February 20, 2014
By Jim Moore
Wisconsin lawmakers have joined a growing movement to protect private airfield owners from liability, with Feb. 18 vote by the Wisconsin Assembly in favor of Senate Bill 321.
The bill is expected to be signed by Gov. Scott Walker, and will support the noncommercial use of private airfields. More than 20 states have now enacted similar legislation, thanks to grassroots support backed up by national associations. In Wisconsin, pilot and airfield owner Don Kiel was the chief advocate of the legislation, backed up by AOPA, the Recreational Aviation Foundation, and the Experimental Aircraft Association. AOPA supported Kiel’s effort in meetings with lawmakers, as well as letters of support sent to key legislative leaders that highlighted aviation’s $3.5 billion contribution to the state economy.
The national effort to protect private landowners from liability related to aircraft use is driven by the need to keep as many backcountry strips and private fields available as possible. While campgrounds, parks, and similar recreation facilities have long enjoyed such protection, the extension of liability protection to property owners who welcome airplanes is a more recent phenomenon. The successes to date were noted by General Aviation Manufacturers Association CEO Pete Bunce in a Feb. 18 press conference reporting some industry progress on revenue and aircraft shipments, with the promise of more progress to come fueled in part by the “grassroots” movement to secure aviation access to private land.
The management team running Chelton Flight Systems and S-Tec Corp. in Mineral Wells, Texas, for parent Cobham Avionics saw an opportunity and bought in.
AOPA met with key California legislative staffers to educate them on a proposed overflight of parks regulation.
Three-time national aerobatic champion Patty Wagstaff will speak July 29 at Build a Plane's 2014 Teachers' Day event during AirVenture.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>