The change of ownership at an FBO in Southern California led Wednesday to former tenants filing a formal complaint with the FAA against the airport and ultimately could form precedent regarding airports that attempt to limit access. When the former FBO operator, Sailplane Enterprises Inc. glider school, decided to end operations at Hemet-Ryan Airport in Southern California, the airport decided it would ban, calling unsafe, the glider operations that called the airport their home for decades. The glider pilots' formal complaint hopes to ultimately regain access to the airport and begin flying there again. But airport operators do have certain rights.
An airport operator is allowed to impose restrictions on some of the airport's activities to ensure safety, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. The question may be whether or not banning the gliders goes beyond that and instead applies unjust discrimination. The FAA has not yet determined the situation at Hemet-Ryan, but has so far found no evidence that glider operations pose a threat to safety.