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Author Topic: pilot discretion  (Read 9088 times)
killocharlie
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« on: October 01, 2009, 08:06:39 AM »

if you tell a pilot your runway is closed due to the fact you operate vfr sunrise to sunset and his ask you if he can takeoff after sunset and you tell him at his discretion and his own risk if something happens can you be held liable to any extent
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atcman23
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2009, 09:25:57 AM »

Well this comes down to what country you are in as well.  For now, I'll assume you are in the U.S.

If this is a part-time towered airport, then during the tower's hours of operations, the runway is controlled and pilots need clearance to takeoff/land on the runway.  Once the tower is closed, the airport reverts to a non-towered airport.  If you told him what you did after the tower had closed, then I think you would be fine (you didn't issue a control instruction) since the takeoff would be at his discretion and his own risk.

This was what occurred for where I went to school at: KBVI.  BVI is a Class D airport from 7 AM to 10 PM 7 days a week (closed on federal holidays).  If you wanted to take off or land during those hours, you needed to contact the tower.  If you were taking off or landing anytime AFTER those hours, then the airport becomes a Class E airport and all operations are identical to any other non-controlled airport (pilots announce their position/intentions through the UNICOM). 

It sounds like the tower had just closed and you were still up there when a pilot called in asking for a takeoff clearance.  However, if the runway does truly close at sunset, this could be a different story.  However, I think the same would still apply (takeoff would be at the pilot's own risk).
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Mark Spencer
killocharlie
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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2009, 06:44:08 AM »

i work in the caribbean TDPD Dominica we do aerodrome control and TFFR does the approach control.so we were closed at sunset .the pilot was informed we were closed so he asked if he could depart.i told him were are closed since it after sunset ,he asked again and i told him if he chooses to depart he can do it at pilot discretion and at his own risk.about 30 minutes later he departed.my question if something happened when he took off could i be held liable.Are there document with aviation laws with specific regulation or this would be on a case bases
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atcman23
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2009, 10:55:28 AM »

You would need to reference the laws for that specific country or consult with your supervisor.  As far as liability goes for controllers, that is something that varies widely from each country. 

Had this happened in the United States, the answer would be "no" as the pilot departed from a closed runway after he was advised the runway was closed.  Since controllers do not own the runways here in the U.S. (the airport owns them, not the government) all the controllers can do is advise them that the runway is closed and that they are not able to issue a takeoff/landing clearance.  If the pilot insists on taking off or landing, then the action would be at pilot's discretion and controllers would advise the pilot that "the runway is closed, takeoff/landing is at your own risk."  Afterwords, the pilot would probably receive a phone call.
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Mark Spencer
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