David 1, Goliath 0


Each season, the FAA considers adopting a reservation system for IFR operations into such popular destinations as Nantucket, Mass., Aspen, Colo., and other airports with limited facilities and acceptance rates but with high demand. Those restrictions have rarely, if ever, been implemented to restrict or prohibit VFR-only flights. And it appears they won’t again, even though the airport management at Sun Valley, Idaho, would like that. At issue is access to the airport serving an annual retreat for well-heeled businesspeople and their jets, all of whom want to use the community’s Friedman Memorial Airport. That creates congestion, according to the airport managers, and is something they’d like to avoid. So, they asked the FAA to restrict operations at the airport to IFR aircraft only; the FAA said “no.” Of course, they had some help: AOPA. “We felt this would be discriminating against a class of pilots, which is against FAA regulations,” the association’s Kathleen Roy told the Sun Valley Times. According to the association, investment banker Allen & Company attracts a large number of corporate aircraft to its annual bash each July. The FAA’s decision infuriated airport manager Rick Baird, who told the newspaper, “It doesn’t take a mathematician to understand we could be overwhelmed. The FAA had supported us in attempting to close to small fliers for a period of time so that we have control over what happens.” Instead, the FAA will issue one of its more-or-less-standard traffic management programs requiring IFR aircraft to obtain a reservation for each takeoff or landing they want to make at the airport during the conference. “All aircraft should have equal and nondiscriminatory access to the airport during this time frame,” AOPA said on its Web site.