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Aviation organizations' letter to FCC regarding DTV towersAviation organizations' letter to FCC regarding DTV towers

Mr. William E. Kennard
Federal Communications Commission
1919 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Kennard:

The undersigned aviation organizations hold significant interest in the nation’s air transportation system and strongly oppose the NPRM “Preemption of State and Local Zoning and Land Use Restrictions on Siting, Placement, and Construction of Broadcast Transmission Facilities,” published in the Federal Register on September 2, 1997, Docket No. FCC 97-182.

Our opposition is based on the negative impact that the NPRM will have on aviation safety, airport capacity and investment, and efficient use of navigable airspace because of the serious and detrimental impact it has on state and local aviation zoning.

Relocating or constructing towers near airports can have a devastating impact upon the usefulness of an airport. Without due consideration of airport concerns, a tower could be placed in the approach/departure path of a runway, rendering it dangerous and restricting its usefulness. Reduced capacity will have a detrimental economic effect on federal, state and local investments in that airport.

As you may know, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has no specific authorization to promulgate regulations which would limit structure height, prohibit construction or even require structures to be marked and lighted. Congress chose to withhold such authority. Since it would involve federal zoning regulations and due process actions, including the taking of property and the paying of compensation, the matter was left with the states and local authorities. Therefore, we rely on state and local authorities with aviation interests to provide adequate safety and protection through zoning to their aviation infrastructure.

Unfortunately, we believe that implementation of the requested regulatory changes will conflict with state and local statutes and could create hundreds if not thousands of legal conflicts all across the country, especially when aviation interests are not represented in the state and local zoning. This will impede implementation of digital television (DTV) in the United States, not accelerate it.

We are not opposed to DTV implementation. However, it is imperative that the FCC and the tower proponents find cooperative ways to work with both state and local governments to mitigate and minimize the perceived obstacles to DTV.

We are ready and willing to assist you in any way possible or answer any questions or concerns you may have. Our contact person is Miguel Vasconcelos, and he can be reached at 301/695-2206.

We thank you for the opportunity to voice our concerns.


John O'Brien, Director, Engineering and Air Safety Department
Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)

Al Prest, VP, Operations
Air Transport Association (ATA)

Phil Boyer, President
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

Richard Marchi, Vice President
Technical & Enviromental Affairs
Airports Council International—North America

Edward M. Bolen, President
General Aviation Manufacturers Assocation (GAMA)

Frank L. Jensen, Jr., President
Helicopter Association International (HAI)

Andrew Cebula, Vice President
National Air Transportation Association (NATA)

Larry Naake, Executive Director
National Association of Counties (NACO)

Henry M. Ogrodzinski, President
National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO)

John W. Olcott, President
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

CC: Susan Ness, Commissioner
Michael Powell, Commissioner
Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Commissioner
William M. Daley, Secretary of Commerce
Rodney E. Slater, Secretary of Transportation
Jane F. Garvey, FAA Administrator
Senate Commerce Committee
House Commerce Committee
House Aviation Subcommittee

Also see “ AOPA leads coalition to oppose FCC tower proposal.”

December 8, 1997

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