March 19, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
Liability-protection bills that make it easier for landowners to grant public access to private airfields has been on the move in the states—and the focus now shifts to Minnesota.
Two AOPA-backed bills headed for action in the Minnesota House and Senate would add noncommercial aviation activities to the list of recreational land-use immunities afforded to owners of private property.
House File 2862 was introduced March 14 and referred to the Civil Law Committee for hearing. A companion bill, Senate File 2377, was introduced March 12 and will be taken up by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
AOPA, working with the Recreational Aviation Foundation, will continue to be engaged with Minnesota legislators as they consider the measures. AOPA has 7,400 members in Minnesota.
“In a state with such a vibrant general aviation industry, additional liability protection for private airfield owners will only serve to strengthen general aviation across Minnesota,” said Mark Kimberling, AOPA director of state government affairs.
Earlier this month, Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a liability protection bill. Another liability-protection bill passed a few days earlier in South Dakota.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
The FAA on Feb. 23 issued a special airworthiness information bulletin recommending preflight inspection of Robinson R44 and R44 II main rotors.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) talks about the Pilots Bill of Rights II, which includes a provision to allow private pilots to fly an aircraft with up to six seats, weighing up to 6,000 pounds, VFR or IFR, without a third class medical certificate. The bill also reforms the NOTAM system, and provides more legal protections for pilots accused of regulatory infractions.
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