A bill to provide liability protection for Michigan landowners who permit public use of their airstrips for recreational aviation has gained momentum with favorable action by a state legislative committee.
Michigan House Bill 4244 was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on March 17, said Bryan Budds, AOPA Great Lakes regional manager. AOPA submitted written testimony in support of the bill on behalf of the association’s 12,000 members in Michigan. The association’s state government affairs team has made several visits to the capital, Lansing, to advocate for the measure.
AOPA is working with the Michigan Private Airstrip Owners Association and the Recreational Aviation Foundation to win inclusion for aviation in the state’s recreational-use law. In a letter to Rep. Klint Kesto (R-District 39), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Budds pointed out that an estimated 23 states have enacted similar legislation, with positive results.
“By adding ‘recreational aviation’ to the list of acceptable recreational activities denoted in the [recreational-use statute], the Michigan Legislature can provide the same level of liability protection afforded to skiers, ATVers, hikers, and others to the aviation industry while operating on privately-owned land,” he wrote.
In addition to providing expanded access to Michigan airfields for pilots, the increased activity would help support general aviation businesses across the state, Budds said.