September 11, 2013
By Jim Moore
Officials in Austin, Texas, will not move forward with a draft local ordinance against aerial advertising, after research (including a letter from AOPA) convinced local leaders they would run afoul of federal regulations.
AOPA wrote to the city manager in July urging the city to drop an effort to prohibit aerial advertising.
The city has since acknowledged the FAA’s sole authority to regulate the National Airspace System, and that federal authority cannot be preempted by state or local legislation. The council had directed city staff to find out if there were legal obstacles to such a ban, and present a draft ordinance for consideration in late August.
Austin is not alone in a desire to limit banner tow operations, and AOPA has successfully lobbied local officials to reconsider, most recently in a Pennsylvania town which had enacted and attempted to enforce such a ban. (A citation issued to an operator under the ordinance was dismissed in court after AOPA brought relevant federal laws and regulations to the attention of local officials.)
In each case, AOPA has also noted that such prohibitions are impractical because pilots cannot be expected to familiarize themselves with local rules in every town they overfly.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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