To the Editor,
On March 28, 2012, it was reported that the City of Morris, via its city attorney, filed a “Non Traffic Complaint” against a local pilot for violation of:
1) Morris city code, and;
2) Rules and regulations of the Morris Airport.
The issue here is simple and demands complete transparency. It appears that a few salient facts have gone unnoticed by the airport manager and the city attorney as well as unreported by this publication.
The International Aerobatic Council approached the airport manager in 2011 to solicit support for establishment of an aerobatic box for training/flight operations and promotion of the Morris Airport. The council is comprised of civilian pilots whose primary focus is promoting aerobatics and safe flight standards. Increased fuel sales and additional city revenues were illustrated as a benefit to the Morris Airport and the City. The proposal was summarily rejected by the airport manager.
Subsequently, the council and its supporters petitioned the FAA for designated airspace to conduct aerobatic operations. After an exhaustive review of the application to ensure the space conformed to Federal standards for safety and proximity, the FAA approved the request.
As to the complaint file by the airport manager and signed by the Morris city attorney, again it is simple. The city does not have jurisdiction.
1) The Federal Government establishes the FAA to control the “highways of the sky” (The Federal Code Title 49 USC § 40103 — Sovereignty and Use of Airspace (a) The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.);
2) The airport manager initially filed a complaint with the FAA against the pilot in question for the same action. Based on the complaint, the FAA responded with an investigation and found no violation, no wrongdoing or further cause for action be taken against the pilot in question.
The pilot is question has been investigated by the FAA, been cleared by the FAA, and is now the subject of an attack by the airport manager. This same pilot is certified flight instructor who has done nothing but promote and support general aviation, safe flying standards and the Morris Airport.
The Morris Airport has a lot to offer, not only to the aviation community but the City of Morris and surrounding area. Not too long ago, the Morris Airport was a destination for civilian aviation enthusiasts. All types of aircraft, pleasure, war birds, and experimental’s would target Morris as a weekend destination to meet.
Over the last four years, we’ve lost two good restaurants, and a GREAT airshow. It is time for the City of Morris to recognize what an asset lies within, commit to applying its best management talent to the airport and capitalize on that asset.
The actions taken by the city attorney and the airport manager are unjustified and have little basis in fact.