftop (or more realistically an open space such as Central Park)?

Don't give this question too much thought, just something fun to consider. I think the real limitation would be regs here, even if you could go to the Great Lawn or something to take off.

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    $\begingroup$ Wouldn't the random turbulent air flows around buildings be too dangerous? $\endgroup$ Nov 14, 2017 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ What exactly do you mean by "powered parachute"? The FAA's PPC Handbook says "A powered parachute can be a single place ultralight flying vehicle, a single place light-sport aircraft, or a multi-place light-sport aircraft". That means operating it could be under part 103 or part 91, and those regulations are very different. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Dec 29, 2018 at 4:44

2 Answers 2


Pretty simple, powered parachutes fall under the ultralight vehicle category, which is 14 CFR 103:

14 CFR 103.15 Operations over congested areas.:

No person may operate an ultralight vehicle over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons.

And Also:

14 CFR 103.17 Operations in certain airspace.

No person may operate an ultralight vehicle within Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from the ATC facility having jurisdiction over that airspace.

It is highly unlikely that you would get a waiver to fly your PPC in the Manhattan Class-B, even if 103.15 didn't preclude it in the first place. You can fly in Class-B in certain areas, but you do need to be talking to ATC.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think there's anything stopping you from registering a PPC as an experimental aircraft, provided it was suitably built by an amateur or designated for R&D. Then it wouldn't be subject to the Part 103 limitations. One would have to have a pilot's license in the appropriate category to fly it, and it might still come with FAA-issued Operating Limitations that would disallow flight over congested areas. $\endgroup$ Nov 14, 2017 at 3:15
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    $\begingroup$ I don't believe you can, it wouldn't pass FAA inspections, but even if you could, there is still 14 CFR 91.319: "(c) Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator in special operating limitations, no person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate over a densely populated area or in a congested airway. " I don't think it's impossible, but companies like Uber have a legal regulation fight with the FAA before they start UAV taxi services anywhere like NYC or LA. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Nov 14, 2017 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ Wait, then how does Iron Man do it? $\endgroup$ Nov 14, 2017 at 5:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Harper Pretty sure Iron Man doesn't obey the laws of physics or thermodynamics, much less the laws of man. Even then, Tony Stark doesn't have much regard for laws anyway, and enough money to pay off whatever bill the government sends him. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Nov 14, 2017 at 5:47

A power parachute is a N number plane a powered paraglider Ultralight so if you are flying to power parachute you can ask for permission you just need the right type of radio and a transponder

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! If you're new to the site you might like to take the tour to see how it works. As a Q&A site, we try to find the single best answer to each question, so we generally prefer to see references and sources where possible. In this case, links to the definition of "powered parachute" and the applicable regulations would improve your answer $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Dec 29, 2018 at 4:47

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