FAA Overturns Airport Glider BanFebruary 22, 2011 at 9:27 am | Posted in Aviation Law Current Event | Leave a comment
by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty
In a precedent-setting decision, the operator of a Southern California airport has been ordered by the FAA to allow resumption of glider operations or risk losing its federal grants. As we reported in 2009, Riverside County evicted more than 40 gliders and closed the grass strip they used, citing safety concerns. The agency ruled last week the county’s reasoning was “flawed” and, after studying the issue, determined the airport layout will accommodate the “safe simultaneous operations of glider and powered aircraft.” The crux of the matter was whether safety was used as a cover for discrimination against the gliders and the FAA suggested the eviction was an “unreasonable denial” of use at the airport. “The (county) is obligated by its grant assurances … to operate the airport — not just specific pieces of infrastructure on it — on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination,” the FAA said in its decision.