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Know your rights - Federal Funded Airports and Access issues

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Gearing Up
June 2009 | by Ed Scott

First, our current success is based on groundwork laid by USPA staff long ago. Early on, when civilian skydiving first began, there were calls for the FAA and even state aeronautics commissions to regulate skydivers. Imagine government setting and enforcing the safety standards to which the sport would adhere. Fortunately, USPA’s predecessors convinced all but a handful of states that a skydiving organization such as USPA could develop safety standards that jumpers would respect and government would accept. Ever since, the FAA and state governments have acknowledged, accepted and endorsed USPA efforts, and largely left skydiving safety to skydivers.

Decades ago, USPA won the right for skydivers to be on federally funded airports by successfully arguing that the FAA’s definition of “aeronautical activity” should include skydiving. FAA-funded airports are not allowed to discriminate among “types, kinds, and classes of aeronautical activity,” according to the grant agreements that the airports must sign. Originally, the definition didn’t include skydiving; now it does.

Over the years, USPA has parlayed that right of access into the presence of many more DZs at municipal airports. In the past 12 months, USPA has assisted 10 new DZs that encountered initial difficulty with opening. So if you’re skydiving in California, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee or Texas, you have new DZ options. We don’t claim that USPA did it all—starting a DZ at an unwelcoming airport takes perseverance and preparation by the DZ’s proponent. But USPA is very successful at convincing local officials to open constructive dialogue and can assist the prospective DZO with preparing for those negotiations. When that fails, we’re pretty good at getting the FAA to weigh in and come down on our side of the issue.

It’s not always local officials that need convincing. Sometimes FAA air traffic control isn’t so sure they can handle new skydiving activity in what they consider to be busy airspace. Here too, USPA has helped, arranging for dialogue that often leads to procedures that mitigate the concern and put skydivers in the air.

Few would argue that helping members establish new DZs shouldn’t be a USPA role. After all, skydivers need DZs, and the more options, the better. So if USPA expends effort and resources to get airports to accept DZs, shouldn’t we also fight for DZs when they’re threatened with restrictions, closure or forced removal? As long as a DZ has shown support for USPA by becoming a Group Member, we do. These take time too, especially if we have to go to the mat and file a formal complaint calling for an FAA investigation. Again, uncommon patience and perseverance by the DZO are essential. In the past 12 months, USPA has assisted seven threatened DZs, helping resolve the issues at five of them (the remaining two are ongoing). More access issues are expected; it’s a continuing problem.

Government relations is also more than just airport and airspace access.
(edit by OP)
Rest assured, your dues are hard at work; USPA will continue to fight for your place in the sky.



Well now an interesting read in this months mag. However way to many DZO's, skydivers and pilots alike are really misinformed and don't have a clue as to the rules and regualtions regarding Federal Funded Airports.

It's up to you the airspace user to know and understand your rights and fight for them! But first in order to start your fight one has to know the rules and understand them CLEARLY, So let's take a look.

1. You need to know and understand the Airport Sponsors "airport obligations" to the federal gov. this a binding contract that is signed with the Fed's agreeing to a whole host of items in exchange for OUR tax dollars.

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Airport sponsors agree to certain obligations when they accept Federal grant funds or Federal property transfers for airport purposes. The FAA enforces these obligations through its Airport Compliance

http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/airports/airport_obligations/

2.http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/airports/airport_obligations/overview/

The Airport Sponors have a fiduciary duty to you the tax payer to up hold these obligations under the contract for our money. If they do not they risk losing the funding in the future and may be required to repay the grants with interest.

3. In order to really understand this you need to read the rules found here.http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/airports/resources/publications/orders/media/Obligations_5190_6a.pdf This is the meat of it all.

4. But hold on there.... we have more to read. It seems that a lot of Airport Sponsors like to interpret these rules any ol way they see fit and then try to use that to run off would be users. So the FAA issued a number of Advisory Circulars to make 100% clear to everyone what the rules say, two such AC's are very important to an access fight, AC 150/5190-6, Exclusive Rights at Federally Obligated Airports http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/airports/resources/advisory_circulars/media/150-5190-6/150_5190_6.pdf and AC 150/5190-7, Minimum Standards for Commercial Aeronautical Activities http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/airports/resources/advisory_circulars/media/150-5190-7/150_5190_7.pdf

Now we need to understand one very important thing here, and that is we "skydivers & Parachutist" are an "aeronautical activity" (everone still reading gose, well duh!) But lets look at what the FAA defines as an "aeronautical activity". Lets turn to AC 150/5190-7 subsection F "skydiving" it states clearly:

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f.Skydiving.
Skydiving is an aeronautical activity. Any restriction, limitation, or ban on skydiving on the airport must be based on the grant assurance that provides that the airport sponsor may prohibit or limit aeronautical use for the safe operation of the airport (subject to FAA approval). The following questions present reasonable factors the sponsor might contemplate when developing minimum standards that apply to skydiving:



Now most people and Airport Sponsors read that part about "the airport sponsor may prohibit or limit aeronautical use for the safe operation of the airport." and they think that because the Airport Sponsors claims it is "unsafe" that is the end of the story. However let's not be fooled here and read on: Question #1 in subsection F says:

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(1)Will this activity present or create a safety hazard to the normal operations of aircraft arriving or departing from the airport? If so, has the local Airports District Office (ADO) or the Regional Airports Office been contacted and have those FAA offices sought the assistance from FAA Flight Standards (FS) and Air Traffic (AT) to assess whether safe airport operations would be jeopardized?



Here we see the Airport Sponsor has a fiduciary duty to the tax payers to contact the named branches of the FAA and ask for quidance, they can't not just say it's so (unsafe), because they think it's unsafe and say it is unsafe and ban or restrict sydiving. They MUST contact the ADO!

Many times the Airport Sponsors like to claim and try to halt on airport landings of skydivers and parachutes by saying it's not safe for other air traffic, again subsection F #2 address this:

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(2)
Can skydiving operations be safely accommodated at the airport? Can a drop zone be safely established within the boundaries of the airport? Is guidance in FAA AC-90-66A
Recommended Standards Traffic Patterns and Practices for Aeronautical Operations at Airports Without Operating Control Towers
, 14 CFR Part 105 and United States Parachute Association’s (USPA) Basic Safety Requirements being followed?



www.FAA.gov AC 150/5190-6, Exclusive Rights at Federally-Obligated Airports ...APPENDIX 1. DEFINITIONS

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a. Aeronautical Activity. Any activity that involves, makes possible, or is required for the operation of aircraft or that contributes to or is required for the safety of such operations. Activities within this definition, commonly conducted on airports, include, but are not limited to, the following: general and corporate aviation, air taxi and charter operations, scheduled and nonscheduled air carrier operations, pilot training, aircraft rental and sightseeing, aerial photography, crop dusting, aerial advertising and surveying, aircraft sales and services, aircraft storage, sale of aviation petroleum products, repair and maintenance of aircraft, sale of aircraft parts, parachute or ultralight activities, and any other activities that, because of their direct relationship to the operation of aircraft, can appropriately be regarded as aeronautical activities. Activities, such as model aircraft and model rocket operations, are not aeronautical activities.



It's important that you as a user of the national airspace system know and understand your rights and obligations as a user and also those of the Airport Sponsors and fellow users as well, this not only makes you a well informed user it can help to educate others and put to rest the misinformation that is out there. the more you know and understand this info the better off the sport will be.

It is not uncommon to have the other local DZO's and their "pee on's" try to feed the Airport Sponsors a bunch of false and misleading bullshit in order to help keep you from opening or operating on the Federal Funded Airport of your choice. Again the more you know and understand your rights and the process of working with in the Federal Regulations the more you make those DZO's and those loyal to them & Airport Sponsors, who seek to keep you out look like morons to the FAA.

Don't be pushed around take a stand and KNOW YOUR RIGHTS~!
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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Power point #1 from the FAA website.

http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/airports/regional_guidance/great_lakes/airports_news_events/2008_conference/Media/B-6_Understanding_Your_Obligations_When_You_Accept_AIP_Grants.pdf

Power point #2 also from the FAA website.

http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/airports/regional_guidance/northwest_mountain/airports_news_events/annual_conference/2003/media/grant_assurances.ppt#291,18,22. Economic Nondiscrimination

Both these power points were written and produced by different FAA offices, these right in line with the AC's and 5190.6A as posted above.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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a great review - but a city or municipality can still make your life difficult.

we pay a fee at Z-Hills that no one else pays on the airport and they are allowed to do that. Even with the equality of equal access to an airport, the airport can tack on a tax or fee, usage fees, etc

But access is the main issue for sure. Everyone needs to stay on top of that with your local communities.

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a great review - but a city or municipality can still make your life difficult.

we pay a fee at Z-Hills that no one else pays on the airport and they are allowed to do that. Even with the equality of equal access to an airport, the airport can tack on a tax or fee, usage fees, etc

But access is the main issue for sure. Everyone needs to stay on top of that with your local communities.


Hi TK,
'Yer Right On about the city/municipality hassle!! Ever heard of Hammond Airport, Louisiana!! Home to Louisiana Skydivers from Baton Rouge, Delta Skydivers from New Orleans, Southland Skydivers from Hammond and ultimately Southern Parachute Center started by Ben Seal Jr. and handed off to Leon and Prissie Riche. The DZ never saw the end of 1969. Even with the federal funding issue on our side, not having co-operation from the locals was the major point of contention. The airport is still there, there's a few FBO's, a CBP facility and a Nat, Guard unit but no Skydiving.
SCR-2034, SCS-680

III%,
Deli-out

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Well yes the tax and fee issue: I'm nooooo expert here but I've been working real hard for a few years to know and play ball under the "guild lines" set by the FAA. Point numer one to make sure everyone understands here about my first post.

I'm talking 100% here, "so you want to open a dz at your local F.F.A. - Non towered General Aviation Airport in class E airspace"

While TK makes a good point and it's valid, we need to understand that Z-hills has been there for almost 55 years (or longer) in some form or another, you might say well established.

However lets turn to page 11 & 12 in this power point: http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/airports/regional_guidance/great_lakes/airports_news_events/2008_conference/Media/B-6_Understanding_Your_Obligations_When_You_Accept_AIP_Grants.pdf And read what is says.

Also we need to take a look Airport Assurances:(note the date)
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Airport Assurances (3/2005)

22. Economic Nondiscrimination. a. It will make the airport available as an airport for public use on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination to all types, kinds and classes of aeronautical activities, including commercial aeronautical activities offering services to the public at the airport.

9c. Each fixed-based operator at the airport shall be subject to the same rates, fees, rentals, and other charges as are uniformly applicable to all other fixed-based operators making the same or similar uses of such airport and utilizing the same or similar facilities.

h. The sponsor may establish such reasonable, and not unjustly discriminatory, conditions to be met by all users of the airport as may be necessary for the safe and efficient operation of the airport.

i. The sponsor may prohibit or limit any given type, kind or class of aeronautical use of the airport if such action is necessary for the safe operation of the airport or necessary to serve the civil aviation needs of the public. (and we know only with the written approval of the FAA, the FAA decides NOT the airport sponsor)



(FYI- The use of the word commercial, dose NOT mean TWA airlines, it means a commercial operator, unless your DZ is a club as defined by the FAR's, it is a commercial operation)

I'm going to go out on a limb here in regards to TK's tax & fees:

Z-hills like a lot of other airport business is a S.A.S.O. What is a S.A.S.O.? See AC 150/5190-7

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a.Specialized Aviation Service Operations.

When specialized aviation service operations (SASOs), sometimes known as single-service providers or special FBOs, apply to do business
airport, “all” provisions of the published minimum standards may not apply. This is not to say
SASOs providing the same or similar services should not equally comply with all applicable minimum standards. However, an airport should not, without adequate justification, require
service provider desiring to provide a single service or less than full service also meet the criteria
a full-service FBO. Examples of these specialized services may include aircraft flying clubs,
training, aircraft airframe and powerplant repair/maintenance, aircraft charter, air taxi
ambulance, aircraft sales, avionics, instrument or propeller services, or other specialized commercial flight support businesses. Airport sponsors generally do not allow fuel sales alone as a SASO,
usually require that fuel sales be bundled with other services.



At a dropzone, we provide a specialized single service operation, you don't come to a DZ to learn cropdusting or IFR, you come to learn skydiving!

We are required know and understand the FAR's that apply to us parts- 61, 65, 91 & 105, we also are required to abide by AC 90-66A operating at an uncontrolled GA and cloud clearances for each type of airspace we operate in, the same as any other pilot of an aircraft. I will contend that this defines "flight training", we are teaching people the FAR's that apply and how to fly their body through the sky and also how to fly a parachute through the sky while following the FAR's that apply to our aeronautical activity as well as other airspace users, we can be fined the same as any other pilot for those who violate the FAR's.

There for IMHO I would think TK and the legal team for Z-hills could and should look into these fees & taxes as maybe being "Economic discrimination" if TK feels his is being unjustly economically discriminated against. Dose the flight school & glider club/school pay the same fees & tax?

Why? Well if we look at AC 150/5190-6 & 150/5190-7 and take a look at the dates of those AC's we will see those were amended in the last few years.

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Subject: EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS AT Date: January 4, 2007 AC No: 150/5190-6



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Subject: MINIMUM STANDARDS FOR Date: August 28, 2006 AC No: 150/5190-7
COMMERCIAL AERONAUTICAL ACTIVITIES



So what may have been legal,fair and just fees & taxes 5 or 10 years ago when Z-hills contracted with the city, may or may not be fair and just today. And might be worth the review with his lawyers and ADO office after a consulting call with the USPA Government Relations office.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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The Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard reports the Creswell City Council is now rushing to address the issue through legislation.



Classic! I love how these city hall types think they can skirt federal law or trump it with some local city/county code.

One of my fav's heard not long ago was :
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Currently the Airport is zoned GPI (General Public and Institutional). The current zoning allows public institutions and uses but may not allow future industrial or commercial development at the Airport. The GPI district allows recreational facilities uses but would only allow parachuting activities through approval of a special use permit. The City is seeking to have the property rezoned to IG (Industrial General) which would allow better usage of the property for commercial and industrial purposes. However, parachuting is a recreational facilities use that is not permitted in an IG district.. The rezoning process will conclude in August.




I'm guess'n these clowns have never heard of the FAA approved "recreational pilots license"? And if I'm not mistaken..... Most private pilots would be considered "recreational or Sport" pilots, there for making their use of the airport in fact a "recreational facility" .

I mean would it not under such logic as they use.:S:D

I wonder what all those pilot are going to do with their birds now that their not allowed to do "recreational flights". At least there will be some open hangers for the new commercial operators.;)
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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It's good to see Hobby Field will open up again. I went to high school about 10 miles from there and my parents still live there. A year ago I jumped with Urban while they were landing on a private farm field that was 20 mins away by car... but not big enough for students. Last year they could no longer take fun jumpers by request of the field owner only wanting tandems landing there now.

Hobby field has a large safe LZ.

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That is a good guess, however the the USDOT defines an aircraft as :

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(6) ‘‘aircraft’’ means any contrivance invented, used, or designed
to navigate, or fly in, the air.

http://testimony.ost.dot.gov/compilation/

Being the house that the FAA lives at (USDOT), I would have to say the answers is A an aircraft. Also as a "parachutist in command" of an open and flying "aircraft" that mean your a:

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(8) ‘‘airman’’ means an individual—
(A) in command, or as pilot, mechanic, or member
the crew, who navigates aircraft when under way;



OK there is a catch 22 here, parachutist are NOT certificated airman! But some of us are, pilots/riggers/A&P's ect.

So WHY? is this info important to us??? Well how many times do you hear about some asshat airport authority or airport board/city/county trying to ban skydiving and parachuting from taking place and or landing on the airport. We see it a lot more then most would think. Here is why they can't do that legally under the US code.

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(28) ‘‘landing area’’ means a place on land or water, including an airport or intermediate landing field, used, or intended to be used, for the takeoff and landing of aircraft, even when facilities are not provided for sheltering, servicing, or repairing aircraft, or for receiving or discharging passengers or cargo.



We are defined as an aircraft, there for we have as much right to enjoy and use an airport as much as any other "type, kind & class" of aircraft.

Dose this mean you can do hop & pops into JFK or O'hare? Well hell no, do be stupid! We still have to follow the airspace requirements and FAR's, this means if you follow the right rules in fact you could do a hop & pop into those places, but don;t hold your breath on getting approval from the FAA. Yes it can be done, I have done demos right off the end the runway to a major, major airport without a problem, hell they didn't stop jet traffic from departing while we under canopy. The reason being is we were in the "cone" of the runways, none of those big ass jets were going to be turning and crossing our path and we were to low to impact those flights, it took the right paper work and working with FAA & ATC to make it happen and we were given a short window to enter the airspace to make the jump.

Also of interest to some peeps here who I know are reading this:

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NATA recently released their Airport Sponsors Guide to Minimum Standards. They solicited revisions on the skydiving section from USPA, then at the request of FAA, published the document without reference to specific aeronautical activities.



This is great news for those who are in the fight or about to be in a fight with said asshats.

http://www.nata.aero/data/files/g%20&%20i%20affairs/minimum_standards/060909ms_pr.pdf
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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Being the house that the FAA lives at (USDOT), I would have to say the answers is A an aircraft. Also as a "parachutist in command" of an open and flying "aircraft" that mean you're a:

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(8) ‘‘airman’’ means an individual—
(A) in command, or as pilot, mechanic, or member
the crew, who navigates aircraft when under way;



OK there is a catch 22 here, parachutist are NOT certificated airman! But some of us are, pilots/riggers/A&P's ect.



True, but the airman definition doesn't specify "certificated airman" does it?

Just an individual, in command, who navigates aircraft when under way (picking and choosing out of the full def).

There are a few different types of aircraft that do not require certification.
Ultralights, powered parachutes, para-gliders, and of course, sport parachute canopies.

They still have to follow all the FARs, and are subject to the authority of the FAA, but they are still aircraft, and need to be treated as such by "real" airplanes.

I have had some discussion along these lines with the other pilots at the airport where my DZ is.
Mainly along the lines that parachutes are unpowered aircraft and have the right of way over powered aircraft. That parachutes on approach have the right of way over airplanes.
Once in a while you get a jerk, but most of them stop, think for a second and go "Oh, yeah, I hadn't thought if it that way before".

And yes, I realize that "Right of Way" won't protect you from a spinning propeller, but getting the pilots of the other planes to recognize our legitimacy is worth the effort.
"There are NO situations which do not call for a French Maid outfit." Lucky McSwervy

"~ya don't GET old by being weak & stupid!" - Airtwardo

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Ok let's get this back on topic here:

So you did a lot of home work and found the cash o'la to make a start on building your dream dz at your local FFA. You set up a meeting with the airport manger for a request under FAR 105.23B to operate on & above the airport. You get your meeting all set up and think it's going good.

Well there is your first mistake, thinking it's going good. You should assume right away you will be met with a big F off or a hell NO! This will be accompanied with a number of "safety" issues as to why you may not operate there. You should expect to hear every stupid reason you can think of from the airport manger, airport advisory board, city commision and you need to beware that should your other area DZO's get wind of your plans, that they will be assisting the locals with misinformation, lies and half truths in order to help keep you banned or to just make your life (plans) such a pain in the ass you'll go away!

Well if you know rights and hold your ground and work with in the system and put your USPA dues to good use by having a working understanding with Randy Ottinger in the government relations office, this will help you to wade throught the bullshit, plan on buying some hip waders and using them on a regular basis.

The key to making your case with the FAA is to document EVERYTHING! Emails, letters, meetings can be recorded in most cases under the "open meeting act" video is a great tool to use. Everytime the asshats from the city or airport manger says something as to why you can't operate due to "safety" or "incompatiblity of airport use" ask for it in writing till you get it back in writing, you MUST CYA and provide the proof to the FAA. (remember the ADO office works for the airport sponsor to comply with the contract for funding, they don't work for you!, but will be forced too under law.)

Once you get your ducks in a row and make your offical business plans, you should get a couple of letters like the ones attached. Each letter attached will show you how the progress will go 95% of the time, so by knowing your going to get told to F off in nice PC kind of way, it's best to plan for such and once you know what to expect, it's quit easy to get the asshats to say just what you need them to say in order to bring down the full weight of the FAA on them. The hard part is going to all the meetings and hoop jumping that you need to do all while keeping your cool. As you sit there and listen to a bunch of pompous ass good ol boys tell you and city officals, general public everything under the sun as to why you can't use the airport, using lies, half truths and misnformation as fact (some coming from other skydivers), you got stay cool and just smile, because if you've done your job the right way everything they say is digging the hole deeper for them with the FAA.......Document, document, document it ALL!!!

Now your ready to send in your request to the local ADO office to start a part 13 informal complaint and if you've done a good job in the document dept. the FAA will get real interested real quick.

Remember the FAA's moto: "We're from the FAA & we're here to help, we're not happy till your not happy!"

Once the ADO office reviews your request for a part 13 informal complaint, they will go over your documents and should start the proceedings, this means they will contact the airport sponsor and ask them for a detailed accounting of their replies to you. History has shown they (airport sponsors) tend to shoot themselfs in the foot more in their replies back the the FAA because of their complete lack of understanding the grant assurances and even the FAR's.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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First lets understand that not all airports are good nor safe for skydiving operations... If all were then I would be operating 50 miles closer to the metro than I currently am. I have several large airports that I personally know the management and they would love to have my business but we both know its not feasible... Location in most cases is what most inspired DZO's want to give them the edge over the competition... Yes, most all airports operate under the grant assurance program but the bottom line is they have legitimate reasons to say "no" I spent 3 years and went to every airport within 75 NM of my city. I have heard it all, fought the fights and can assure you if a city or commission decides they don't want skydiver's for what ever reason.... MOVE ON!! don't go against the grain you will only have a permanent conflict that will keep the operation from growing. Lets face it, skydiving is hard enough to run on an airport that is either owned outright or has a lease agreement that is working with that location. Another thing to consider is what size operation are you trying to bring to these airports that are in your sight??? A small 182 weekend DZ putting up 8 jumpers an hour 2 days a week compared to a full time turbine over an arrival route for a major airport with lots of corporate activity already established is a totally different consideration. My advise get as far away from the area you want to operate i.e. 100 miles from your major cities. Find an airport that needs business and wants it. Bottom line don't force your way in.. Its a dead end!!!!

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First lets understand that not all airports are good nor safe for skydiving operations... If all were then I would be operating 50 miles closer to the metro than I currently am. I have several large airports that I personally know the management and they would love to have my business but we both know its not feasible... Location in most cases is what most inspired DZO's want to give them the edge over the competition... Yes, most all airports operate under the grant assurance program but the bottom line is they have legitimate reasons to say "no" I spent 3 years and went to every airport within 75 NM of my city. I have heard it all, fought the fights and can assure you if a city or commission decides they don't want skydiver's for what ever reason.... MOVE ON!! don't go against the grain you will only have a permanent conflict that will keep the operation from growing. Lets face it, skydiving is hard enough to run on an airport that is either owned outright or has a lease agreement that is working with that location. Another thing to consider is what size operation are you trying to bring to these airports that are in your sight??? A small 182 weekend DZ putting up 8 jumpers an hour 2 days a week compared to a full time turbine over an arrival route for a major airport with lots of corporate activity already established is a totally different consideration. My advise get as far away from the area you want to operate i.e. 100 miles from your major cities. Find an airport that needs business and wants it. Bottom line don't force your way in.. Its a dead end!!!!




100 miles? Chris, come on. Then Skydive Chicago, Skydive Dallas, Perris Valley, Zephyrhills should all close. That's not a reasonable expectation. And just becaue an airport is near an established arrival route doesn't mean that should also be grounds for denying skydiving. I worked on a letter of agreement with Kansas City Approach for the Greater Kansas City Skydiving Club for climb and descent patterns that greatly helped the relationship with ATC. There are no absolutes.
Chris Schindler
www.diverdriver.com
ATP/D-19012
FB #4125

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100 miles is just a starting point.. Im not saying that is a min. And a number of the DZ's that you pointed out are on private land or owned property, not CITY operated facilities. The arrival route issue is just that, getting approach or the local FISDO to work with an establishment. This particular issue is with the Lawrence KS airport. Another airport that several DZ's have tried to operate at with similar results over the years... Again I would love to operate closer and have worked with these airports to include Lawrence for years. if it were that easy then I guess we all would only have a 10 min. drive to the DZ wouldn't we??? Independence airport was just that... too close and now its no longer an airport as you know. Times are different with this type of business unlike in the mid. 80"s & 90's. What Im trying to say in short is that not one airport is identical. Not all airports are condusive nor safe for skydiving operations. Fighting our way in to a place that has said no for years and continues to have legitimate reasons why is in my mind not good for us. Yes, we must continue to work for equal access to federal funded airports but we must realize that all airports have multiple reasons for denial and the FAA, USPA and all other organizations need to be rational and not fight there way into a location...

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I realize that Chris, My point is closer is not better in alot of areas or towns. You and I both know things are quite different here than perhaps other locations. Most of these airports have heard the business plans of DZO's fom the past and they are not interested in this type of activity at these locations. Why continue to force matters and go against the grain of a decision that was reviewed and voted out?? They have as ED would call it several trump cards... All airports do. These cards are in every airports deck.... All need to know this and not burn too many bridges with such a small community.. Airports are a small group and they do communicate with other local locations...

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My posts. Are my views and opinions based on a good study of a number of past & present cases of the public record, where the FAA found in favor of the approved aeronautical activity :skydiving. In each if these cases :Yazoo City, Triangle, Columbus, Sacramento, Creswell, Henry County Along with access fights on other non funded airfields in TX in recent months. Many of these documents had to be read more then once in great detail, with consulting info by experts in the field at the USPA & FAA to fully understand the information contained in the documents, this one of the reasons for the use and issue of AC's.

It always starts with out with one or two airfield users who have some bogus reason to everyone else but "legitimate in their mind" as to why they have a huge hard on for keeping out those who "they" don't feel deserve to be allowed the same and "equal rights" as they............. Kind of like telling black folks to use the "blacks only water fountain". While it's discrimination based on type,kind or class of approved aeronautical users and not color, it's still discrimination and it's still offering "exclusive rights" to other users, both of each is a violation of the grant funding contract.

Each of these locations DZO's took on the fight and stood their ground and understood their rights to access the national airspace, some lost while it was still a win for USPA and others won out right and are now open or getting open, open with a in place dispute to be resolved still. I for one agree with those owners and the findings by the FAA to up hold the rights of ALL Airspace Users and not just those hanger queen owners and their golf buddies, who think because they have been using the airfield for the last 25 years that it is "their airport" and they get to decide who can and can't use it.

Around the country :FBO's, Airport Mangers, Airport board members, city mangers, city planners, hanger queen owners, Life flight operators, AC owners, pilots, and even some DZO's, they seem to think they are "all knowing and some kind of expert" in airspace use and what is and is not safe according to them and they know more then the FAA experts, yet none of them seem to be employed as airspace safety inspectors & experts by the FAA, the regulatory agency.

Yes just because some FBO who's personal opinion is right in line with that of his dad's family owned business for the last 50 years don't make it safe, right or legal under our system. And it's not his place to say who can and can't use the airport, he is NOT an expert & he don't own the airport!

As you read all the reports and case files on these location there is always "that FBO guy" "that rich doctor guy" "the hanger queen" "the asshole airport manger guy" There is one in every town on every airport, even a "that skydiver guy" depending on what side of the fence your standing, some people like to try to wear both hats, but that is to be expected of them. So when you read or see what kind of actions they take or took or what they say or said , it's like playing a broken record over and over.

Hey I'm all fine and dandy if you want to own and operate your own personal "Country Club Airport" for the "right kind of people" thats cool by me and all, just how about you get your freeloading hand out of my taxpayer wallet and you can go on and fund it & build it and run it anyway you want too and provide access to only those you see fit to use it with your blessing and stamp of approval.

You may know a lot of the funding is a 95% to 5% split a lot of the time, but not always that split %, so those taxpayers in the local funded area are 100% owners and not 95% owners, the other 5% (or more) is out of local property taxes. So as a 100% owner in his local town of Sacramento, Mr. Garcia maybe he dose not want to move his DZ down the road a 100 miles in order to find a "friendly" airport who wants him there, he has the right like any other citizen, even a guy like Mark Schlatter (:P), he can open and operate his FAA Approved Aeronautical Activity as along the rules are followed that apply and no your local city zoning code don't trump the FAR's. The language contained with in FAA Order 5190, the FAR's and AC's is VERY CLEAR as to who has what rights and what rules are to be applied to whom and when.

Just because some volunteer citizen advisory board, the FBO and his golf buddies, the airport manger, city manger, rich guy or whoever, wants it done one way, don't make it safe, legal or right. And it's not their place, right or rights, demands, wishes or wants to, make false claims to FAR restrictions & denials, enforce or interpret FAR's and or try to apply some type of "local law" Ban, or limit on ANY TYPE, KIND or CLASS of "Approved Aeronautical Activity".

http://www.FAA.gov AC 150/5190-6, Exclusive Rights at Federally-Obligated Airports...APPENDIX 1. DEFINITIONS

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a. Aeronautical Activity. Any activity that involves, makes possible, or is required for the operation of aircraft or that contributes to or is required for the safety of such operations. Activities within this definition, commonly conducted on airports, include, but are not limited to, the following: general and corporate aviation, air taxi and charter operations, scheduled and nonscheduled air carrier operations, pilot training, aircraft rental and sightseeing, aerial photography, crop dusting, aerial advertising and surveying, aircraft sales and services, aircraft storage, sale of aviation petroleum products, repair and maintenance of aircraft, sale of aircraft parts, parachute or ultralight activities, and any other activities that, because of their direct relationship to the operation of aircraft, can appropriately be regarded as aeronautical activities. Activities, such as model aircraft and model rocket operations, are not aeronautical activities.



The FAA is the ONLY authorized agency in the USA to make rules, regulations, actions, enforcement, cite, advice, interpret, change, guidance, guidelines placed on airspace users, they are the the authorities!

If Mr. Garcia wants to proceed and file a part 13 complaint that is his right as an airspace user and citizen of the USA to exercise. If the FAA finds no safety issues and sides with Mr. Garcia then Mr. Garcia is free to take it to the next level of a part 16 fight should the city not comply with the FAA findings, again it's his rights to do so and I fully support those who wish to exercise their legal rights in this country to gain airport access as long as the airport meets the requirements set forth in the FAR's. After all if you take out the word "skydiving" and change it to "banner towing" , "cropdusting" "sailplane", "sight seeing", "ultralights", "EAA", "home built" "guy in a J-3 Cub with no radio"............

The FAA looks at all factors in the safety study process and involves a number of offices at all levels from Washington DC to local are a part of a safety study. (fact)

If they can start with one class, type or kind and ban it for what ever reason they wanted too then where would general aviation really be today? If you want your cake and eat it too, then pay back with interest the tax payer owners and go 100% private funding and have your up tight members only airpark and marked with a big R on the sectional. If not then play by the rules of the "public owned" sand box!

As I said my posts to this thread are :"My posts. Are my views and opinions based on a good study of a number of past & present cases of the public record". any locations, coincidence, likeness, common name to those persons or person, living or dead are fictional and for discussion purposes only. These are my points of view and mine only, this is in no way an official endorsement, statement or statements of my employer,boss or wife, and or any of the following sponsors or agencies,clubs or groups: The FAA, ATC, USPA, CSPA, PCA, CBA, PBA, CIA, ABBA, NASA, NATA, NATL, NRA, ABC, NBC, CBS, CMT, TMZ, SWC, BBC, TBS, Skydive Radio, NTSB, FBI, NCIS, CSI, Men In Black, Blackwater, NAODH, ADO, FSDO, PBR, FAI, PIA, Parachutist, KBI, ATF, SSK, USSO, IgoVincent, 800Skyride, BEv-Suits, KSUSPC, BSA, KDOT, USDOT, mike & ike, windblade, Redbull, Sears, John Deere, NAFTA, AFL-CIO, NAA, Boeing, TWA, KKK, ASCAP, Nike, Sony or Coors.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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Wow, Staratostar.... You must have a lot of time on your hands. However thanks for the information on this topic. Im confident now that I can relocate my business to a much closer airport knowing that all I have to do is bang on the FAA's office and rattle them into submission..... If I only would have figured this out 12years ago I would have a much larger and convenient operation.... NOT>>>

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Excellent posts, Stratostar......I STRONGLY support anyone pursuing legitimate access to federally funded airports and I have personally experienced some of the institutional reluctance of several similar airports who either didn't want a skydiving operation OR kicked one off the airport once they obtained their multimillion dollar grant for a new runway or runway extension.

The federal laws governing this situation are quite clear......and I believe the ONLY agency that can determine whether or not an airport is "safe" or "appropriate" for skydiving is the FAA.....not the usual gang of good old boys who frequently serve on the various airport boards/city councils etc and who are often reluctant to grant permission.

I think the only reason that we don't have more access to federally funded municipal airports is the reluctance of potential new dz owners to pursue the lengthy and often frustrating legal procedures that wiould most likely end up with a favorable ruling in some appropriate state or federal court. It just takes a lot of time and is potentially very expensive, especially if there are other locations that are "easier" or on the surface more receptive to the idea.

Ultimately, though, who cares if the airport sponsors don't want a dz or are hostile to the idea?? If we follow the law and we are right, then we are right!!! Let them be hostile.Discrimination against skydiving is as intolerable to me as discrimination against African Americans. This was a huge issue in the 1960s that eventually required specific legislation that most of us now accept as simply common sense.....but at one time in our society, it had to FORCED on some people through LEGISLATION! Some municipal airports, once deemed acceptable by the FAA, may have to just accept the fact that by accepting federal funds (OUR tax dollars at work) that they incurred the obligation to let us use it and jump there. END OF STORY.!....and if they don't like it then they need to figure out a way to turn those millions of dollars back to the government so they can run their exclusive private airport.

I think we, as collective skydivers, need to be much more active in supporting any potential new dz that is involved in an access issue at any federally funded municipal airport......this is an issue that will not go away and we need to become much more involved in the political process, to include contacting the appropriate state and federal representatives with our concerns. Most skydivers are not interested in doing this, but the long term survival of our sport is dependent upon it.

Might all sound like a soap box to you, but after 30 years in the sport , this has been the most constant and nagging irritation to me.

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