July 25, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
A draft update of regulations for the Olympia, Wash., Regional Airport would enhance airport operations and maintain the facility’s compliance with federal grant obligations, AOPA said in formal comments submitted to the Port of Olympia.
AOPA suggested revisions of language in the draft addressing airport users’ liability, and enforcement power of the airport’s director. The document incorporates aircraft security and safety recommendations of AOPA’s Airport Watch program.
“In general we found that the updates are reasonable and will serve to enhance the smooth operation of the airport,” wrote John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy, in a July 20 letter to Airport Director Rudy Rudolph.
In other suggested revisions, AOPA pointed out that skydiving is an aeronautical activity, not a special event—as defined in the draft rules—under FAA guidance to airport sponsors. AOPA also recommended that the airport administration seek FAA review of the proposed rules for compliance with grant assurances—a recommendation frequently offered to airports that receive grant funds.
AOPA reviewed the update at the request of Airport Support Network volunteer Gregg Reynolds after the Port of Olympia solicited public comments on the draft by July 31. AOPA has 11,599 members in Washington State.
The review marked the second time that AOPA, Reynolds, and the airport administration worked cooperatively on a rules revision, following up on a similar process in 2005. A page on the Port of Olympia’s website discusses the previous and current regulatory updates, noting that “input was received from local pilots and tenants and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association,” as well as other stakeholders.
“In both instances, Airport Director Rudolph was appreciative of our volunteer’s participation in the process,” said Collins.
Being able to provide a resource to airport management “is helpful in establishing a good working relationship between the airport’s management, tenants, and users,” he said.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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