MEMBER ALERT: AOPA will be closed Wednesday, Jan. 28, from 9:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m.
January 21, 2011
By AOPA ePublishing staff
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has denied a petition from Santa Monica, Calif., to review the FAA’s decision that the city could not ban certain jet traffic at Santa Monica Airport.
The FAA had stopped the city from going forward with an ordinance to ban Category C and D aircraft (such as Gulfstreams and some Citations) from operating at the airport and ruled that it had no authority for the ban. The appeals court upheld the FAA decision, finding that the action was not “arbitrary and capricious.” AOPA has long been involved in the dispute at Santa Monica and provided input as a friend of the court in the city’s appeal.
“The outcome of this case could have had tremendous negative impacts on any federally obligated airport—allowing local officials to implement restrictions on operations in spite of FAA grant assurances and federal law,” said AOPA Vice President of Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn, who attended the October 2010 hearing with AOPA legal counsel Kathy Yodice. “Instead, the court reaffirmed the FAA’s authority to safeguard airports’ role in the national air transportation system.”
Airport sponsors that accept federal money for improvements have contractual obligations to make the airport available for use on “fair and reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination, to all types, kinds, and classes of aeronautical uses”—an obligation Santa Monica would have violated with the jet ban, the court affirmed.
Only 10 percent of the aircraft excise taxes that Washington aircraft owners pay go to the Washington State Division of Aeronautics, while the other 90 percent go into the general fund. AOPA is advocating for legislation that would direct 100 percent of the tax to aviation use.
A Seattle pilot on a ferry flight from California to Maui deployed his airframe parachute near Hawaii and was videotaped by the Coast Guard.
Piper’s latest edition of the Meridian pressurized turboprop features updated avionics and six seats in club configuration for $2.26 million.
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