Please turnoff your aircraft’s engine, you may disturb the Dutch wildlife!

Here is a bizarre story coming out of the Netherlands involving aircraft, wildlife and insane court rulings. Martijn Moret has reported a story (the actual article is written in Dutch) on his blog about a court case involving 2 private pilots in 2 single engine aircraft who crossed the Oostvaardersplassen at 1500 feet which according to the official VFR map along with Dutch aviation legislation, is completely legal. In fact, 1,500 feet in this area is actually the maximum altitude due to Schiphol Airport being in the vicinity; but the area is also a wildlife reserve and hence, the minimum altitude is also 1,000 feet.

Apparently, wildlife rangers in the area issued a complaint claiming the pilots were violating the law on disturbing wildlife in the area while the pilots claimed they were following all local rules along with aviation legislation. Martijn then relates what happened next:

The judge(s) ruled that although the pilots were following all aviation regulations, they had still violated the law on disturbing wildlife, and convicted them to EUR 250,- each. Also, this offence is a marked as a crime, which means the 2 now have a police record. The court did not feel responsible for the contradicting legislation and called for government to change this. The pilots will appeal the ruling.

Martijn notes that the Netherlands has 11 airports and 162 nature areas and that all of aviation is subject to plant and wildlife legislation – even when it contradicts aviation law.

So remember: If you are flying over the Netherlands and do not want to be subject to legal action for disturbing the wildlife, please turn off your aircraft’s engines!



4 Responses to Please turnoff your aircraft’s engine, you may disturb the Dutch wildlife!

  1. Matthew Stibbe November 24, 2009 at 13:45 #

    As I mentioned on Martijn's blog, this is from the same country that mandated Mode S transponders but then forced pilots to switch them off. I love the Dutch – reconciling the irreconcilable since the middle ages.

  2. Patrick Flannigan November 24, 2009 at 20:13 #

    What an absurd ruling. I find it amazing that the court admits that there is a contradiction, and even calls for a change in legislation, but they still saw fit to penalize the pilots despite the flaws in their legal system.

  3. Max Trescott November 25, 2009 at 03:10 #

    We have plenty of the same absurdity in the U.S. For example, the FAA charts show that it's "recommended" that pilots stay above 2,000 feet along the California coast, making it seem optional. Yet go below 1000 feet and you violate CA state law. Or fly below 1,000 feet over the Coyote Hills near S.F. and you again violated state law. Yet there's no mention of it on the FAA charts. Yesterday I posted a story about a pilot who the NTSB said was responsible for his accident, yet his family collected $7 million from Cirrus. Here's a link to the video of the lawyers discussing their win in this case.

  4. martijn November 27, 2009 at 15:51 #

    Thanks Matthew!

    Nice to learn that once again The Netherlands try to copy the US as an exemplary country! By all means I am glad to be lucky enough not have broken (or at least being convicted for) any contradicting or unnoticed rules while flying.

    Where the weather forecast is a horoscope with numbers, actual flying seems to be a reverse luck lottery.

    Good weekend all!

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