Flybys a Continuing Issue

I am a new subscriber to LWYP, and have lived at Grassy Meadows Sky Ranch near Hurricane, Utah since 1994. I noted with interest your comments on flybys in the current issue.

This has been a continuing issue at Grassy Meadows, with virtually all residents opposing it, but with a couple of folks who like doing it on a regular basis. These pilots have been confronted with objections face to face by other pilots, but there is also some grumbling and complaining about immature behavior among the residents that does not go directly to the offenders.

When I first moved here I had a Glasair III, which can do an impressive flyby. I did them often at that time, usually in response to requests on the unicom frequency, which turned out to be coming only from one source. My wife (also a pilot, and qualified in the Glasair) did not like flybys. To tell the truth, I discovered I did not really enjoy doing them either, especially when I heard how many people found them annoying. I found I got much more enjoyment and more favorable show-off time by going out in the uncontrolled airspace a couple of miles away from our traffic pattern and doing aerobatics legally.

Some years ago, our Board of Trustees attempted to define how flybys should be flown at Grassy Meadows. A couple of the board members brought up the issue of FAR 91.119, which states something like “Except for purposes of take off and landing, no aircraft shall be operated closer than 500 feet to persons, vehicles, or structures.” The board decided that they risking considerable liability if they officially approved operations that violated FARs (we have several homes, including mine, that are only 200 or 250 feet from the centerline of the runway). Any mention of flybys was therefore dropped from the airport rules.

For me, the last straw came a couple of years ago when the developer invited a Lear Jet into our airpark. One problem was that our runway does not have the capacity for a Lear Jet, but that is a separate issue. On departure, he was persuaded to do a no-radio flyby at about 20ft AGL, and supposedly at less than 250KIAS, downwind (our calm wind runway is 16, and he came down 34). After the flyby (which took him over some homes at the north end of the runway and through the airspace of the Hurricane Municipal airport 2.5 miles north of us), he did a steep climb that included an aileron roll. (he denied the roll, but several people saw it) Very pretty, but really asking for trouble, which we all got.

In our case at least, most of our residents and members feel like we are not being good neighbors and are possibly jeopardizing our rights by doing “Yee Haw” flying, especially in this post 911 era of suspicion about small aircraft. We feel like we will be better served by not getting the non-flying public annoyed with us.

Ray Batson