February 19, 2009
By AOPA ePublishing staff
The controversy over permitted activity at North Las Vegas Airport moved to the state capitol this week as AOPA met with Nevada lawmakers on Feb. 17 to prevent a ban on experimental aircraft at the airport. The association acted quickly last week to delay a hearing on the ban to allow more time to work directly with the bill sponsors and Clark County officials to create a positive plan of action to improve safety at North Las Vegas Airport without an overreaching preemption of FAA regulations.
“We were pleased that these legislators were willing to delay the hearing and meet with us about this important issue,” said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. “We had several positive meetings and are hopeful that we can continue to work toward a meaningful and appropriate solution.”
During the meetings this week, AOPA pledged to continue working with state and federal legislators, local pilot groups, and the Clark County Department of Aviation.
The bill was sparked by the public outcry after two fatal accidents at the airport in August 2008. One aircraft was an experimental Velocity and the other a Piper Navajo.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation immediately reached out to pilots in the area with an e-mail encouraging them to complete its online safety training courses. At the same time, AOPA’s government affairs staff worked with Airport Support Network Volunteer Kathleen Snaper to work with pilots and community members gathered at numerous public meetings during the weeks following the accidents.
Just last month, the foundation hosted a seminar, “Safe skies, Good neighbors,” to educate pilots about the special considerations of flying in urban areas like North Las Vegas. AOPA used that opportunity to once again meet with local leaders to emphasize the efforts local pilots and the association have already made to improve safety and the pilot community’s commitment to cooperate with aviation officials.
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AOPA told lawmakers that a tax-abatement bill introduced in Nevada would stimulate aviation business and make more services available to members.
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