Grant-Valkaria can’t restrict flight training, FAA says

August 27, 2009

Grant-Valkaria Town Council members should be getting the message loud and clear: The town cannot restrict operations at Valkaria Airport. The town has asked the FAA if it could pass and enforce an ordinance that would prohibit flight training, including recurrent training, at the federally grant-obligated airport owned by Brevard County.

“The town of Grant-Valkaria has no authority to regulate air traffic,” the FAA wrote. The agency further specified that the town cannot “deny access to any aeronautical user; close the airport; designate preferential runway use; prohibit touch and goes; and prohibit aircraft run ups, among other things discussed in the ordinances.”

The town also is requesting an opinion regarding its jurisdiction over the airport, even though it does not own the facility, from the Florida State Attorney General. The Brevard County Board of Commissioners will meet Sept. 1 to decide whether to join the town’s request.

“AOPA is pleased that he FAA took a strong stance with the town, clearly explaining the town’s lack of jurisdiction over the airport,” said John Collins, AOPA manager of airports. “We anticipate that the state attorney general will issue the same opinion based on Florida law.”

AOPA has counseled the town against pursuing the ordinance, speaking in favor of the airport during a public hearing June 1 and writing to the mayor. AOPA Regional Representative Nelson Rhodes and several local Airport Support Network volunteers spoke against the ordinance at the June 1 hearing as well.