By Brent Blue, ThroughTheFence.org
After three and a half years of hard work by many Residential Through The Fence (rTTF) advocates, H.R. 658, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act containing rTTF preserving language, has passed the House and Senate and sent to President Obama for his expected signature.
Residential Through The Fence (rTTF) access is defined as homes with attached or adjacent aircraft hangars with taxiway access to the airport taxiways and runways. Hangar home owners with rTTF access pay similar use fees as on airport users and support the airport economy with fuel and service purchases.
Sam Graves (R-MO) led the charge for Residential Through The Fence access in the FAA funding bill. Major support from the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and Oregon’s State and Federal legislative representatives was instrumental in having rTTF language in the long overdue FAA reauthorization bill.
“We thank Congressman Graves and many others in the General Aviation Caucus who have supported this legislation which will help the future economic viability of many small airports” stated Brent Blue, organizer of ThroughTheFence.org, a site that advocates rTTF access. “Congressman Graves, who not only was able to force a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on the topic, championed the inclusion into the legislation as well as several other general aviation issues which will help the future of small aircraft in the United States.” Blue continued “Also, the support of the EAA has been unwavering and instrumental in our success. We are greatly indebted to them.”
Residential Through The Fence access became an issue about five years ago when two FAA staffers in the Washington DC FAA Airports office, Acting Associate Administrator for Airports Katherine Lang and Director of Compliance Randall Fiertz, decided that hangar homes were an incompatible use of adjacent airport property. Lang and Fiertz cited reasons for their campaign as incongruous as “hangar home owners complain about airport noise” to “hangar homes are harder to condemn” than cemeteries for future airport expansion. Lang also stated, in written hearing testimony, that “hangar home owners had undue influence on airport boards because they testified at public meetings.”
The rTTF language protects airports from losing airport improvement grant monies from the FAA due to past, current, or future Residential Through The Fence agreements.