Thursday, February 27, 2014


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:


  1. How dare a helicopter invade Zorian air-space!

  2. Zoar is peaceful, but it is neutral, and will not have a helicopter of all things (not even a proper aircraft: they do not so much fly as beat the air into submission) skulking about like a peeping Tom. We shall file a complaint with the United Nations.

  3. We've heard them the last couple days in STL Metro. In the late evening. Just now, in fact. I saw this in the STLToday recently.

  4. Well, that certainly sounds like ours. But we're trying to breed goats here, and we've got does ready. But nothing gets goats out of the mood for love like being buzzed by helicopters. And if they can see what's underground, what's to stop them from finding precious or non-precious metals (e.g. lead) in your house? You don't get to opt out, and if strange, unmarked aircraft interfere with your peaceful enjoyment of your property, your only remedy is trying to get a temporary injunction -- assuming you can figure out who to sue. The Bear strongly disapproves, but sees the direction things are moving in, and realizes there is nothing to be done through the system. The only thing left is to accept it as a mortification of pride. But I'm still contacting the Department of the Interior and seeing if they'll admit it's their helicopter. Because nothing says Harmless Crank than complaining about helicopters! Thanks for the tip, Pete.

    1. I don't like it either.

  5. P.S. Given the extraordinary attention our humble acreage has received, I hope it means that Zoar Farm is sitting on top of a mountain of gold! It would sure beat cucumbers and wethers as the basis for the Zoarian economy!


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