Congress Aims To Change FAA Airport Access Policy
Bills are now under consideration in both the House and Senate to amend a recent FAA policy that restricts airport access. The "Community Airport Access and Protection Act of 2010" addresses the FAA's decision to prohibit "through the fence" access at most public airports. Such access has long been enjoyed by owners of hangar homes and other neighbors who use airports on a regular basis. "Please contact your senators and representatives to support these bills," Brent Blue wrote to AVweb this week. Blue founded a group called Through The Fence to organize opposition to the policy. "No data, studies, or non-FAA-personnel's opinion went into the new order," which was issued last September without any input from the public or advocacy groups, says Blue. Through The Fence is encouraging all pilots and others interested in general aviation airports to contact their senators and representatives to support this legislation.
The House bill is H.R. 4815, sponsored by Representatives Sam Graves and Leonard Boswell. The Senate Bill is H.R. 1586 Amendment #3465, sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe and co-sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden. The bills would restore access but would also require off-airport users to pay access charges. "Congressmen Graves and Boswell as well as Senator Inhofe deserve tremendous credit for sponsoring legislation which ensures access to general aviation airports and supports their economic vitality through TTF fees," said Blue. "This correction of FAA policy will help maintain the viability of small airports by encouraging use while supporting safety and security."
AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Brent Blue about these issues in December; click here for the podcast.