Good news for East and West from RAF

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Good news for East and West from RAF

Postby Dave Krall CFII SEL SES » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:19 pm

Thanks Again to those of you that helped the Recreational Aviation Foundation, Washington Seaplane Pilots Association, AOPA and others to win these battles. It is far from over.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012 8:52 AM

Dear David,

Both Washington and Virginia have passed amendments to their state recreational use statutes to include aviation as a recreational activity. Bills have passed both the house and the senate in each state and are being sent to the respective governors for signatures.

Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) Washington State Liaison Bob Kay led a colossal effort in Washington bringing in support from virtually all aspects of aviation in his home state. Washington’s Representative Mark Hargrove sponsored the bill in the House while Senator Joe Fain introduce the bill in the Senate. Other representatives and senators also signed on as co-sponsors. The RUS amendment adds the words, “aviation activities including, but not limited to, the operation of airplanes, ultra-light airplanes, hanggliders, parachutes, and paragliders,” to the list of other outdoor recreational purposes in the statute.

The RAF concept of purposeful collaboration really paid off for flyers and airport owners in the State of Washington. Led by Bob Kay, a strong coalition of nine aviation organizations was formed; including, the Washington Pilot's Association, the Washington Seaplane Pilot's Association, and The AOPA. The coalition rallied their organizational members and others to encourage the legislature to pass the bill. Their efforts resulted in no dissenting votes against the bill in either the House or Senate.

Meanwhile in Virginia, Director of Aviation for the Commonwealth, Randal Burdette, led a very prolonged effort to amend the recreational use statute there. As Mr. Burdette explained, “This is our third try at getting some protection for the Private Owned/Private Use Airstrip landowners and I am very pleased we got it passed. When I came on board as Director of Aviation for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the FAA had 354 Private Owned/Private Use Airstrips listed in their database located throughout the Commonwealth. While we know there is room for error in the FAA database, today we have confirmed there are only 211 private owned/private use airstrips remaining in the Commonwealth. That is a potential loss of 143 airstrips or 39% of the private owned/private use airports."

Mr. Burdette continued, "Liability is one of their major concerns. We have created the Virginia Airport Owners Association to help represent those 211 private owned/private use strips and to improve communications between the airstrips and the communities where they are located. Our goal here is to help educate the communities of the benefit private owned/private use airstrips can have for aviation training, medivac, and in many cases a resourse for the community during emergencies. This Bill helps address the liability concerns of those private owned/private use airports."

Mr. Burdette concluded by stating, "I would like to thank the Virginia Airport Owners Association for the help, support and presence at the General Assembly to get this bill passed. I would also like to thank John Nadeau and the RAF for their national information, and support that proved key to getting this bill passed for the Commonwealth."

The RAF thanks the folks at AOPA who have been consistent and important supporters of these legislative efforts to include aviation as a recreational activity in these recreational use statutes.

These recreational use statutes provide a degree of liability protection to landowners who allow others to use their land for recreation. Once these bills are signed by their respective governors, the statutes will clearly include aviation as a recreational activity in Washington and Virginia. When enacted they will bring the number of states with aviation listed in their RUS to fourteen. RAF’s goal is all 50 states.

John Nadeau,

RAF Director

Recreational Aviation Foundation

1711 West College Street
Bozeman, MT 59715-4913
United States
406-582-1RAF (406-582-1723)

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