Can a pilot legally land a private helicopter in a private subdivision?

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    $\begingroup$ Per the FAA, per local zoning regulations, or per the HOA? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ Well, my point is you may get a good answer yet regarding FAA regs, (I don't believe there are any federal restrictions on landing on private property even in a non-emergency because that question has come up here before in case you want to search...) but we don't even know if FAA regs apply because you haven't said where this is. (My US-centric view just presumed.) Anyway, there are so many possible jurisdictions even besides the ones I mentioned in my comment that this will be tough to answer. (state, county, city, etc.) $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 23:23
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    $\begingroup$ For example, check this one out: aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/433/… $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 23:25
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    $\begingroup$ Also related: aviation.stackexchange.com/a/38742/7532 and aviation.stackexchange.com/a/38740/7532 and aviation.stackexchange.com/a/38747/7532 The question isn't really a duplicate, but the answers are informative. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ It certainly is helpful to know the question context. There's a big difference between "There's a thing I want to do and I'm trying to find out whether it's legal" versus "Somebody did something and I don't like it and how can that possibly be legal". $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 1:58

1 Answer 1


The regs in FAA and Canada are very similar. Anywhere a pilot chooses to land is deemed to be an "aerodrome" (any landing place deemed suitable by the pilot, whether a licensed airport or not) and as such, isn't regulated federally once you make contact with the surface (other than clearance with people and objects regs, which usually don't apply when you're in the process of taking off or landing).

It mostly comes down to local land use laws, and your own insurance requirements. It's probable that some local entity, state/province, county, municipality, or HOA has rules about aerodromes, and if you land somewhere and someone complains, eventually you'll get some sort of ticket in the mail, or the cops will pay a visit to your son's house.

If your locality is very libertarian and has nothing at all, technically you're good to go, but then it's a matter of relations with neighbours, and the terms of your helicopter's insurance policy with respect the use of unlicensed aerodromes. Fixed wing aircraft, (especially rentals), are often restricted to licensed airports only by insurance requirements.

Helicopters, maybe not so much, but there may be some rider buried in the policy, with language limiting operations to landings outside "built up areas" (like a subdivision). So you may think you're fine, with no repercussions from a local law standpoint other than annoyed neighbours, but if that kind of language is there, your insurer has a get-out-of-jail-free-card if you make a hull or liability claim because you clipped a small tree with the tail rotor and dumped the thing on its side. So at minimum, you should check that if you care about your insurance.


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