Florida's Martin County Commission continues to consider imposing landing fees on pilots as a means to generate money for improvements at Witham Field. During a public meeting about the issue this week, AOPA Florida Regional Representative Nelson Rhodes told the commissioners that imposing a landing fee would negatively impact pilot safety. "Unlike commercial pilots that fly frequently to many destinations, private pilots tend to fly rather infrequently, many times just in the local area of the airport," Rhodes said. "Due to this infrequent flying, private pilots need to practice landings from time to time in order to gain and maintain proficiency in this critical phase of flight. A landing fee will tend to discourage pilots from practicing landing and consequently will degrade flying safety." The commission is looking for ways to fund the improvements because it decided earlier this year to reject federal and state funding. AOPA continues to work to prevent the fees from materializing.
April 20, 2007