A year ago or so, a series of questions has been posted about dragons and aviation bureaucracy, with the following 4 questions:

This series was quite fun to read and explained quite a few things for me. However, these all make the same assumption: the dragon is sentient and just needs to do the paperwork to get cleared for flight.

But what if the dragon is NOT sentient? What if the dragon is, in effect, just a living aircraft, piloted by a human? Or a pegasus, giant bat, gryphon, wyvern or other tamed flying creature that can hold just the pilot?

Since we already have a basis in the above 4 questions, what aspects would change when non-sentient piloted beings are involved, as opposed to sentient selfpiloting beings? What would a pilot have to do if they wanted to fly their personal dragon/wyvern in controlled airspace?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM You should make that an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Jun 3, 2016 at 16:20
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ "Bird" strike on a 747 would be epic $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Jun 3, 2016 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Separatrix Epically disastrous. Ah! A wyvern just slammed into the left engine! We are all going to die fiery DEATHS! $\endgroup$ Jun 23, 2016 at 3:27

3 Answers 3


The ways of bureaucracies can be exceedingly strange, but at present I doubt that the FAA would have any pre-disaster jurisdiction in terms of regulation. Our green scaly friend is not a machine, flying or otherwise. She is, after all, a non-sentient animal, and as such would be treated like a wild animal. Birds which nest in airports, after all, are not sued or arrested.

If she were ridden in controlled airspace, I suspect the pilot would be charged with interfering with flight or endangerment, or something like that. Pretty much the same as would occur if you were to release a large weather balloon near an airport runway.

EDIT - Since the question has been modified to ask how a non-sentient dragon flown by a pilot could get certified, I'd say only with difficulty.

The problem that jumps out at me is the question of control. Can the pilot guarantee that the dragon will not decide that a passing bird looks tasty and go after it? If the dragon sees another dragon nearby, will it attack its rival? If it's mating season and a possible mate is spotted, will the dragon go looking for love in all the wrong places?

Until the pilot can guarantee that none of this can happen, I don't see how permission would be given. It would be roughly equivalent to allowing a mechanical aircraft to operate with a class of autopilot which is known to be unreliable.

  • $\begingroup$ that's the thing: I want to know what the rider would have to do to be allowed to fly her mount in controlled airspace. I'll clarify the question. $\endgroup$
    – Nzall
    Jun 4, 2016 at 12:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Nzall - see edit. $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2016 at 1:22
  • $\begingroup$ I like your answer, and your references. Sooner or later a dragon's going to fight something. Sooner or later, that dragon's going to win. :) $\endgroup$ Jun 23, 2016 at 3:30

If the dragon is not a sentient being flying itself, but rather a "flying implement" then the pilot controlling it is personally responsible for its actions.

Said pilot may require instruments to follow his/her intended flight path, rules and regulations, etc.

In this case the dragon is no different from other "flying machines" except for being much more difficult to control.


Most likely the flyer would require flight lessens. Maybe the dragon must be "certificated" as trained. In addition some "how do I handle Animal" training.

This dragon flight license howerver, could be easier to obtain then a normal flight license. Since the dragon can correct possible mistakes of the Pilot that would lead to crashes. After all it is a living being that was born to fly.


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