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7 Mistakes That Could Result In An FAA Violation

If you want to keep your record clean, avoid these mistakes.

1) Busting Controlled Airspace (Especially Class B)

Anytime you fly into controlled or restricted airspace without establishing communication or receiving a clearance (when needed), you're putting yourself at risk for receiving an FAA violation. Controllers take the business of protecting airspace very seriously, so make sure you don't make a wrong turn or fly into an area you're unfamiliar with.

When you request clearance into Class B airspace, ATC gives you a unique transponder squawk code so they can track you on radar. Once they've identified you, they'll tell you that you're "cleared into the Class Bravo airspace." Those are the keywords, and you need to hear them before you enter the airspace.

Eric Salard

2) Runway Incursion

While you taxi, be on a constant lookout for runway hold short signs that may be along your route. If you come across one that you weren't expecting or cleared to cross, then you might be taxiing the wrong way. Stop and ask ATC for help.


3) Flying An "Unairworthy" Airplane

So, what does it mean for an airplane to be airworthy? It must: meet approved type design, be in a condition for safe operation, and maintenance and alterations are performed in accordance with 14 CFR parts 21, 43, and 91. Failing to comply with ANY of the above three criteria automatically makes an airplane not airworthy.

If you're renting a plane for the first time from a flight school and a required inspection hasn't taken place for a few months, guess who's liable? The FAA could track down every pilot who's flown the unairworthy airplane since the inspection was required!


4) Failing To Comply With A Speed/Altitude Restriction

If ATC issues you a speed or altitude restriction, don't forget it. You could create a significant traffic conflict otherwise.


5) VFR Into IMC

VFR flight into IMC is incredibly dangerous, not to mention illegal. Nearly half of weather-related accidents involve pilots attempting to fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). Plus, over 72% of VFR into IMC accidents are fatal.


6) Forgetting Your Required Documents

Do you remember what you must have with you every time you fly? You must carry a government-issued photo ID, pilot certificate, and medical certificate. If you get ramp checked by the FAA, not having one of these is an easy violation to receive.


7) IFR Clearance Deviation

Whether it's a departure or arrival procedure, or even just en-route waypoints, make sure your programmed route matches your IFR clearance. Deviating from the clearance could result in an FAA violation and a nasty phone call.


What are some other common problems that pilots run into? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and a First Officer on the Boeing 757/767 for a Major US Carrier. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines, and flew Embraer 145s at the beginning of his airline career. Swayne is an author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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