Florida County Airport Rules Raise Concern
December 6, 2013
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  • A new set of rules and regulations proposed by Santa Rosa County officials in Florida prompted concern that some of the proposed rules conflict with federal authority to regulate airports, airspace, and aircraft operations.

    AOPA members, including Airport Support Network volunteer Terry Ogle who serves Peter Prince Field in Milton, Fla., contacted AOPA after the proposed rules were drafted and submitted for public review in September. A review by AOPA staff identified several areas where the proposed rules and regulations appear to conflict with the FAA’s sole mandate to regulate airspace and aircraft operations, and AOPA Manager of Airport Policy John Collins detailed the association’s concerns in a Nov. 20 letter.

    Collins noted that the county may inadvertently jeopardize compliance with federal grant assurances if the rules are adopted as first drafted.

    Among the potential trouble spots, the county indicated that limits on night operations and noise abatement procedures may be implemented by Santa Rosa County, which owns the airport. In addition, the county has proposed requiring that all aircraft operating at the field are equipped with a two-way radio; the document also refers to “minimum standards” for commercial operations that could be applied, based on the wording, to noncommercial operations.

    Collins suggested various revisions, and suggested that officials present their final draft to local FAA officials for review to ensure that the county airport rules do not conflict with regulations that are the sole purview of the FAA to implement and enforce.

    Collins expressed the association’s appreciation for the county’s decision to submit the proposed rules for public review and comment before enacting them, and will continue to monitor developments with help from Ogle.