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Demo Pilot Agrees To Stop Landing Amphib Near St. Louis Arch

Landings Are Legal, But Have Raised Concerns

The demo pilot for Icon aircraft in St. Louis has run afoul of somewhat ignorant local authorities, even though his flights, and landings on the Mississippi River in front of the Gateway Arch, are entirely legal.

Television station KTVI reports that Rick Reif, the regional sales manager for Icon, was doing demonstration flights for prospective customers which included a water landing on the river. Such landings are legal under Missouri law, which allows the water landings if the river is clear. But Missouri Revised Statutes, 305.030, also reads, in part: “...flight in aircraft over the lands and waters of this state is lawful, unless at such a low altitude as to interfere with the then existing use ... Or unless so conducted as to be imminently dangerous to persons or property ..."

The FAA defers to state law in such matters.

Reif said he got the proper clearances from air traffic control before landing on the river, and that he "strictly adheres" to all safety regulations. But St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson says whether or not it's legal, it has to stop. Jenkerson said that people seeing the airplane landing on the water thought it was crashing, and added that "the Coast Guard didn't know about this, and they control the river traffic."

But Reif isn't completely stymied in his efforts to demonstrate the airplane. He has reached an agreement with Jenkerson to conduct such landings away from downtown St. Louis, either north of the Chain of Rocks Bridge or south of the Jefferson Barracks Bridge.

(Image from file)

FMI: Source report


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