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Oshkosh Wants To Increase Turf Operations

'Added Complexities At Towered Airports Have Previously Made Turf Operations Not As Common'

EAA and Wittman Regional Airport representatives met with FAA airport officials this week to discuss the establishment of turf operations at Wittman, something long desired by vintage/tailwheel aircraft owners at many airports across the country. This meeting took the form of a safety risk management panel, or SRM.

Because FAA Air Traffic Organization convened an SRM to consider the proposal, EAA felt this was a good opportunity to set a benchmark through the data driven SRM process that other towered operations could benefit from. During the course of the SRM, the key stakeholders reviewed more than 40 areas in question. In reviewing each of the 40 items, the agency determined there was "no hazard finding" for everything listed by the proposal. This effectively should clear the way from an air traffic perspective to begin turf operations at the desired location on the airport throughout the year.

"EAA came well prepared to this session, and participated as a subject matter expert, offering solutions to mitigate risk. Currently across the country, turf operations are less common at towered airports. EAA members and many airport tenants want to change that," said Sean Elliott, EAA's vice president of advocacy and safety. "While this turf operation would not be available during the AirVenture NOTAM period, it offers a blueprint on how an airport can accommodate the needs of those who fly tailwheel and other aircraft that benefit, safety-wise, from landing on turf when available."

Elliott added that the steps and risk mitigation undertaken at Oshkosh could be the basis for future FAA policy for airport tenants and users who are seeking similar opportunities for turf operations as an alternate landing area. While turf and paved runways can both be found at small airports throughout the country, added complexities at towered airports have previously made turf operations not as common.

EAA will continue to work with the FAA and local airport officials on the opportunities that might be available for turf operations.

FMI: www.eaa.org

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