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Thread: Legal Access to Local Airport - FAR Part 103 Flying

  1. #1

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    Legal Access to Local Airport - FAR Part 103 Flying

    My local airport FBO manager has stated in an email response to my question "Is there any prohibition to Ultralights / Powered Paragliders using the airport ?" ...

    "The runway is public domain, not part of FBO. I discourage it due to a near miss some years ago.
    I don’t believe an airport is required for such activities. (a cow pasture will work just as well). :-) "

    I'm just getting into the FAR Par 103 Ultralight activities and look forward to taking lessons soon. The use of the local county airport would be mandatory for me to be able to fly. I do not own nor do I know of anyone who owns
    sufficient land for a private grass strip.

    It is my understanding (and seems to be supported by the FBO Mgr's response) that using the county airport cannot be prohibited. However, I really don't want to get started by becoming involved in a verbal contest of
    legalities with anyone at the local airport.

    #1 - Where do I locate "law" / "statutes" / "legal description" pertaining to the rights of ultralights using a local county airport ? (I want to know what "the law" says .. not just hearsay)

    # 2 - What advice would you suggest how to approach the FBO Mgr to temper his view of ultralights and establish a mutually agreeable plan for everyone's safety ?

    Thank you.

  2. #2

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    AC 103-6 is somewhat dated but still in effect....where the FAA suggest that many of the the 16,000 public airports in the US are perfectly suitable for ultralight operations.

    I think the AC would be a good start for the airport manager to become educated on ultralight operations as well.

  3. #3

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    If possible, suggest an approved operating area for ultralights with separate 500ft. agl pattern, if appropriate.
    Grass taxiway or something.
    Only airports that have accepted federal improvement money are required to allow ultralights.

  4. #4
    Dana's Avatar
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    If I read you correctly, the FBO manager said "discourage", not "prohibit". Remember the FBO is a business located on the airport; unless he's also the airport manager he may have no say.

    Many airports "discourage" but tolerate ultralights provided the UL pilots behave, follow proper traffic patterns, etc. But (as has happened many times) one poorly trained or careless yahoo can sour it for the rest.

  5. #5

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    First you must determine what class airspace the airport is located in. From your question I assume it is Class G. FAR 103 requires permission from the controlling authority if it is Class B, C, D or associated Class E surface area. The FBO manager is not the controling agency in most cases.

    The airport manager may prohibit operations if he determines the operation is unsafe.

    Sounds like you have a reasonable airport manager. That is good news and not always the case.

    You need to do some homework and convince the FBO manager that you are responsible and know what you are doing. Your paraglider/ul instructor should be able to work with you on this but many are not familiar with the regs and procedures.

    Dana above is a good source and I would also like to assist as needed or wanted. Request a phone contact for live discussions.

    Please post the three letter airport identifer of the field you are planning to fly from.

    Check the Airport Facility Directory for the intended flying field. If Ultralights are banned it would be listed there. I am 97% certain that is not the case at your field from the above posted comments.

    This is a touchy subject in many cases but usually workable when the right procedures are followed.

    It is typical for the local authorities to say no or discourage the operation until they are convinced that you know the procedures and how to safely operate in compliance with the regulations. They do not have a clue as to the requirements, you have to inform them. It is not their job to train you.

    If you approach with the attitude that you are seeking permission to operate when no permission is required it can not be granted and that tells the FBO that you do not know the requirements. Once you know the legalities you can approach the FBO as an informational meeting to explain how you plan to operate and see if he has suggestions for safety improvements or other comments. Frequently he/she will then welcome the operation.
    Last edited by jedi; 08-09-2018 at 02:49 AM.

  6. #6

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    .
    (1A5) Macon County


  7. #7

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    The airport manager number is here:https://www.airnav.com/airport/1A5

    Also Airport Authority number.

    Appears to be federally funded: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macon_County_Airport

    Low operations.
    Last edited by Bill Berson; 08-09-2018 at 01:27 PM.

  8. #8

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    See: https://www.airnav.com/airport/1A5


    Airport is in Class G airspace with overlying Class E at 700 AFE (above field elevation) (2034+700 = 2734 ASL) or more accurately above ground level.

    Atlanta Center is the controlling authority for the Class E airspace but does not need to be contacted for ultralight flights at the field in either the Class G or Class E airspace.

    There is no posted restriction against ultralight operations.

    I would look at the grass areas to the side of the runway for parachute/paraglider operations. Note: Per 103.13
    regulation UL must give way to all other traffic.

    Note the right hand traffic on Runway 25. It is common for ultralight traffic to operate opposite the normal traffic pattern. These issues are an example of the discussion that should take place with the airport management. Foot launch operations could be conducted in the grass along the taxiway.

    Logit: You may start your training without fear of not being able to operate as long as you operate within the regulations.

    https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id...3_113&rgn=div8Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

    e-CFR data is current as of August 9, 2018
    Title 14Chapter ISubchapter FPart 103Subpart B → §103.13

    Browse Previous | Browse Next

    Title 14: Aeronautics and Space
    PART 103—ULTRALIGHT VEHICLES
    Subpart B—Operating Rules

    §103.13 Operation near aircraft; right-of-way rules.

    (a) Each person operating an ultralight vehicle shall maintain vigilance so as to see and avoid aircraft and shall yield the right-of-way to all aircraft.
    (b) No person may operate an ultralight vehicle in a manner that creates a collision hazard with respect to any aircraft.
    (c) Powered ultralights shall yield the right-of-way to unpowered ultralights.
    Last edited by jedi; 08-12-2018 at 11:43 AM.

  9. #9

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    Thank you jedi.

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