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Ickes v. Federal Aviation Administration

299 F.3d 260 (2002)

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Ickes v. Federal Aviation Administration

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

299 F.3d 260 (2002)

Facts

Don Ickes (plaintiff) was an enthusiast of ultralight vehicles, i.e., recreational flying machines, which were exempt from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Ickes owned an ultralight trainer, which was an ultralight vehicle with additional training equipment, including a second seat. Because of its additional equipment, the ultralight trainer was classified as an aircraft rather than an ultralight vehicle. FAA regulations required all aircraft to be registered with the FAA, have a certificate of airworthiness, and show certain identifying markings. Ickes’s trainer did not comply with any of these regulations. In addition, Ickes did not have a pilot’s license or an airman medical certificate, both of which were required to fly aircraft. The FAA cited and fined Ickes for flying the trainer without complying with the regulations. The FAA later gave an ultralight-flying organization a special exemption to use and to allow its instructors to use ultralight trainers without having to comply with the aircraft regulations. Ickes obtained an instructor certificate from the organization that allowed him to use his trainer to teach for a period of time. Ickes also obtained a student-pilot’s license at one point, but the FAA revoked this license after Ickes repeatedly engaged in low flights and similar hazardous activity that endangered other people and their property. Ickes’s instructor certificate also expired. Ickes continued to fly his trainer without an instructor exemption or a student-pilot’s license. The FAA again cited Ickes for flying the trainer without complying with the FAA’s pilot or aircraft regulations. The FAA received reports that Ickes continued to illegally fly the trainer. Further, Ickes advertised that he was holding an airshow on his property that would include air demonstrations involving the trainer. The day before the airshow was scheduled to start, the FAA issued an emergency cease-and-desist order prohibiting the airshow. Ickes sued, arguing that the order was unconstitutional and improper.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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