A Successful Conclusion in North Las Vegas
When two fatal accidents near North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT) prompted attempts to legislate local control of area airspace and ban certain operations (including homebuilts and flight training), the
local aviation community decided there was a better way
to deal with safety issues than cut off aviation. A group of
stakeholders met for four months to come up with con-sensus-based solutions.
Dave Edwards, EAA 45325, a homebuilder and airport
tenant who served as EAA’s representative in the group,
said the report released in early November represents a
win-win for all involved. “The committee members all
agreed to focus on the real safety improvement issues
at hand,” Edwards reported. “I was pleased that no one
turned it into a political football.”
That was not the case immediately following two accidents in August 2008, which included a Velocity’s crash
into a house that killed the pilot and two people in the
home. A state senate resolution called on the Nevada congressional delegation to introduce legislation that would
switch control of the Las Vegas airspace from the federal
government to the Clark County Department of Aviation (CCDA), which would create a dangerous precedent
regarding consistency in national airspace regulations.
There were also local demands ranging from the prohibition of certain kinds of aircraft operations, including
amateur-built aircraft, flight training, and student solos,
to the outright closing of the airport. The group’s study,
however, correctly showed that such drastic steps alone
would not address the overall safety goal at the airport.
“The report clearly indicates that experimental aircraft
are not a greater safety concern than other general aviation aircraft,” Edwards said.
Also serving in the stakeholder group were representatives of the city of Las Vegas, the Clark County Aviation
Dave Edwards pictured beside his Wag-A-Bond homebuilt.
Association, airport neighborhood residents, airport tenants, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA),
the FAA, and CCDA.
The document’s recommendations “will benefit both
those of us who fly and those residents surrounding the
airport,” Edwards said. In addition, the group strongly
urged proper land use adjacent to the airport through purchases; new laws prohibiting construction of new buildings, communication towers, or other obstructions in the
immediate vicinity of the airport; and prohibiting further
construction of residential housing or other non-compati-ble land uses within the immediate vicinity of the facility.
“This is a prime example of how the entire general aviation community, supported by national organizations such
as EAA and AOPA, can work as one to address and solve
concerns at a local airport,” added Randy Hansen, EAA
government relations director. “EAA especially thanks the
local EAA chapters and Dave Edwards for taking an active
leadership role in finding a successful outcome.”
E-LSA: New Airworthiness Certificate Needed?
All E-LSA owners are advised to check their airworthi- ness certificate; if it has an expiration date of Janu- ary 31, 2010, the owner must take action to have the
airworthiness certificate amended.
The FAA now has an option for experimental light-sport
aircraft (E-LSA) owners who use their aircraft for primary
training to continue to offer training beyond the FAA’s original January 31, 2010, deadline.
The first step requires E-LSA owners—regardless if they
are engaging in training operations or not—to obtain an
amended aircraft airworthiness certificate by January 31,
2010. (Failure to do so will result in expiration of the original airworthiness certificate, which cannot be re-issued.)
Next, if the E-LSA owner wishes to continue giving compensated instruction in the E-LSA, he or she must apply for a
letter of deviation authority (LODA) from the nearest flight
standards district office (FSDO). A LODA is not required if
the operator plans to use the aircraft for personal use.
EAA recommends E-LSA owners contact their local FSDO
and make an appointment with both the operations and
certification branches the same day. Use EAA’s E-LSA Air
Cert Amendment/LODA Guide ( www.EAA.org/news/2009/
elsa_toolkit.pdf) to help you through the process. At the
FSDO, an applicant should direct the inspector to the FAA’s
General Aviation and Commercial Division, AFS-800, if
there are any questions regarding the process for issuing
a LODA. You can locate your local FSDO by calling EAA,
888-322-4636, ext. 4821, 920-426-4821, or by using the FAA
FSDO locator website.