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.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
Cessna Aircraft staff gathered around the first production Citation Latitude to celebrate another step toward certification of an aircraft important to the firm’s future.
New draft airman certification standards are available for review on the FAA’s website. In addition to releasing the draft standards, the FAA also announced that it would be deleting questions from the private pilot airplane knowledge test, effective Feb. 9.
A California charter school has teamed up with a glider school to give students a potentially life-changing opportunity.
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