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VFR restriction lifted at Sun ValleyVFR restriction lifted at Sun Valley

VFR restriction lifted at Sun Valley

AOPA stood up for the rights of the "little guys" at Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) in Hailey, Idaho - and won. Hailey is home to the famous Sun Valley resort, which hosts one of the biggest and most exclusive corporate retreats. Investment banker Allen & Company attracts major business interests and a bevy of corporate aircraft to its annual bash in July. Such folks don't appreciate much delay or inconvenience.

So the airport manager wanted to close SUN to VFR traffic July 5 and 10, arrival and departure days for the bigwigs. And in fairness, he has a challenge. The airport is in a narrow canyon; it has a one-way runway, only one full-length parallel taxiway, and a very small ramp. So if one aircraft is taxiing out, none can taxi in.

But you can't close an airport to one class of users for the exclusive use of another class. And AOPA told him so.

"AOPA is seriously concerned that such operational restrictions are being implemented solely to discriminate against VFR operations and to provide IFR operations exclusive use of the airport," AOPA said. "All aircraft should have equal and nondiscriminatory access to the airport during this time frame."

So they will. The FAA will implement a Special Traffic Management Program (STMP) for SUN. IFR traffic will need a "slot reservation" for arrivals July 1 through 10. VFR arrivals need a reservation for arrivals on July 5 and July 10. Slot reservations can be obtained through the FAA's e-STMP Web site or by calling 800/875-9755. Reservations can be made no earlier than 72 hours in advance of the requested arrival time.

Pilots should be prepared to provide their departure airport, estimated UTC time of arrival, UTC date, call sign, and type of aircraft. Upon completion of a slot reservation, you will receive a reservation confirmation number. The slot reservation confirmation number must be included in the "remarks" section of the flight plan.

Upon making radio contact with SUN tower, pilots may be asked if they have a reservation code, and pilots should be prepared to provide that code to the SUN tower controllers. This reservation does not ensure overnight parking or ramp space.

Aircraft must arrive within 15 minutes of the assigned reservation time or they will lose their reservation and will be denied clearance to land. Also, if this window cannot be complied with, pilots may obtain a new slot reservation number through e-STMP or by telephone. If a reservation requires change or cancellation, please do so as early as possible in order to release the slot for another flight.

June 29, 2005

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