For the past few weekends, a helicopter has been flying extremely low, back and forth, over the Bear's cave, and the humble enclosure holding his goats. (Since horses are off the menu, a fat wether makes for a nice meal.) Last weekend it orbited for five hours, from three until eight p.m., at times sounding like it was landing in our front yard.
The Bear is as submissive as any American, and if some unknown persons in an unmarked Robinson-44 helicopter (often used by law enforcement) wants to violate my Bearspace with loud and entertaining passes at extremely low altitude, well, then that's just dandy with him.
Not really. The Bear adheres to the old English description of property rights "down to the center of the earth, and as high as the heavens above." What good is property if you only own a 1 mm slice of topsoil? And if you've never complained about helicopters overflying your property, you're not a true patriot. (What would the founders say, anyway?)
So he called the local Flight Standards District Office, the guys pilots do not want to hear from -- the FAA. Because if there is one thing an American can count on, it's one part of the government protecting him against another part of the government.
After proposing several extremely improbable explanations (pipeline inspections, goose counting and Japanese beetle countermeasures) the FAA man finally said helicopters can do whatever they want. He suggested I get a registration number. When I told him it didn't have one, he said, "Yeah, if they put it on that skinny boom in non-contrasting paint, you can't really read 'em." Oh dear, the FAA defeated by tiny, unreadable numbers.
He tried to mollify me. I got the impression they deal with calls like this a lot. He promised "to do some checking." He said he'd get back to me if he turned up anything. He said, "Lots of times we can just say there's a [mentally unbalanced] guy at a certain address who would prefer you didn't fly over his goats or whatever, and they'll just avoid you."
Right, whatever. They shoot bears from helicopters. They don't have to avoid me, which is the whole point, isn't it? Even if I had a number, there's nothing the FAA could do. Terrorists take note: helicopters are above suspicion and immune to regulation
Short of training the goats to spell out rude messages at the sound of rotors there is nothing to be done. Or, we can just look at it as a 21st century opportunity to show Benedictine hospitality and put out a giant sign, "LAND HERE FOR FREE TOAST AND TEA."
Here is what you can do with the right dogs and a whole lot of LED: