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FAASTeam Notice
Type: Local Air Safety Information
Notice Date: Thursday, December 21, 2023
Notice Number: NOTC3338
Los Angeles / Santa Barbara Low Flying Violations
This posting will be removed on
Monday, December 21, 2026

There has been a significant number of minimum safe altitude violations in the Southern California area especially in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas. Specific areas include Point Dume, Simi Valley, and coastal communities. Many of these flights are occurring during dual instruction flights using different practice areas. It is imperative that all pilots review and maintain the required minimum safe altitudes per 14 CFR 91.119. 

Flight Instructors providing dual instruction must maintain situational awareness as to their altitude, especially during low-level flight maneuvers.

It is asked that Flight Instructors not utilize the same flight routes and practice areas multiple times daily or day after day, to avoid becoming a nuisance to the neighborhoods and people on the ground.

Pilots flying for recreation must maintain minimum safe altitudes per 14 CFR 91.119 over congested areas. Some areas of high terrain are in congested areas. Pilots need to keep their proper altitude above the ground and horizontal distances.

If the purpose of the flight is to fly along the coast, then pilots must maintain minimum safe altitudes over congested areas and not descend early before the open water.  Once over the open water pilots still must maintain minimum safe altitudes in accordance with 14 CFR 91.119.

Keep in mind that the coastal terrain along most of California rises quickly. Being at 1000' Above Ground Level over the water will usually require a climb when flying back over land. 

Pilots should be aware that the public has access to aircraft altitudes through multiple online applications, and those low-altitude flights are being reported to the local FAA Flight Standards District Offices daily.

For all flights that violate the minimum safe altitude prescribed by 14 CFR 91.119, the FAA will take the most appropriate action to correct the violation.

For more information please contact the Van Nuys Flight Standards District Office at (818) 267-3300.