A U.S.-Canadian partnership to re-establish migrating cranes has been halted by the FAA because it doesn’t meet its regulations.

Genesis cover

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We’re here to help you! A U.S.-Canadian partnership to re-establish migrating cranes using human-powered ultralights has been halted by the FAA because it doesn’t meet its regulations.

FAA regulations say only pilots with commercial pilot licenses can fly for hire. The pilots of Operation Migration’s plane are instead licensed to fly sport aircraft because that’s the category of aircraft that the group’s small, open plane with its rear propeller and bird-like wings falls under. FAA regulations also prohibit sport aircraft – which are sometimes of exotic design – from being flown to benefit a business or charity. The rules are aimed, in part, at preventing businesses or charities from taking passengers for joyrides in sometimes risky planes.

What goddamn business is it of the FAA to “prohibit sport aircraft … from being flown to benefit a business or charity”? Isn’t that exactly how the aviation industry got started, taking passengers on short flights during the barnstorming era?


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  • If the pilots should all volunteer, that would obviate the commercial license requirement. If no passengers are being flown, then, as you say, it’s none of the FAA’s business. Of course, the group could avoid all of this hassle if they just hired a commercial pilot. I have to wonder, though, about the wisdom of spending resources on animals too stupid to migrate on their own.

  • Dwight Decker

    Can’t they get 12-year-old girls to fly the planes instead? It worked in the movie FLY AWAY HOME…

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