September 22, 2005
Most airport owners would have trees at the end of their runways trimmed to prevent them from becoming a hazard to pilots. But at Grosse Ile Municipal Airport (ONZ) near Detroit, the township has been displacing the threshold, thus trimming the amount of usable runway for landings, instead of asking nearby landowners to trim their trees.
AOPA is asking the Michigan Aeronautics Commission (MAC) to issue a determination of hazard, which, by state law, would force the trees to be trimmed.
Continuing to shorten the length of the runway is "simply an unacceptable solution to users of the airport," AOPA told the commission. "In fact, due to these runway obstructions, the airport currently operates under a 'provisional license' issued by the state."
That license expires at the end of September.
Michigan law allows the commission to determine if there is an obstruction near the end of a runway and order the hazard removed.
This isn't the first time tall trees have caused serious problems at an airport in Michigan. Wilderness Airpark battled that issue from 1986 to 2004. Finally, in 2003 private parties filed a lawsuit to have the trees cut; something the state should have undertaken on its own.
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