Nevada lawmakers make progress on airport safety solutions

May 7, 2009

A Nevada resolution that urges the FAA to work with stakeholders to improve safety at North Las Vegas Airport was reported favorably out of a state assembly committee this week—a step that further removes the state legislature from an earlier effort to ban certain general aviation aircraft at the airport.

An earlier incarnation of the resolution would have asked Congress to award dangerous precedent-setting authority to the Clark County Department of Aviation to preempt the FAA and ban any GA flight activity deemed “high risk” at the airport; but AOPA and key state legislators worked out a positive alternative that calls for a stakeholders’ group to find meaningful solutions for airport safety at the local level. AOPA is named in the resolution as a part of the stakeholders’ group.

Bill sponsor State Sen. Steven A. Horsford testified before the Government Affairs Committee in support of the legislation and personally thanked AOPA for its involvement in the process.

AOPA Regional Representative Stacy Howard also testified, saying the revised resolution “recognizes the legitimate concerns of all those who have an interest in safety at North Las Vegas, not the least of whom are pilots and the people who live in communities around the airport.”

AOPA has been working to see the resolution through significant changes and its passage in the state senate; the association continues to work with state legislators as the resolution heads to the floor of the state Assembly.

The effort to ban experimental aircraft from flying out of North Las Vegas Airport began after two fatal aircraft accidents occurred at the airport in less than one week in August 2008. AOPA and the Air Safety Foundation immediately reached out to the community to explain the rarity of such incidents and to educate them on GA safety.

Multiple public meetings followed the tragic events to discuss the accidents and aircraft flying at the airport. AOPA and the foundation continued working in the communities well after the accidents, meeting with Clark County elected officials and hosting a seminar to remind pilots of some safe practices for flying over urban areas.