One of the perennial problems of residential airparks is enforcing rules, as well as determining what rules really need to be created and enforced.
And, of the perennial problems that crop up, probably the most frequent one is the question of high-speed, low passes at the airpark.
Most frequently the low passes are conducted by airpark residents; sometimes they are done by friends of residents. Virtually all pilots I know love to make the low passes. I know I did and I made my share of the low passes when I lived on Shady Acres Airpark, just south of Tacoma, WA. I found it just as much fun to perform a low pass if I was in my J-3 Cub, the Comanche, Seneca or, best of all, the E-55 Baron.
As a matter of fact, several of us made the low passes pretty regularly and it was a contest who could get up the earliest on New Year’s Day to make the first low pass of the year.
Most of the time, low passes aren’t much of a problem. However, some folks don’t like them. There are some who feel they are unsafe. Others object because of possible noise and some folks who live in the airpark neighborhood and don’t understand aviation complain to the airpark residents – and on occasion to the local law enforcement and FAA.
The question really evolves into one of whether or not your airpark should allow any low passes. If you determine that low passes are bad news for your particular airpark, then you must decide what sort of rules need to be enacted. Assuming you’ve decided you don’t want low passes, or they can only be done at a certain time of day or from a certain direction, etc., you’ve got to decide how you are going to enforce those rules and regulations. If you decide to completely prohibit low passes, you’ve also got to come up with a way to enforce that action.
What are you doing at your airpark?
Do you have any rules concerning low passes? Are they permitted? Are they absolutely forbidden? If you do have rules, what are they? Are they enforced? How do you make sure they are enforced equally and fairly?
What do you do if the person violating your low approach rules isn’t a resident of the airpark? Do you report the violator to the FAA? Local law enforcement? Do you try to address the problem with a face-to-face meeting?
Please send us your thoughts on this situation. We’ll print answers in the next newsletter and if we don’t have room for all the responses in print, we’ll keep track of everyone responding and forward other replies to each of you.