Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Advice needed on airport restriction rewording

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    56

    Advice needed on airport restriction rewording

    I'm working with a small airport whose A/FD listing says "Ultralights prohibited". No one can remember when or why that restriction was put in, and the airport wants to be more accommodating . After talking with a few certificated pilot friends of mine who fly out of the field in question and what their concerns would be, they boiled down to confusion in the pattern and having to break-off landing patterns because of slow traffic. To address those concerns, my first draft of new language is as follows, please comment:

    "Ultralights without radios and/or the ability to maintain 40 knots on approach are prohibited."

  2. #2
    FlyingRon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    NC26 (Catawba, NC)
    Posts
    2,240
    The field I used to be at just has ultralights fly the opposite pattern and since they tend to fly tighter patterns, they're less likely to make long slow final approaches that cause problems. In fact, I've seen more inconsiderate and unsafe behavior of the "heavy" pilots than with the UL crowd.

    Is this a public use airport? Who changed the master record to add that prohibition to start with?

  3. #3
    steveinindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,449
    The field I used to be at just has ultralights fly the opposite pattern and since they tend to fly tighter patterns, they're less likely to make long slow final approaches that cause problems. In fact, I've seen more inconsiderate and unsafe behavior of the "heavy" pilots than with the UL crowd.
    Likewise. The ultralight pilots often catch crap for the attitudes and shortcomings of the "real airplane" pilots.
    Unfortunately in science what you believe is irrelevant.

    "I'm an old-fashioned Southern Gentleman. Which means I can be a cast-iron son-of-a-***** when I want to be."- Robert A. Heinlein.



  4. #4
    Sam Buchanan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    KDCU
    Posts
    489
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Finney View Post

    "Ultralights without radios and/or the ability to maintain 40 knots on approach are prohibited."
    I don't see how this wording would ever be practical or enforceable.

    What about a UL with a radio but a pilot who doesn't know how to use it? Or with a radio but not turned on? Or a radio that works so poorly it is useless?

    And who is going to be the traffic cop that insures everyone maintains at least 40 kts? Is that 40 kts airspeed or ground speed? I used to fly approaches in the J-3 slower than that.

    Either ultralights are allowed or they aren't. If this is a federally funded airport I don't think ultralights can be prohibited as long as there are no airspace restrictions.
    Last edited by Sam Buchanan; 12-13-2012 at 06:12 PM.
    Sam Buchanan
    The RV Journal RV-6 build log
    Fokker D.VII semi-replica build log
    YouTube Channel

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Marietta, GA
    Posts
    778
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Buchanan View Post
    I don't see how this wording would ever be practical or enforceable.

    <<snip>>

    Either ultralights are allowed or they aren't. If this is a federally funded airport I don't think ultralights can be prohibited as long as there are no airspace restrictions.
    This is the correct answer. We dealt with it at my home field a decade or so ago with an FBO and Airport Authority with G-IV dreams and a MiniMax customer base.

  6. #6
    Dana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    790
    People always want to make rules that the "other guy" has to follow. If nobody can remember the reason for the prohibition, why not just remove it? If there are problems going forward, then is the time to reconsider restrictions.

    A lot of airport ultralight restrictions came from the early days when people thought "no license required" meant "no training required." Ultralights got a bad reputation that time still hasn't erased.

    At the airport I'm based at (no federal funding), the policy is that only certificated pilots can base ultralights on the field. No restrictions on visitors (presumably because they can't be easily enforced).

  7. #7
    One solution is for ultralights is to have then fly the same pattern but lower and closer in unless they are landing on a different runway. Some airports I visit have a separate sod strip and a dedicated pattern and that works fine.

  8. #8
    Jim Heffelfinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Sacramento, California, United States
    Posts
    389
    IMHO - As has been said the "old guard" saw the flurry of UL at fields as a problem for safety ( and noise) 20+ years ago . I offer the thought that Sport Pilot rules/ UL transitions to ELSA , aging of pilots, and increased hangar rents have reduced UL operations to a handful of pilots flying less and less. My training airport has a number of former UL, SP, Flex wing and traditional GA flying off the one runway. UL/formerUL/ and flex wings use a close in and slightly lower pattern. Many a time we are doing orbits waiting for a 10 mile final for a 172. We welcome all aircraft to join the pattern and not disturb the flow and politely tell them so on occasion.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,252
    One challenge may be that Part 103 Ultralights are not officially "aircraft" and may not be covered by the rules of airport grant assurances. Not the same as LSA. LSA carry N numbers and are "real" aircraft. So a ban on Part 103 Ultralights may be OK, That said, the real issue is pilot training and equipment. Since Ultralights move much slower and are harder to see and avoid, perhaps the compromise is to require a radio. I can see a yellow no radio Cub moving 40kts but it is really really hard to see a green ultralight that has an open tube fuselage when the color of the wings almost matches the summer grass.

    The small helicopters have similar visibility and traffic pattern issues. Might be worth while to look at the alternate procedures used by helicopters as busy airports. The alternate traffic patterns were aluded to above.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    N78PS

  10. #10
    Dana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    790
    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    One challenge may be that Part 103 Ultralights are not officially "aircraft" and may not be covered by the rules of airport grant assurances. Not the same as LSA. LSA carry N numbers and are "real" aircraft. So a ban on Part 103 Ultralights may be OK...
    No, ultralights are an officially recognized "aeronautical activity" and the FAA has said they can't be banned from any airport that has received a grant unless a case can be made for safety issues.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •