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Have you ever been ramp checked by the FAA? The reason I ask is

Posted By:
Ralph King
#1 Posted: 5/22/2010 04:10:13 Modified: 5/22/2010 04:12:42

The reason I ask have you ever been ramp checked by the FAA, is because in 33 years of active flying including as a Commercial pilot, never have been checked for anything.

So the bottom line here, maybe we worry to much about trying to conform to FAA regulations.

I wonder about farmers that have an airplane, and their own fuel that fly from and to their property having never gone where they could be confronted by a FAA inspector or ramp check for this or that.

Thats it, we all need to by farms.

State rights?  If you never fly out of the state you live in, does the Federal FAA have the right to check you for anything?





Robert Dingley
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#2 Posted: 5/22/2010 18:03:04

Got ramped at a fly in one week end in Texas about 40 years ago. They were only looking at airman certs and not interested in my newly restored Luscombe. The same Safety inspector had interviewed me a week before in my office about some aid that  my crew and I rendered to a civilian plane crash. I was a military pilot at the time.

I was ramped countless times when I was flying 135. Always the same. "Lets see the tickets, Get out the lenses." Everybody in my age group had some kind of restriction for glasses. I got in the habit of stashing glasses that passengers left on board. Just in case my CP or I couldn't find ours.

In one case, the Safety Inspector gave me an employment packet when the ramp check was completed. Its no big deal to be ramped. The Inspectors have been helpful at times with operational problems. Even jump seated with me on the spot to flight check and fix one of those obscure conflicts so that we could make changes in the OP Specs. Every pilot that I knew while on 135 strapped in every morning ready to be ramped that day. Clearing Customs is totaly another matter.

Chuck Drake
Warbirds of America MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
#3 Posted: 5/22/2010 20:28:05

When I was working line maintenance for a 121 cargo outfit I was ramped all the time but for the most part they are very helpfull and are interseted in aviation safety.  If they had suggestions I listened to what they had to say and  complied  with their wishes However,  I could see if you coped an attitude how you could have alot of problems.  I actually learned somethings from the feds.  Overtime we actualy became freinds and they were my ace in the hole if the company maintenace dispacter tried to make me do something not Kosher.  Overall it was a good experince.  Chuck

Ryan Lunde
#4 Posted: 5/24/2010 09:57:16

I've never been ramp checked by the FAA, but I have been intercepted and questioned by Customs when flying back south of Houston after a weekend fishing near the border.  A Customs 210 and local police met me upon arrival.  The federales asked to see my license and medical, but the Champ didn't exactly fit the profile of a contraband runner.  They left quickly, but apparently spent a great deal on the resources it took to intercept me. 

Adam Smith
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
#5 Posted: 5/24/2010 14:39:59 Modified: 5/24/2010 14:41:28

I was ramp checked a little while back, preflighting my Cessna 180 for a local pleasure flight.   

I had nothing to hide and all documentation was in order... but had the misfortune to encounter the kind of inspector that gives the FAA a bad name (a shame because FAA is staffed by good people, by and large). 

As a guide to the unwary, we've just published an article  "How to Survive an FAA Ramp Check" in the latest issue of Sport Aviation magazine... this link should take you there:



Bill Berson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#6 Posted: 5/27/2010 13:01:53

Good article.

But I thought the radio license was no longer required in the U.S. 

Maybe for a border crossing to Canada.

Jay Pearsall
#7 Posted: 5/27/2010 21:56:30

I'm a new aircraft owner.  I've not heard of a radio station licence, but how do I get one?  Thx, Jay

AJ Brandt
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
#8 Posted: 5/28/2010 07:41:46

Got "ramped" last fall. Generally painless. As long as you have "ARROW" in the airplane, and know your stuff, not a big deal. FAA did find some paperwork that wasn't right with an STC for our aircraft, had to deal with that, but all-in-all it was a good learning experience.

AJ Brandt
Chapter 1158 President
West Bend, WI

Andrew Hesketh
Vintage Aircraft Association Member
#9 Posted: 5/28/2010 10:25:51



There is no license requirement for a pilot operating

in the United States; however, a pilot who operates

internationally is required to hold a restricted

radiotelephone permit issued by the Federal

Communications Commission (FCC). There is also

no station license requirement for most general aviation

aircraft operating in the United States. A station

license is required however for an aircraft which is

operating internationally, which uses other than a very

high frequency (VHF) radio, and which meets other


Rich Giannotti
#10 Posted: 5/29/2010 19:59:38

Funny ramp check story;  I am a Comm/ CFI and fly as a sport pilot now

I fly a Legend Cub. Inspector says "May I see your license and medical?" I should have shown him my driver license, but instead I decided to have some fun. I said I didn't have a medical. He looked like somebody shot him. I guess he figured he was going to have a bunch of paperwork. He pointed the cub and said "How are we doing THIS?' I asked him if he had heard of sport pilot. He said he had but, pointing at the cub again, he said "What's THAT?" 

I said "It's a Special Light Sport Airplane (like it says on the side)" He said "Did you have it converted?" I told him you're not allowed to do that. Then he said "What does it say on the airworthiness?" I said "It says Special Light Sport Airplane...wanna see it?" He said "Yeah, maybe I'll learn something." Then after he looked over the airplane he said "This looks like a real airplane." I told him that was the idea.

I've been ramped about 3 times in 42 years. Never a problem. License, Medical (or not) AW and reg.


Tony Turiano
Vintage Aircraft Association Member
#11 Posted: 6/3/2010 08:54:06

I've been ramped a couple of times in South Florida, maybe more and I just can't remember. Even though I've flown some 135, I've only been ramped flying part 91, and only AT NIGHT. It's been probably 10 years since the last one, and they both happened within a couple of years.

It was never an issue because yes, all the documentation was correct and handy - and that's all they really seemed to focus on. If I had had a nav light/beacon out it might have been more interesting, I suppose.

The fact that I've been ramped at night may have something to do with South Florida peculiarities - I know a number of airplanes have been stolen from OPF, where FAA ramped me. At HWO there is a Border Patrol headquarters, and I was ramped there as part of what seemed to be a training exercise involving a dog - the dog was a little excitable (green?) and my buddy barked at the handler because he let the dog jump up and scratch at the airplane with his nails.

I was also at EYW once (daytime) and saw an Inspector there that I had dealt with before - he was doing ramp checks but left me alone. I had sort of butted heads with him - maybe he didn't want to stir me up again?

Jim Cunningham
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
#12 Posted: 6/5/2010 14:01:06

Our EAA chapter's Young Eagle rally was ramp checked a few weeks ago. I don't know what was worse... that the FAA had time to do that on a weekend or that two of our pilots did NOT have their medical certificates with them. They were sent home, which in retrospect was nice of the inspector who of course could have done more to them... in front of everyone at the event. I'm disgusted that two chapter members didn't have their documents with them, though. Suggestion for YE event coordinators-- check pilot documents before first flights to make sure everything is in order.



Jim Cunningham Normal IL CFII
Joe LaMantia
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#13 Posted: 6/7/2010 11:25:15

A few years ago I was renting a Skyhawk at a local FBO.  I went out one Sunday morning and when I got back I went into the office to pay my bill.  The airport mgr. introduced me to a guy from the Columbus FAA (FSDO) who said he wanted to see my l license, medical, and logbook.  So I pulled out the log and such, he looked it over in about a minute and gave them back with a smile.  I said I'd like to see his credentials and smiled back.  He looked a little surprised and the airport mgr. said I could check the plates on his car, which were fed govt.  Apparently he was actually checking the FBO operations, records and such and decided to go one step further and check me.  We all had a good laugh when I mentioned that I liked to find an FBO that would rent an $80K airplane to somebody without checking out all the credentials!