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Mon, Jun 01, 2009

NATA's Coyne Takes On Bizarre Grant-Valkaria Flight Ban

This Story Continues To Get Stranger...

The President of the NATA is taking on the increasingly bizarre actions of some town leaders who are seeking to usurp Federal Law using local restrictions that not only seem to be illegal but continue to paint some of the town's leadership as more than a little off the wall. Still, despite the truly strange actions of the Grant-Valkaria opposition, Coyne makes a proper and constructive argument for a reversal in their attacks on GA.

Text of NATA/Coyne Letter

Dear Mayor Yonts and Town Council:

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the voice of aviation business, is the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before the Congress, federal agencies and state governments.

NATA's over 2,000 member companies own, operate and service aircraft and provide for the needs of the traveling public by offering services and products to aircraft operators and others such as fuel sales, aircraft maintenance, parts sales, storage, rental, airline servicing, flight training, Part 135 on-demand air charter, fractional aircraft program management and scheduled commuter operations in smaller aircraft. NATA members are a vital link in the aviation industry providing services to the general public, airlines, general aviation and the military.

As president of NATA, I am writing be cause of my deep concern over resolution 2009-03. With this resolution, the town of Grant-Valkaria is attempting to use its zoning power to ban flight training activities at a public-use airport that is neither owned nor operated by the town. The only justification given in the resolution for this severe restriction of an aeronautical activity is that it will benefit the general welfare of residents of the town.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant assurances and surplus property assurances require that airport sponsors not unjustly restrict aeronautical activities at the airports they operate. Airport sponsors also have a limited power, with FAA oversight, to regulate aeronautical activity based on reasons of safety. Because the town of Grant-Valkaria is not the sponsor of Valkaria Airport, its attempts to restrict aeronautical activities will be held to even higher standards.

NATA believes that the town of Grant-Valkaria does not have the authority to regulate aeronautical activities at Valkaria Airport. Even if the town did have this authority, an outright ban of one class of aeronautical activity will certainly be deemed unjust by the FAA and the courts. By considering resolution 2009-03, the town is choosing a course of action to address its concerns that will ultimately lead to FAA and judicial intervention. A cursory review of applicable case law clearly shows that resolution 2009-03 will not stand.

NATA takes seriously threats to general aviation and has worked closely with the FAA Airports Office and airport sponsors to defend airports and aviation businesses from unjust attacks. NATA is asking that the town of Grant-Valkaria withdraw resolution 2009-03.

Rather that embarking on a course of action that will ultimately fail, I would like to suggest that the town engage in a dialogue with the Valkaria Airport sponsor to develop appropriate solutions to the town's concerns.

NATA would like to offer its assistance in facilitating this dialogue.

NATA understands that the most effective means to addressing a locality's concerns about airport activity is to engage all stakeholders in a process that avoids arbitrary and unjust restrictions of the freedom to participate in aeronautical activities.

Sincerely, James K Coyne, President



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