AOPA is continuing its help to beleaguered aerobatic pilots flying out of Hanscom Field northwest of Boston. A local attorney, Robert F. Casey, Jr., has filed suit against three pilots and a local flight school, alleging that aerobatic flights over the plaintiffs' homes have caused them damage. Casey is also the attorney for "Stop the Noise," a local group that seeks to "remove the aerobatic and recreational flyers from the skies over our private property."
"AOPA has been directly involved in this issue for over a year," said Phil Boyer, AOPA president. "We are concerned that anti-flying activists elsewhere might try similar 'nuisance lawsuits.' We're working at multiple levels to discourage them."
AOPA had offered specific legal assistance to the affected pilots and businesses, including having AOPA's legal counsel review the suits. While that offer was never acted on, AOPA is continuing with its own legal review at the association's expense.
AOPA is using its relationships with FAA to urge the agency to become actively involved in defending federal control of airspace and freeing pilots who comply with federal regulations from the fear of nuisance lawsuits.
The association has previously worked with local pilots and the anti-noise groups to work out voluntary procedures that would minimize noise impacts on residents. AOPA also participated in conferences with Senator Ted Kennedy's staff to resolve the issue.
AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers at area airports have been proactive in promoting "Flying Friendly" procedures to local pilots.
AOPA has also dedicated its most experienced and tenacious issue manager to the project to ensure that necessary resources are directed towards this challenge to the freedom to fly.
"Rest assured, AOPA is committed to fighting this issue in the most effective way," said Boyer.