Pompano Appeals FAA Order On Airport Operations
The city of Pompano, Fla., is asking the FAA to reconsider a Dec. 15 ruling that would force it to abandon long-standing noise-abatement regulations that the FAA says are illegal. For almost 10 years it has been "illegal" to do touch and goes at Pompano Air Park except on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. In 2003, the city tightened the rules even further by outlawing stop-and-go exercises and also banning helicopter training outside of those hours. But, acting on a complaint by AOPA, the FAA said the city had no business restricting air operations and threatened to cancel a 1992 deal that allows the city to use land that was supposed to be used for the airport for a park, a fire house, a water-treatment plant and stables.
Part of the 1992 deal was that Pompano retain the air park and keep it accessible. "This should send a clear message to airport sponsors everywhere," said Bill Dunn, vice president of airports for AOPA. "Treat every user fairly and don't try to stop legal operations with illegal regulations." However, the political reality facing Pompano's leaders might be as unpalatable as the FAA threat is unaffordable. The flight restrictions were imposed after neighbors raised the roof over the noise. One nearby resident lodged more than 100 complaints a month about the helicopter noise. Pompano Mayor John Rayson, himself a pilot, is looking for compromise. "We don't have any business regulating flight operations," Rayson said. "Now having said that, I think the FAA should be sensitive to the community concerns about noise and touch-and-go operations."