Sample Air Avigation Easement

The use of an “Air Avigation Easement” can make sure the space through which you must fly for a pattern at your residential airpark remains open, free of obstructions and legal.

Obtaining such an agreement can make a big difference in the future feasibility of an airpark. If, for example, your airpark is currently out in a rural area, such an agreement can easily keep any opponents from destroying what you have developed by building next door to you and then trying to cause problems because of planes flying over that property.

Likewise, airparks close in can make an effective use of such instruments to help protect themselves against all types of complaints.

Below is an Air Avigation Easement that was prepared for use in the State of Colorado for a public use airport. Most aspects of this document would apply to other states and localities and private use facilities as well as residential airparks.


Whereas, (name), hereinafter called the Grantor, is the owner of that certain parcel of land situate in the County of (name), State of (name), to wit:

(Legal description)

hereinafter called “Grantor’s Property.”

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the sum of One Dollar ($1.00) and other good and valuable consideration, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, the Grantor, for himself/herself, their heirs, administrators, executors, successors, and assigns, does hereby grant, bargain, sell, and convey unto the County of (name), hereinafter called the Grantee, for the use and benefit of the public, an easement and right-of-way for the passage of all aircraft (“aircraft” being defined for navigation of, or flight in, the air) by whomsoever owned and operated, in the air space to an infinite height above the surface of Grantor’s property, together with the right to cause in said air space such noise, vibration, odor or visual, and all other effects that may be caused by the operation of aircraft landing at or taking off from or operating at, around or on said (name airport); and Grantor hereby waives, remisses, and releases any right or cause of action, which he/she now has or which he/she may have in the future against Grantee, its successors and assigns, due to such noise, vibration, odor or visual, and all other effects that may be caused by the operation of aircraft landing at or taking off from or operating at, around or on said (named airport).

Grantor further agrees that in order to assure safe passage of aircraft landing at or taking off from said (named airport), no structure shall be erected, altered, or maintained and no tree shall be allowed to grow or be maintained above an approach zone surface extending outward and upward from the end of every runway, existing or proposed, described as follows:

An imaginary surface sloping upward one (1) foot vertically for every twenty (20) feet horizontally, beginning 200 feet from either end of, and at the same elevation as the runway surface, and extending to a horizontal distance of 5,000 feet along the extended runway centerline, with lateral widths of 500 feet at the runway end and 1,250 feet at the upper end.

Nor shall any structure be erected, altered, or maintained and no tree shall be allowed to grow or be maintained which extends above an imaginary surface sloping upward one (1) foot vertically for every seven (7) feet horizontally, beginning at the runway elevation on lines parallel to, and 250 feet from, the centerline of the runway, known as the “primary surface”; said imaginary surface extends to a height of 150 feet above the highest point on the runway and then continues horizontally at that height in all directions for a distance of one (1) mile from all points on the perimeter of the runway; except that it shall not interfere with previously described approach zone surfaces. Furthermore, an additional 250 feet on either side of said primary surface will remain as an obstacle free area and will also accommodate the runway safety area. This will insure the prevention of obstacles for a total distance of 500 feet either side of the runway centerline. All structures built outside this area will comply with the requirements of FAA Part 77.

The area covered by the previously described surfaces shall be known as the “airport influence area” and is delineated on a map on file in the County Planning Office in the (named county) Courthouse, (named city and state) identified as the official map of the airport influence area by the county commissioners of (named county).

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD said easement and right-of-way and all rights appertaining thereto unto the Grantee, its successors and assigns, until said (named county) Airport shall be abandoned and shall cease to be used for public airport purposes, it being understood and agreed that these covenants and agreements shall run with the land.

IN WITNESS THEREOF, the Grantor has hereunto set his/her hand and seal this ______ day of _________.
Signed: Landowner

2 replies on “Sample Air Avigation Easement”

I’m curious:
1. For what Colorado airport was this created?
2. Any resistance in getting the affected parties to sign it?
3. Did you happen to research the applicability of using it at a private airpark?


Darrel Watson
303 261 2180

This document scares the living bejeesus out of me.

If I take this around to the non-flying people who live in the neighborhood around my airport, they are promptly going to get the idea that the airspace above their pastures, swampland and empty lots is worth a PILE of money and therefore they can prohibit me (and anyone else) from flying over it unless we pay and pay well for an aviation easement. Can you imagine someone buying an empty lot just off the end of Newark Liberty or SFO or O’Hare and then demanding transit rights from the airlines “because you guys didn’t get an easement from me!” That would last ten seconds. I don’t want to have to be the guy who gets to pay an expensive lawyer to tell Mr. hotshot landowner (and all his neighbors) that the air above his empty lot is regulated by the FAA and there’s nothing he
can do about it. And by the way, now Mr. hotshot landowner hates me, my airplane, airplanes in general and all of aviation because “we cheated him out of his air rights!” (which never existed in the first place, but he isn’t going to make that fine distinction or be particularly receptive to that argument).

The second problem is that if you read this, the grantor of the easement is agreeing not to build anything in certain areas of HIS property, not to let trees grow taller than a certain height on HIS property, and since the easement is for as long as the airport is there, whoever buys it from him is subject to these same restrictions as well. That significantly diminishes HIS rights for the use, enjoyment, possession and disposition of HIS property, and significantly diminishes the value of it – now ask yourself if YOU would sign away a big chunk of the present and future value of YOUR property for one whole
American Dollar – somehow I doubt it.

Whoever signs this is also agreeing not to complain about noise, or anything else, for as long as the airport exists, and that simply isn’t realistic. I’m an aviator, I live on a rural air park, and there is NO WAY I’d take this document to anyone who lives around here. It is entirely one-sided and will make enemies in a heartbeat. The best way NOT to get a deal made is involve lawyers at the start – and that’s what’s happening here – this is a legal document, absolutely no one will sign it without reading it, and when they take it to their own lawyer (and you can bet your bottom dollar they will), it will get shot down in flames in a heartbeat. (My wife is a lawyer, she doesn’t play one on TV, she’s the genuine article, and said she would tear this thing apart like a hungry pit bull with a juicy sirloin steak.)

I’d MUCH rather be a good neighbor, be friends with my neighbors, maybe even take them flying once in a while and not operate my F-16 at 3 AM – most problems are not even problems until someone calls attention to them – which this document does wonderfully. I prefer to avoid problems in the first place by using a little cooperation and consideration, whereas calling in the lawyers and legal documents is a declaration of war and that is NOT where we want to start and that is NOT the relationship we want to establish or have with adjacent landowners.

If you want to spend the rest of your life in litigation and spend all your flying money (and much more) on attorney fees, take this ill-considered document around to everyone within a mile of your airport. I prefer to fly, but that’s just me. I wouldn’t touch this document with a barge pole.

Best Regards,

Mike Arman

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