On occasion, I have represented airmen in enforcement actions that arose out of what I like to refer to as a “watch this” maneuvers (usually something less than safe to impress someone else and often a violation of the FAR’s). Examples of “watch this” maneuvers include low passes over people or property on the ground when unnecessary for takeoff or landing, performing aerobatic maneuvers in an aircraft that is not approved for aerobatics, intentionally dropping something from an aircraft, and engaging in other inappropriate conduct while flying an aircraft.
As you might guess, the FAA takes a very dim view of this type of conduct. And, not surprisingly, the sanctions sought by the FAA in the enforcement actions that invariably arise from these situations can be pretty severe (think suspensions of 180 days or more and, in extreme cases, revocation of the airman’s certificate).
You might be wondering, “how does the FAA find out”? Well, many times the “watch this” maneuver is witnessed by people on the ground. In other instances, the “watch this” maneuver results in an accident, incident or other event whose occurrence gets the FAA’s attention. And once the FAA knows about it, the airman is along for the ride.
The moral of the story: No matter how much you may be tempted to do a “watch this” maneuver, don’t do it. The suspension or revocation that may follow, or the accident or incident that may result, are simply not worth the pleasure you may receive. When the “watch this” urge strikes, please, resist the temptation.