How low can you really fly?

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12aphaPo
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How low can you really fly?

Post by 12aphaPo »

Hi guys,

I was just a bit curious after watching a video on YouTube about low flying in the U.S. and began to wonder; How low can you actually fly in Canadian Airspace while still conforming to all the CARs?

I know that over built-up areas you need to maintain 1,000ft above the highest obstacle within a 2,000ft radius. However, what I am not so sure about is the regulation about flying over non-built up areas where it states you must not fly within 500ft within any vehicle, person, etc.

JUST FOR THEORETICAL PURPOSES, does that mean for example, we could fly as low as let's say 200ft above the St. Lawrence river and still be conforming to the CARs?
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splash12
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by splash12 »

if its class f airspace "training" u can go to the surface + other uncontrolled airspace 500ft+
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digits_
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by digits_ »

Once you are a bit north where there is nobody around you can fly at 0.00000...1 ft above ground. I think polar bears can reach up to 17ft, so personally I'd fly at 18 ft.
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by Beefitarian »

You better know where things like towers are. They don't give way.
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photofly
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by photofly »

1000' above the nearest obstacle within 2000' in built-up areas; no lower than 500' agl in a control zone when VFR; elsewhere no closer than 500' to any person, vehicle or structure. Other than that any altitude is fine.

Commercial operators have other restrictions.
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by NunavutPA-12 »

In Class G airspace, one inch off the ground if at least 500 feet distance from a building, vessel, vehicle, person, etc.
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photofly
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by photofly »

The class of airspace isn't relevant. As long as you're not in a control zone. But note that outside of control zones all airspace below 700' is class F or G anyway, so you couldn't be in anything other than one of those.
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lhalliday
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by lhalliday »

Five hundred feet (in three dimensions) from any person, vessel, vehicle or structure. CAR 602.14

A while back I had a look at the charts to see how low I could legally fly up the Fraser River from my home base at Langley. With populated areas, bridges and cable crossings the answer was 700 feet. So I did, to see what it was like. I didn't like it.

...laura
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by Cat Driver »

So I did, to see what it was like. I didn't like it.
What didn't you like about it?
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by lhalliday »

Cat Driver wrote:What didn't you like about it?
No margin for safety: birds, obstacles, engine failure, etc.

...laura
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by Cat Driver »

Those are all good reasons not to fly low.

But the best reason is you are not comfortable at that height....not comfortable adds stress. :mrgreen:

Also stress degrades your decision making ability.
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by digits_ »

Image

Image

Sorry, couldn't resist :mrgreen:
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by Black_Tusk »

lhalliday wrote:Five hundred feet (in three dimensions) from any person, vessel, vehicle or structure. CAR 602.14

A while back I had a look at the charts to see how low I could legally fly up the Fraser River from my home base at Langley. With populated areas, bridges and cable crossings the answer was 700 feet. So I did, to see what it was like. I didn't like it.

...laura
700 feet is not low.
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crazyaviator
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by crazyaviator »

Also stress degrades your decision making ability.
A little stress has been shown to improve ones performance,,, a lot and it goes downhill,,, speaking of downhill, Flying along Hudson Bay at low level ( 700 or less ) keeps you well above the polar bears UNTIL you hit a flock of migrating birds and end up on the "beach" :lol:
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Heliian
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by Heliian »

Consistently working 500 feet and below in helicopters. A little more tricky in a plane but consider float ops, they're .. running all the time. In the bush or up north you can do whatever you want really.
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by Cat Driver »

How low one fly's is a personal choice and varies from person to person.

I understand Laura's not being comfortable at 700 feet in the area she describes.

For what it is worth I had a few personal limits when flying single engine airplanes.

I would not fly single engine IFR in IMC limits.

I would not fly single engine airplanes over water beyond gliding distance from land.

I would not fly single engine at night except at an airport when training.

Those limits worked for me.

However I did do some low flyng when working at jobs that required it.
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


After over a half a century of flying no one ever died because of my decision not to fly.
B777guy
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by B777guy »

Cat Driver pretty much defined my limits also, you always have to have an out, and just because you can do it doesn't mean you should.
Personal limits like these are why I am still vertical...for now anyway.
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MrWings
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by MrWings »

So, what do you guys think of this?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f8v5azVmp8
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by Cat Driver »

Flying airplanes and surviving is no more complicated than using common sense.

If something can be dangerous and you don't have to do it, don't

There will be enough times when you run into dangerous situations you had not planned on to test your survival skills, so why stack the deck against yourself?
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The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no


After over a half a century of flying no one ever died because of my decision not to fly.
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Re: How low can you really fly?

Post by MrWings »

Cat Driver wrote:Flying airplanes and surviving is no more complicated than using common sense.

If something can be dangerous and you don't have to do it, don't

There will be enough times when you run into dangerous situations you had not planned on to test your survival skills, so why stack the deck against yourself?
Pretty wise comment, Cat.
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