Says Dan Hoagland Can't Fly From His Home-Based Landing
John Travolta can do it. Ron Martin can do it. But a federal
appeals court judge says Dan Hoagland can't fly his helicopter to
and from a landing pad adjacent to his own home.
Hoagland has been locked in a legal fight with the town of Clear
Lake, IN, since 1996. That's when Hoagland installed the helicopter
pad at home so he could commute by air to his electrical business
in Fort Wayne.
Less than a year later, the city sent Hoagland a letter telling
him it was illegal for aircraft to take off or land within its
Two years after that, the town filed a lawsuit against Hoagland.
It was settled when Hoagland agreed to limit his hours of flight
But then, the town enacted a new zoning law that severely
limited flight operations. It required a special-use permit for
airstrips and helo pads and refused to allow those already existing
-- like Hoagland's -- to operate for more than five years. So it
was back to court.
The fact that the FAA approved the helo pad meant nothing to the
7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Hoagland's lawyer had argued that,
with FAA approval, the town had no jurisdiction in the case. The
court disregarded that, however, upholding a lower court ruling
“Dan is a trooper,” attorney John Price told the
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. “He knows he’s right, and
he knows the authorities in the town of Clear Lake have not been,
for lack of a better term, treating him properly. And he will
continue to fight for his rights as an American citizen.”
But town officials were clearly gleeful over Monday's court
“Of course we’re thrilled any time we’re able
to get good news like that,” town board member Tony Kraus
told the Journal-Gazette. “The fact that the town is
successful, I’m happy for the people of Clear
Price said Hoagland hasn't yet decided whether to continue his
appeals. As long as his suits are pending, he'll be allowed to
continue flying from his private pad without penalty.
As those appeals run out, however, the case could end up before
the US Supreme Court.