Surviving An FAA Ramp Check

Written by Greg Reigel


by Gregory J. Reigel

© 2004 All rights reserved.

You are standing onrepparttar ramp performing a pre-flight inspection. A man who you have never seen before approaches you and starts chatting aboutrepparttar 119262 weather and asking you questions: “What’s your name?”, “Where are you going?” etc. How do you respond?

First, know who you are talking to. Ask forrepparttar 119263 person’s name. Find out what he or she is doing there. In this post 9/11 era, knowing who is atrepparttar 119264 airport and what they are doing is good practice and prevention. This isrepparttar 119265 premise of AOPA’s GA Secure program. Second, ifrepparttar 119266 person is an FAA inspector, you want to find that out as soon as possible. If he or she is, ask to see his or her FAA Identification card.

Duringrepparttar 119267 course of a ramp check,repparttar 119268 FAA inspector will ask to inspect/review a number of items. Some of those items and how you produce them forrepparttar 119269 FAA inspector are discussed below. Quite a bit of this is common sense. Much of it is information all pilots learned, or should have learned, when they learned how to fly.

Personal Documents

When you fly an aircraft, you must have certain personal documents in your possession. You must have your airman certificate and it must be appropriate torepparttar 119270 aircraft and type of flying you are doing. You must also have your medical certificate. It must berepparttar 119271 original certificate issued by your Airman Medical Examiner and it must also be current and appropriate torepparttar 119272 type of flying you are doing. Finally, inrepparttar 119273 aftermath of 9/11, you must also have in your possession a drivers license or other government issued ID containing your photograph.


Next,repparttar 119274 inspector may ask to see your flight logbook. I advise pilots not to bring their logbook with them when they are flying. Why? Two reasons: One, if you bring your logbook with you and it is destroyed if you are in an accident, you won’t have any documentation to prove your flight time and currency. This can raise potentially ugly issues not only withrepparttar 119275 FAA, but also with your insurance company if they question your currency atrepparttar 119276 time ofrepparttar 119277 accident and deny coverage. To avoidrepparttar 119278 insurance coverage issue, if you must bring your logbook with you I suggest you keep a photocopy of your logbook at home or in some other safe place. Second, if you have your logbook with you andrepparttar 119279 inspector asks to review it, you will have to providerepparttar 119280 entire logbook. Rather than allowingrepparttar 119281 inspector to review more logbook entries than are necessary or pertinent atrepparttar 119282 time ofrepparttar 119283 ramp check, I prefer havingrepparttar 119284 opportunity afterrepparttar 119285 ramp check to simply photocopyrepparttar 119286 pages documenting your currency and then providing them torepparttar 119287 inspector.

Aircraft Documents In The Aircraft

Similar torepparttar 119288 requirement that you have certain personal documents in your possession,repparttar 119289 aircraft you fly also needs to contain certain documents. The inspector may want to reviewrepparttar 119290 aircraft documents duringrepparttar 119291 ramp check. However, an inspector cannot inspectrepparttar 119292 interior of your aircraft without consent. Consequently, rather than giving consent, I recommend that you personally removerepparttar 119293 requested documents fromrepparttar 119294 aircraft and give them torepparttar 119295 inspector.

Carrying Firearms On Aircraft

Written by Greg Reigel

Carrying Firearms On Aircraft

© 2004 Reigel & Associates, Ltd./Aero Legal Services. All rights reserved.

A client recently asked me whether he could carry a firearm on an aircraft. As usual, my lawyerly answer was “it depends”. What does it depend upon? Well, for starters, what type of firearm? Will it be carried concealed or onrepparttar person (e.g. using a concealed carry weapon “CCW” permit), or will it be in checked luggage? What type of aircraft? Is it a commercial flight or a private flight? Isrepparttar 119261 flight interstate or intrastate? The answers to these questions dictate whether or how you can transport a firearm on an aircraft.

Probablyrepparttar 119262 best way to look atrepparttar 119263 issue is to determine where you will be withrepparttar 119264 firearm when you boardrepparttar 119265 aircraft: Within a sterile area of an airport or within a non-sterile area of an airport. Several different statutes apply to transportation of firearms on aircraft, depending uponrepparttar 119266 type of aircraft and aircraft operation and where you boardrepparttar 119267 aircraft.

Sterile Area

What is a sterile area? U.S. Statute 49 CFR 1540.5 defines it as “a portion of an airport defined inrepparttar 119268 airport security program that provides passengers access to boarding aircraft and to whichrepparttar 119269 access generally is controlled by TSA, or by an aircraft operator under part 1544 of this chapter or a foreign air carrier under part 1546 of this chapter, throughrepparttar 119270 screening of persons and property.” This isrepparttar 119271 area beyondrepparttar 119272 security checkpoints and up to and includingrepparttar 119273 gates torepparttar 119274 aircraft. You have to subject yourself and your carry on luggage to search and inspection (including removing your shoes, walking through metal detectors etc.) in order to enterrepparttar 119275 sterile area.

Once within a sterile area, U.S. Statute aircraft. Thus, if you have to pass through a security screening checkpoint to enter a sterile area, firearms are prohibited withinrepparttar 119277 sterile area and on board aircraft that you board from a sterile area.

The regulation provides exceptions for law enforcement officers (LEO’s) required to carry firearms or other weapons while inrepparttar 119278 performance of law enforcement duties atrepparttar 119279 airport, for individuals authorized to carry a weapon in accordance with §1544.219(LEO), §1544.221(LEO w/prisoner), §1544.223(Air Marshal), or §1546.211(foreign air carrier provision for LEO) or an individual authorized to carry a weapon in a sterile area under a security program.

Although aircraft usingrepparttar 119280 sterile area may be operated by an airline or an on-demand charter operator, those aircraft may also be operated by freight carriers, or in some cases, privately owned aircraft. 49 CFR §1550.5 provides a “catch-all” expandingrepparttar 119281 prohibition on possession of firearms to all operations, not just airlines and charter, boarding or unloading usingrepparttar 119282 sterile area of an airport. Thus, regardless ofrepparttar 119283 type of operation, if you have to go through a sterile area to boardrepparttar 119284 aircraft and you do not fall within one ofrepparttar 119285 exceptions, you will not be able to carry a firearm with you on your person or in your carry-on luggage. Period.

However, even if you are prohibited from carrying a firearm with you ontorepparttar 119286 aircraft, you may still be able to bring your firearm along in your checked luggage. U.S. Statute 49 CFR 1540.111(c) applies torepparttar 119287 transportation of firearms within your checked baggage. You may not transport loaded firearms. However, you may transport unloaded firearms provided that you declarerepparttar 119288 firearms torepparttar 119289 aircraft operator (usually by filling out a declaration form),repparttar 119290 firearm is unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and you arerepparttar 119291 only one to retain a key or combination forrepparttar 119292 lock.

This regulation does not prohibit you from carrying ammunition in your checked baggage or inrepparttar 119293 same container as a firearm. Also, each individual aircraft operator may have differing policies and guidelines regardingrepparttar 119294 transportation of unloaded firearms, as well as ammunition. It is best to check with your aircraft operator well in advance of your departure date to make sure you knowrepparttar 119295 aircraft operator’s requirements and procedures and that you will to arrive atrepparttar 119296 airport able to comply.

Non-Sterile Area

If you are within a non-sterile area of an airport,repparttar 119297 statutes and regulations do not apply. However, your ability to possess a firearm will depend uponrepparttar 119298 type of flying you will be doing as well asrepparttar 119299 state law applicable torepparttar 119300 airport.

U.S. Statute 49 USC §46505 makes it a crime subject to fine, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, if a person “when on, or attempting to get on, an aircraft in, or intended for operation in, air transportation or intrastate air transportation, has on or aboutrepparttar 119301 individual orrepparttar 119302 property ofrepparttar 119303 individual a concealed dangerous weapon that is or would be accessible torepparttar 119304 individual in flight.” Additionally, under 49 USC §46303 “[a]n individual who, when on, or attempting to board, an aircraft in, or intended for operation in, air transportation or intrastate air transportation, has on or aboutrepparttar 119305 individual orrepparttar 119306 property ofrepparttar 119307 individual a concealed dangerous weapon that is or would be accessible torepparttar 119308 individual in flight is liable torepparttar 119309 United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation”.

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