Is there a minimum altitude requirement for aircraft flying over residential areas and school yards?

Airport managers and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would prefer that aircraft did not fly over populated areas. The FAA and airline’s policy is to get DEN commercial flights up high.

Helicopters may fly below these minimum altitude requirements if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the ground.

Local and state authorities do not have jurisdiction over airspace regulations and, therefore, cannot mandate that aircraft and/or helicopters fly at higher altitudes.

Aircraft operating under visual flight rules outside or beneath the FAA Tower's airspace are not required to use air traffic's services and fly unrestricted. A pilot can freely select his or her route and altitude with no restrictions other than those flight rules establishing minimum altitudes for flights over populated areas and required separation distances from clouds and terrain.  The Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 91.119 indicates that, except when necessary for departure or landing, the minimum altitude over urban areas is 1,000 feet above ground level (AGL) and 500 feet AGL over rural areas.

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