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Ethical question:

#1
At my airfield, there is an airplane, at least 13 meters up a tree. I was at my field 3x today, at sun-up, afternoon & sunset. I zoomed my camera on the plane & I'm pretty sure there is no phone number or anything written on it, nor is anything posted to the tree, nor was anyone nearby. If I make a reasonable effort to find the owner and am unavailable to do so, if I get the plane down, would it be wrong for me to claim it? If asking around yields no information,I'm going to post on the tree & around the field "found plane" and have those claiming it describe it. I see it like this: if I find a wallet with money in it, I'll use the ID to return it. If I find cash on the street, no one looking for it, it's mine. I'm sure the original owner wants it back and if I can find that person,I'm happy to return it, but if they don't materialize, they don't answer my postings, and nothing identifying on the plane itself, would I be wrong to claim it? This is NOT a factor, but tomorrow is my birthday and I cannot afford to buy a new plane. That is well outside of the ethical problem, but the timing is serendipitous.
 

Monte.C

Well-known member
#2
Good. You said "I'm going to post on the tree & around the field "found plane" and have those claiming it describe it."
Perfect. They either didn't care (not very likely) or were at the time unable to retrieve it.
You retrieve it. Post at the airfield. They can call you.
If the pilot doesn't come to the airfield, one of his friends will.
If he calls you, you saved him the need to bring a very tall ladder.
 

Monte.C

Well-known member
#3
At my airfield, there is an airplane, at least 13 meters up a tree. I was at my field 3x today, at sun-up, afternoon & sunset. I zoomed my camera on the plane & I'm pretty sure there is no phone number or anything written on it, nor is anything posted to the tree, nor was anyone nearby. If I make a reasonable effort to find the owner and am unavailable to do so, if I get the plane down, would it be wrong for me to claim it? If asking around yields no information,I'm going to post on the tree & around the field "found plane" and have those claiming it describe it. I see it like this: if I find a wallet with money in it, I'll use the ID to return it. If I find cash on the street, no one looking for it, it's mine. I'm sure the original owner wants it back and if I can find that person,I'm happy to return it, but if they don't materialize, they don't answer my postings, and nothing identifying on the plane itself, would I be wrong to claim it? This is NOT a factor, but tomorrow is my birthday and I cannot afford to buy a new plane. That is well outside of the ethical problem, but the timing is serendipitous.
I almost forgot -
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
:D:D:D
 

Monte.C

Well-known member
#5
No matter what, it belongs to it's owner.
Someone must know who it belongs to.
What would you expect someone to do if it were your plane?
Good hunting to you.
Have a Happy Birthday!
If it were MY plane and you retrieved it I'd be a little bit offended that you handled my precious baby. Then I'd really quickly get over myself. Then I'd thank you. A couple times.

The only inconvenience would be if I came out there with a cherry picker tomorrow and found my plane gone.
But then I'd sort it out and then thank you.
 

Tench745

Well-known member
#6
I think you're on the right track. Track down the owner as best you can and give it back. If they don't materialize in X amount of time, it stands to reason that you could start in on repairs. If the owner shows up after that, you should offer him his plane back, so you risk wasting whatever work you've done. That's how I see it anyway.
 
#8
For another perspective on this, check out marine salvage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_salvage

Salvage is not generally an issue with fullsize airplanes because you can't really rescue the survivors and abandon a mostly-intact airplane on the rocks. So in practice the airplanes aren't worth much, and are full of dead bodies, and the NTSB is the only one willing to touch it.

You might go to great effort/expense to retrieve it and find the owner's name written inside. And he might thank you for returning it but give you nothing of actual value. Would that be fair? Admiralty court says no. But admiralty court does not have jurisdiction over model airplanes in trees.
 

Merv

Well-known member
#9
13 meters high is over 40 feet in the air.
Myself, I would never climb that high in a tree. The risk of injury from a fall is just too great.
 
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#10
The plane is a lot higher and a lot more stuck than I originally thought.also it's still there. Using the altimeter app on my phone,I inserted the phone into my plane then flew it parallel to the one in the tree. 19 meters! It's been windy and blustery as hell,the plane hasn't moved.it no longer belongs to whomever bought it,nor me,nor anyone.it now belongs to the tree,a lighthouse warning to passing airships,"stay away or live in this tree forever!" I feel bad for the owner,I wonder if they return to that field to fly other planes,their lost one always in their periphery.poor bastard.this hobby can be cruel! I hope it wasn't someone's first and only plane,on their first flight. Another one bites the dust.let us spill a little nitro fuel in the dirt for the fallen. NOT THAT MUCH! THAT SH**'S EXPENSIVE!
 
#12
I realize this is somewhat rhetorical, but no you usually can't just keep stuff you find, without making sure you follow your state and local laws. In Texas, that means holding it for 3 years without someone making an ownership claim.