Powered Parachutes Rile People With Guns

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Pilots Allege Gun Pointed At Aircraft

The manager of a small airport near St. Louis says he just wants to "try to open up the lines of communication" between local hunters and pilots since a recent confrontation between the two. Tracy Smith, manager of St. Charles County Smartt Airport, said he'll look into allegations that an unidentified man pointed a rifle or shotgun at one of two powered parachutes setting up to land at the field earlier this month. Although he hasn't heard about the alleged incident, Smith said he is aware of some discontent by hunters who claim low-flying aircraft are scaring away (but have not yet become) their quarry. Smartt Airport is in the middle of a duck-rich environment. To the south is a state conservation area and to the north is a private duck-hunting club that lies directly under the approach/takeoff path for the runway. Smith said there's no practical way to avoid overflying either of the sensitive areas.