Following is a question from Dale Whiting, and our response:
“What does ‘Through the Fence’ mean? My local GA field has imposed a fee on through the fence operations. I have always understood that ‘through the fence’ applied to operations taking an aircraft through a gate onto or off of the field. The local GA field appears to wish to impose fees on any business located off field which comes through any gate to do anything. Can you cite me to an authoritative FAA definition?”
Answer: Thru The Fence refers to the practice of moving aircraft to or from an airport located adjacent to the property where an individual or firm has a building or home. Although there often is no actual fence, the term still applies. On Public-owned and Public-use airports this issue sometimes becomes more involved when the airport sponsor accepts federal funding from the FAA.
Many airports charge landing fees, tiedown and hangar fees. If an airport is public owned, the airport commission or other controlling agency can usually assess fair fees for use of the field. Obviously, if the airport is privately owned, the airport owner can charge whatever that owner feels is appropriate.
Airports that have accepted federal funding are required to be open and available to all users on an equal basis and it is usually this requirement that results in fees for off airport individuals or businesses wanting to enter the field to do business in competition with airport tenants who pay rental or other fees.
As I mention above, private fields can operate in whatever manner they wish.
Public owned fields are usually controlled by a local governing authority which sets rules and fees.
Finally, public owned airports that have accepted FAA grants are required to be available to all but assess fees that are equitable for all users.
I hope this helps.