Hello all, please excuse me if this is not the proper place to ask, but I came across a video titled ‘Fake Pilot Prank Gone Wrong!’ by the channel TopNotch Idiots on youtube, and I’m questioning certain aspects of the flights:
Can a small aircraft flying VFR suddenly dive, roll, and change heading without clearance as seen in the video?
Wouldn’t the pilot get absolutely ripped by the FAA and lose his license?
Couldn’t the pranksters be charged with assault per its legal definition?
Does something sound “off” about the ATC heard in the video? Like a hodgepodge of random recordings thrown in here and there?
I’m relatively inexperienced but something seems off about this video; just wanted to clear up any misconceptions about what is/isn’t possible in general aviation. It would help me better understand piloting and expose any fakery/deviance. I appreciate any information provided, I purposely didn’t link the video as I’m unsure if it’s allowed, please search the title under that channel on youtube to view. Best regards,
Absolutely. It’s similar to a student pilot who is practicing stalls, spins, steep turns, and other maneuvers. Typically these maneuvers are done in low-traffic airspace or in practice areas. This taking place near VNY, it’s most certainly going to be a practice area. ATC can’t possibly be expected to be able to approve every deviation from straight-and-level, nor would any VFR pilot want that.
At first glance, this doesn’t seem like the best idea: intentionally scaring paying customers (even if they were refunded their money at the end, they were still paying customers during the flight); intentionally stalling and G-loading the aircraft. But as long as the pilot didn’t exceed any G-load limitations for the aircraft, didn’t perform any aerobatic maneuvers, nor operated the aircraft below 1000’ AGL or exceed any other regulations, it seems legal–though not a good idea.
Sure, why not? Whether or not they’d be convicted is another matter. I think the defense would state that there was a “willful” attempt to use force against these customers; that is, there was never a willful attempt to intentionally crash the airplane.
I’m guessing much of the ATC audio was left out for the purpose of editing the video to focus on the absolutely terrifying fear these passengers experienced. Or it was impossible to make it out over the silly music and the sounds of screaming.
General aviation is a very broad concept in the States. VFR flight is about as free as you can get in this day and age because so long as you don’t have the intention, either through action or inaction, to cause harm or disruption to other persons or property, you’re essentially free to do as you please.