Can’t we all just get along? Of course not, but we oughtta try.
There is no law that says you can’t fly over tribal lands. We can’t trespass but court cases have well-established federal control over all airspace which, naturally, includes us ultralights. Ergo, we’re completely legal to fly over indian land. Other laws may apply, much like they do in state parks such as those prohibiting anyone from disturbing certain protected species.
So you’re allowed to take off from outside Indian land, fly over it while following all FAR 103 rules, not disturb the wildlife and be completely legal. But would that help? Probably not.
In an effort to better equip pilots with information on their flying sites, I’m including a kmz (Google Earth) file that has most U.S. Indian lands as of 2009-Mar-23. Thanks to Adam Bell (Aerosmack.com) for letting me know about this which originally appeared on a Google earth forum. And thanks, of course, to its creator who made it available.
Fly knowingly, fly respectfully. Staying high is no guarantee, as as Lionel found, but in most cases it’s all you need to do.
On March 17, 2009, Lionel was able to recover his remaining gear: $10,000 worth of paramotor and photography equipment. The Hualapai’s attorney (based in Phoenix) met him in Flagstaff, AZ where he was forced to sign a new settlement agreement if he wanted his gear back. The two “violations” were for “trespassing,” a $100 fine, and another for “endangering other aircraft”; a $400 fine.
The “trespassing” charge is, of course, a joke—a travesty of justice and essentially legal extortion by the Hualapai Indians. So, too, is the charge of endangering other aircraft since the tribe has no jurisdiction.
Lionel tells us that he needed his gear and, at least didn’t have to fight their $25,000 fine for “theft of property and infringement copyrights”.
Lionel plans on a website that we’ll be sure to include when it’s up and running. He and other tour guides have always felt that Skywalk was an expensive disappointment for tourists.
He observed that we (ultralights) can’t fly the Grand Canyon because of Special Air Traffic Rules excepting the little stretch of the Grand Canyon above Hualapai’s Reservation where we can legally fly. So the Hualapais essentially extort money for anyone to fly this FAA airspace. If you want to take a picture for one of the magazines, for example, they want you to buy their “required” $25,000 permit. Even, if you take a non-commercial picture of their Grand Canyon on your leisure flight you still have to pay the requisite permit. Without a permit, they call it “theft of property”. What a ridiculous sham. shame. Apparently they actually sucker some into paying it, given their illegal behavior with Lionel.