Midland Michigan SUCKS!
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Member Since : 2007

Midland Michigan SUCKS!

08-20-2007 02:25:28

This popped up today on ANN.  Suggest everyone email the city council and voice their complaints about the local police's actions.  I did!  The address for city hall is: cityhall@midland-mi.org

Hungry Helo Pilot Lands On Highway Median

Airport Just Down The Road
Hey, a guy's gotta eat. A helicopter pilot on his way to Traverse City, MI decided to make a lunch stop in the city of Midland on Tuesday. Instead of choosing to land at the airport a quarter mile away from the restaurant, though... the pilot set down on a grassy area near a busy highway.

The Associated Press reports the pilot then walked with his female passenger to Logan's Roadhouse for a bite to eat... as employees at the store next to the parked helicopter called the police.

Officers said the pilot initially claimed to have permission to land on the off-airport site, but then said the helicopter was having mechanical problems and a precautionary landing was necessary.

When police told the man he would need to have a mechanic check out the helicopter to ensure it was flight-ready before he could take off, he changed his story yet again, according to Midland Deputy Police Chief Robert Lane.

"They changed their tune and admitted they were on their way to Traverse City and stopped for lunch," Lane said.

Police would not release the pilot's name, only identifying him as a 54-year old-from Metamora Township.

The pilot was ticketed with a misdemeanor charge for an illegal landing, the AP reports. The charge carries with it a maximum fine of $500 and up to 90 days in jail


Member Since : 2015
08-20-2007 04:20:11
I am originally from Michigan and there are many private helicopters.  I can't say if this pilot deserved this or not.  If you land someplace with a law against off airport landings, then you get whats coming to ya.  In any event, you could be arrested for trespassing if you land on private property.  However, if they have no law against the landing, then the ticket is bogus. 

Before I land anyplace off fiend, save EMS flights, I call and ask for permission, and I call the local police department and notify them of my intentions.  Many times I get a couple of curious police and once in a while a fire truck or two. 
Member Since : 2015
08-20-2007 05:27:40
Firstly: every time I land off-field in a populated area, bunches of people call in to law enforcement to report a crashed aircraft.  They love adrenalin.  The cops are duty bound to take these reports seriously (and they love adrenalin too), so off they go, red light and siren, to the crash scene.

And you're over in the restaurant, unhurt.  Makes them look a little foolish, no?  So they start trying to find a reason to make you suffer for interrupting their coffee--natural human reaction.

REMEDY:  TELEPHONE them (the cops) in advance so they know you're coming.  Give them a chance to object, if there is a law;  make the dispatcher aware that all those crashed-aircraft calls are overreactions, and the dispatcher can sooth the callers without having to send out the police car, ambulance, and fire engines. 

Better yet, don't land where bored people can see you.  Remote highway truck stops are great, they love the business (but stay away from the highway right-of-way!)  I have never been hassled by a remote truck stop.  But in towns, even with advance permission from the pizza parlor, and telephone check with the town P.D. for regulations, I've been surrounded by the town's police cars because the neighbors reported a crash.  Makes for cold pizza.

A related question is: DOES Midland have an ordinance against landing?

My finding has been that highway rights-of-way are owned by the States, and that there is almost universally a state law saying no landings there.  (Because otherwise the f/w crowd would be landing on all those thousands of miles of airstrip day in and day out!)

But the article says 'highway median' and then there's a debate about 'landowner's permission,'  so where was it, really, that he touched down? 

And with regard to landowner's permission: that's a civil matter (trespassing, but not worthy of a ticket), and usually the first offense with any offended, angry landowner is remediable by saying "Oh, sorry, I'll go away and never come back!" 

We do it with gliders every day.  And in paragliders and hang-gliders, the motto is "'Tis far more blessed to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission."
Member Since : 2015
08-21-2007 03:15:11
1.  Landing off-airport near a busy highway w/o permission wasn't exactly a brilliant move.

2.  The pilot obviously doesn't have much integrity if he's changing his story on why he landed.  If he said he was having mechanical problems I think the police officer did the public a service by not letting him take off again until the aircraft had been looked at by a mechanic. 

3.  The airport was only 1/4 mile away?  I'm thinking that he just wanted some attention. 

Personally, I think helicopter pilots have a hard enough time getting a positive view from the public.  Things like this don't help their perception of us.  Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with someone setting down on private property w/ the owner's permission but this obviously wasn't the case here. 
Member Since : 2007
08-22-2007 03:27:24
I've always wondered how balloon pilots handle the issue of landing on private property.

Here in North Idaho, I'm more concerned with Zeke ventilating my sheet metal than getting a citation from an officer.  A large percentage of Idaho is either State or Federal land, many times I've put it in a 5' hover to check things out without actually landing.