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Seaplane Landing In Portsmouth, NH, Legal, FAA Says

Pilot Did Not Break Any Laws Landing On The Piscataqua River

A seaplane pilot who landed his aircraft on the Piscataqua River between the Sarah Mildred Long and Memorial Bridges of Portsmouth, NH, Saturday may have done something unusual, but not illegal, according to the FAA.

While people enjoying a meal at riverfront restaurants may not have expected the airplane to touch down on the river, authorities said the pilot did nothing wrong. "It's not illegal to land in the Piscataqua River," Jonathan Goode, an aviation safety inspector with the FAA's Flight Standards District Office in Portland, Maine, told the online news site "Seaplanes can land there all day long," he said.

The pilot, who has not been named, told the Coast Guard officers who responded to his arrival on the river that he had received clearance from Portsmouth International Airport to land on the river. The Coast Guard said it was not able to confirm that the clearance had been granted. USCG Chief Dave Andreesen, the officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor, said it was fortunate that there was not more boat traffic on the river. "If this were August, this probably would be a really bad idea," he said.

Andreesen said the USCG checked out the two people on board to be sure they were "legitimate." They were. They said they landed on the river simply because they were curious.

Goode said that seaplane activity on the river is fairly common during the summer months, but Andreesen said it was unusual. "I don't think I've ever seen that," he said.



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