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National Implications

EAA Calls on Members to Help Stop Nevada’s Anti-Homebuilding Move

February 13, 2009 — On Monday (February 9), Nevada state legislators Senator Steven Horsford and Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick submitted a resolution calling on the state to petition the U.S. Congress to, in effect, circumvent FAA’s authority of the National Airspace System. Senate Resolution No. 3 seeks authority for the Clark County Department of Aviation (CCDoA) to arbitrarily pick and choose which aeronautical activities are allowed at the six airports under its management, including North Las Vegas (VGT). EAA is asking its members to help thwart any such action.

The resolution stems from action taken last year when the county’s Director of Aviation Randall H. Walker successfully petitioned the Clark County Board of Commissioners, urging state lawmakers to push Congress for local airspace sovereignty in response to recent fatal airplane crashes originating from VGT. One of those crashes involved a Velocity amateur-built aircraft, which struck a house shortly after takeoff and resulted in the death of the pilot and two people on the ground. In the immediate aftermath, Walker called on FAA and Congress to allow metropolitan airports to bar “high risk” operations at their facilities, including amateur-built aircraft and flight instruction.

“Legislators Horsford and Kirkpatrick are well aware that federal law specifically provides that the federal government, e.g., the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has the exclusive sovereignty to manage the National Airspace System, as well as access to public airports,” said EAA’s Randy Hansen, director of government relations. “This resolution seeks congressional authority to openly discriminate against certain segments of aviation by granting a local entity the authority to prohibit any aeronautical activities it deems inappropriate.”

EAA has been working with the grassroots group, the Clark County Aviation Association (CCAA), in opposing Resolution 3, including pointing out several flight safety misconceptions contained within the resolution. One “apples and oranges” example in the resolution claims that since 2003 there have been 20 accidents involving amateur-built aircraft within Clark County. But looking only at VGT, three accidents involving amateur-built aircraft have occurred in the past 26 years, while during that same time more than 50 accidents involving type-certificated aircraft occurred.

EAA’s Washington representative, Doug Macnair, has also been in discussions with members of the House and Senate, warning of the potential cascading effect that would result by allowing local airport managers in other urban areas to control their airspace.

In December last year, FAA Western-Pacific Region spokesman Ian Gregor commented, “We believe Congress acted wisely in giving the FAA sole authority over civilian airspace throughout the United States. It would cause tremendous disruption - even chaos - to air traffic operations nationwide if every local community were allowed to arbitrarily decide which aircraft could and could not land at local airports.”

EAA is asking its members, especially those who live in or fly into Nevada, for their support. Please e-mail or call the two key lawmakers listed below on or before February 16, 2009, and state your opposition to this misguided resolution. Also, please copy EAA Government Relations at govt@eaa.org.

    • Senator Mike Schneider, Chairman, Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, mschneider@sen.state.nv.us (phone 775-684-6502)
    • Senator Maggie Carlton, Vice-Chairman Senate Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation Committee, at mcarlton@sen.state.nv.us (phone 775-684-1431)
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