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If I had a plane that could take off and land in a short distance (eg., the SD-1 Minisport), do I have to use a recognized airport in order to land in the US? Or can I just land anywhere so long as it's class G airspace?

FYI, this question is for non-emergencies. IE., if I just wanted to land there because it was convenient.

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    $\begingroup$ Just make sure you're not trespassing... :) $\endgroup$ – falstro Jul 11 '14 at 17:32
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Landowner's permission is always required. Then check the municipal zoning regulations and the like - city, state regs etc. Then your insurance company. If all these points come up green, go do it.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that (fixed-wing) insurance policies often forbid landing anywhere that is not designated as an airport (or seaplane base). You can still do it, but if something goes wrong the insurance company won't pay your claim. (You can get this restriction removed from most policies - it's just a matter of money...) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jul 11 '14 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ So, basically, there's no FAA regulations on it. But there may be other objections? $\endgroup$ – Jay Carr Jul 11 '14 at 19:16
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    $\begingroup$ No FAA prohibition that I know of. But if you damage your plane or property on the ground, you may be looking at a "careless and reckless" charge from the FAA. And yes there may well be other objections. $\endgroup$ – Skip Miller Jul 11 '14 at 21:06
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You can land wherever you want as far as the aviation regulations are concerned. The airspace is irrelevant. You may, however, be breaking a range of different state laws. Generally speaking, the things to watch out for:

(1) Landing on private property without express permission is trespassing

(2) Landing anywhere a person would be likely to be may be reckless endangerment

(3) Landing in such a way that would cause an unnecessary emergency response can result in a charge for intentional or careless use of emergency services (you can avoid this by calling them ahead of time and telling them you do not need emergency services)

In general, you can land on any public land that is not a place someone else would be (like a road). If you land on a road without good reason, it could be construed as reckless.

In remote areas like Alaska landing off field is routine and occurs as a matter of course.

Pilots that fly in back woods areas and land off field all the time are called "bush pilots".

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    $\begingroup$ If you know the landowner you can land on private land as well. There are tons of private airstrips listed on sectionals for advisory/emergency purposes. Any mapped facility has to meet minimum FAA regs (mainly surface quality, clearance from surrounding development, weather indicators etc) so these are regularly maintained and fairly permanent, but if your buddy living on 100 acres out in BFE doesn't mind clearing and mowing one of his flatter pastures to make a surface you'd want to try to land/take off from, you can fly out to his farm and use his field as you would any other airstrip. $\endgroup$ – KeithS Aug 12 '15 at 17:17
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I land in my backyard regularly. It used to be that we could land on town roads years ago, but the laws changed. Without a ground crew it wasn't really safe.

There are three farms within a mile of me who have 2000+ foot grass strips, and they get regular visitors. My yard isn't groomed as much so thankfully few people drop in.

Some municipalities have created local ordinances against landing on site not approved by the town. The legality of those ordinances is not clear.

My homeowner's insurance does not care, as I do not advertise and encourage the public. My aircraft insurance does not have a restriction about uncharted or sod/dirt strips.

If you are new at the game, I suggest that you walk the field before hand, and already have experience landing on rougher grass or dirt.

The FAA is aware of my landing area, but I chose to not have it charted. Just adds to map clutter, and anyone in the area with an emergency has a ton of alternatives, most of which are better.

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