Welcome to the Through The Fence Organization
A Great Victory for TTF Access Value
Court Sets Precedent of $260,000 Award for Condemnation of TTF Access
Please read the links to the media about Barry Barnow’s victory against the City of Boulder condemning his TTF access for a $0 value.
Congratulations and thanks to Barry for the time, effort, and expense of fighting this through. We now have a precedent for the value of TTF access.
Thanks to Scott Deluise for his concise letter about the subject (written to the AOPA) which he has authorized us to post. Read More
FAA rTTF Policy Comment Period Extended
The FAA has extended the comment period concerning their revised policy regarding Residential Through The Fence (rTTF) agreements at federally funded airports to September 14, 2012, to comply with the new federal legislation passed in February, 2012. It is important to comment since the FAA has interpreted the new legislation a little “differently” than Congress intended.
Please comment at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2012-0754-0001
My submitted comments are as follows:
The FAA has taken 38 pages to set a policy for section 136 of P.L. 112-95 which is 57 lines (or about two pages). This proposed policy uses obfuscation by Mr. Fiertz and Ms. Lang to counter the spirit and intent of this law.
“Airport sponsors of general aviation airports proposing to establish new or add new residential through-the-fence agreements must provide evidence of compliance prior to executing an agreement with a residential user and/or association representing residential users.”
This is a violation of the spirit and intent of the law. There is nothing in 136 of P.L. 112-95 which requires “evidence of compliance prior to executing an agreement.” This is burdensome and reflects the FAA personnel (Lang and Fiertz) bias against rTTF agreements.
“Going forward, the FAA expects sponsors of general aviation airports proposing to establish new or add new residential through-the-fence agreements to comply with the terms and conditions of the law.”
This is ambiguous and confusing. Complying with 136 of P.L. 112-95 is straightforward and clear.
“However going forward, the FAA will apply the statutory prohibition on privately owned reliever airports and disallow these airports from entering into such agreements.”
This also violates the spirit and intent of the law. At the time of the writing of 136 of P.L. 112-95, the FAA had not identified any privately-owned reliever airport with rTTF agreements and was the only reason their inclusion in the law was not specifically made.
“'Extend an access' is defined as an airport sponsor’s consent to renew or extend an existing right to access the airport from residential property or property zoned for residential use, for a specific duration of time, not to exceed 20 years.”
This is also a violation of the spirit and intent of the law. There is nothing in the legislation which limits the duration of an airport sponsor’s contractual commitment to rTTF access holders. In fact, it does the opposite by stating in 136 of P.L. 112-95 specifically “Applicability—The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to an agreement between an airport sponsor and a property owner (or an association representing such property owner) entered into before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.”
Mr. Fiertz and Ms. Lang are intent on restricting residential through the fence access in spite of a Congressional act to prevent the FAA from doing so. This policy needs to be changed to reflect the spirit and intent of the law.
The Proposed FAA rTTF Policy
The FAA published their policy which reflects the new Residential Through The Fence legislation in the FAA reauthorization bill we got passed last February.
It is important for everyone interested to read and make public comments at the government site about this policy.
The FAA proposes to violate the intent and spirit of the law by making airports approve all rTTF agreements in advance and forcing a 20 year limit on agreements (makes it tough to get a 30 year mortgage that way).
Please comment immediately. Unfortunately, the deadline is August 29th, 2012.
Let me know if you have questions.
Find the documents at:
Proposed FAA Policy Change to Comply with New Legislation Published—30 Day Comment Period
Draft Compliance Letter from the FAA reflecting the above policy change to comply with the new rTTF language in the FAA Reauthorization Act.
Victory at Last!
Residential Through The Fence Protection in FAA Reauthorization Bill
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 Thought 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.
In an additional statement, Blue said “My thanks to all those who financially contributed to the ThroughTheFence.org website. Having a central repository for rTTF information and FAA activity tracking has made all the difference in the world in getting this legislation passed.”
For Immediate Release Contact: Justin Harclerode
February 14, 2012 (202) 226-8767
Long Stalled FAA Reform Measure Signed into Law
Washington, DC – The long overdue FAA reform legislation sponsored by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) was signed into law today. Mica helped bring an end to five years of Congressional inaction on a new FAA bill and was able to accomplish in 11 months what Democrats could not complete in four years.
Today the President signed the conference report for the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 658), a bill Mica introduced in the House.
“For four years, Democrats in control of Congress left the nation’s aviation system in the lurch by failing to pass a long-term bill to reform FAA programs and set national aviation policy and priorities,” Mica said. “Over the years, Democrats irresponsibly passed 17 short-term extensions of the last FAA law for an industry that accounts for as much as 11% of the nation’s economic activity.
“Today we have in place sound multi-year policies that reform FAA programs, eliminate expensive ticket subsidies, modernize our air traffic control system, improve airport infrastructure, reduce air traffic delays, and create jobs,” Mica added.
The ongoing series of FAA stopgap measures was finally brought to an end this summer when Mica included in an extension cuts to outrageous airline ticket subsidies that cost taxpayers as much as $3,720 per ticket. Senate opposition to these common sense reforms allowed a two-week partial shutdown of the FAA.
Spurred by the inclusion of these subsidy reforms in the extension, House and Senate leaders completed work on the stalled long-term bill. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act further reforms this rural air service program by prohibiting new communities from joining, eliminating subsidies where airports have fewer than 10 passengers each day and are within 175 miles of a large or medium hub, and reducing federal taxpayer funding for the program.
The new law also moves forward FAA’s NextGen air traffic control modernization program. Mica said, “Reforms in this legislation will provide the blueprint, metrics, benchmarks and performance goals necessary for developing NextGen. This critical effort to shift from our antiquated air traffic control technology to a GPS-based system will improve air traffic efficiency and safety, reduce fuel burn and pollution from aircraft, and bring costs down for consumers.”
A provision included in the aviation legislation requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to utilize qualified private screeners under federal supervision. The right of airports to opt out of all-TSA screening in favor of this more effective, cost efficient security model has been in place since the agency was created, but TSA has recently cited its own faulty data to deny airports this option.
“This initiative restarts a program that the Obama Administration had closed down, allowing private industry to compete to provide screening services at our nation’s airports under strong federal oversight. This has been done successfully at more than a dozen airports in the U.S. for years and is the airport screening model utilized by most developed nations,” Mica said.
Another provision in the FAA measure provides a veterans’ preference for small businesses owned by disabled veterans of the Afghanistan/Iraq conflict and the Persian Gulf War. “This legislation appropriately aids our veterans returning from overseas with employment preference,” Mica said.
The FAA Modernization and Reform Act is the first major authorization of FAA programs since the last law was written nearly a decade ago, also by Mica when he chaired the Aviation Subcommittee.
# # #
AirTAP October 7th Presentation
by Steve Obenauer, Manager, Minneapolis ADO
Response by Brent Blue of ThroughTheFence.org
Mr. Obenauer’s presentation was entitled Jet Blast: FAA Certification Requirements for “Through the Fence”. The narrative of the title was: “Any NPIAS airport adjacent to residential property with access to the airport must have a management plan in place. This session will cover important issues and how to get started developing that plan.”
CLICK for AirTap Meeting Brochure.
Mr. Obenauer’s presentation was anything but. It was an attack on residential through the fence activity. The following is a response to Mr. Obenauer’s unsupported allegations, innuendos, and half truths.
CLICK FOR Mr. Obenauer's Powerpoint Presentation.
“Pilots support the airport—what about the rest of the family?”
Does Mr. Obenauer really think that the spouse and children of a pilot (assuming they are not pilots themselves) would not support the airport? This is absurd on face value.
“What happens when the pilot sells his home to a non-pilot?”
This is also totally unrealistic. The value of a hangar home is in its proximity to an airport. To sell to a non pilot would be mean a tremendous loss of value. This is nonsensical. What non pilot would want to buy a home next to an airport? Even if a non pilot bought a home for the hangar space, why would they complain about the airport since it would reduce his home’s resale value?
“What happens if the airport needs the property for development? Compliance issues?”
What happens if the airport needs the cemetery next door for development? Ever try to move one of those. Hangar homes do not pose any increased difficult over any other property.
“RTTF operations make it more difficult to deny other residential development near the airport.”
This is totally unsupported in fact nor are there any examples of current rTTF airports which have had this issue. It is strictly fictional conjecture.
“Access fees may not cover the airport’s costs of supporting the rTTF operation.”
More fiction from Mr. Obenauer. There are multiple examples of how rTTF operations support the airport economically. Mr. Obenauer does not show one example of rTTF operations not covering an airport’s cost of having them.
“Activities in the residential area may have an economic impact on airport tenants:
- Aircraft storage
- Fuel sales
- Aircraft repair”
Finally Mr. Obenauer got it right. Residential through the fence activity does have an economic impact on airport tenants—all positive—demonstrated at multiple airports around the country.
In reference to security:
“Activity becomes more routine and less noticed”
Please. The routine activity of people around the airport is what is expected. People living around the airport notice when someone or something is NOT routine. The TSA and FAA have supported the effective AOPA Airport Watch program for this reason.
“Unsupervised children, pets, vehicles”
The FAA keeps bringing up these “unsupervised” issues when there has not been any documentation of problems at any public airports. Plus, a survey of the 600 plus private residential airports showed no problem with these “unsupervised” items for the past 10 years.
“May impact airport’s compliance with grant assurances”
This is only because of the FAA’s Office of the Associate Administrator for Airports irrational stance against residential through the fence activities. (Mainly Katherine Lang and Randall Fiertz.)
Our Freedom of Information Act request for all the complaints that the FAA had from rTTF activities was revealing. There was ZERO for the past 10 years.
“Unsafe interaction between aircraft and private vehicles, residents, guests, unsupervised children, unleashed pets”
Again, there is no documentation of this being a problem anywhere or anytime.
“Increased public safety and liability risks”
Ditto—no documentation of this being a problem.
“Line of sight obstructions and operational limitation”
The only documentation of this occurring was at Gillespie Field in San Diego which the FAA signed off on the building. Plus, the content of the building had nothing to do with the line of sight issue.
“Airport development limitations
This is getting old. There are no documented cases, per FOIA request, of this being an issue at any airport due to rTTF activity. If the FAA tells the lie enough, they think people will start to believe it.
This is nothing more than threats to airports which are intimidating but have not substance.
The bottom line is the FAA is trying to intimidate local airport authorities and control local airports. This is a classic Washington DC grab of local autonomy.
Airport boards know who their best neighbors are and what is best for their local airports. Do not believe this hogwash from a very small number of misguided, non pilot, bureaucrats in Washington.
September 1, 2011
April 14, 2011
Through The Fence ACTION ALERT
Our Through The Fence language is in section 137 of the HOUSE version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill. The language is not in the Senate version and will be the subject of Joint Conference Committee negotiations.
We need EVERY PILOT to contact the Senators on the Committee (listed below) to support Section 137 of the House bill concerning resident through the fence access.
If you know any of the Senators personally, PLEASE contact them. This is a crucial moment for rTTF access and will eliminate the FAA absurd prohibition of residential through the fence access.
If you are from one of these states, please contact these Senators even if you do not know them personally. Numbers definitely help.
Thanks for your support.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia
Senator Barbara Boxer, California
Senator Bill Nelson, Florida
Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington
Senator Max Baucus, Montana
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas
Senator John Ensign, Nevada
Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina
Senator Orrin Hatch, Utah
March 22, 2011
The FAA has just posted their new Through The Fence web site - http://www.faa.gov/airports/airport_compliance/residential_through_the_fence/
The key document is the Compliance Guidance Letter (26 pages) – 4th bullet down on the page – as it contains the time lines for compliance.
Section III A – Regions have until April 21, 2011 to determine how to manage the policy in their geographic area.
Section III B – Regions then have until May 6, 2011 to notify airports.
Section III C – Upon notification, airport sponsors then have 90 days to confirm their status as a TTF airport.
Section III E – shows deadlines for meeting the requirements of this policy. Remember, no two airports are alike, so no two meet the requirements packets will be alike.
March 18, 2011
Newest Released FAA Policy on Through The Fence Activity:
- Docket No. FAA-2010-0831 - Interim Policy Regarding Access to Airports from Residential Property
- FAA Presentation Regarding Interim TTF Policy
February 11, 2011
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Congressman John L. Mica, Chairman
For Immediate Release
House Transportation Leaders Introduce FAA Bill
Washington, DC – Leaders of the Transportation Committee and Aviation Subcommittee today introduced long-term legislation to reform Federal Aviation Administration programs, set policies and priorities for the nation’s aviation system, and create jobs through infrastructure improvements.
The FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 (HR 658) was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Petri (R-WI), and other Members.
“This is a lean bill that recognizes our current budgetary difficulties and the need to do more with less,” Mica said. “Families and businesses across the country have no choice but to tighten their belts, and the federal government must do the same. This bill saves $4 billion, requiring FAA to find significant cost savings without negatively impacting safety.
“This legislation increases the efficiency and effectiveness of our aviation programs while ensuring that the U.S. aviation industry remains competitive in the global marketplace and continues to be the safest system in the world.
“This bill reforms and streamlines aviation programs, consolidates facilities, increases responsible private sector participation in aviation facility operations, and strengthens oversight of the NextGen air traffic control modernization program,” Mica said.
“The last long-term FAA bill expired in 2007, and we have had a series of 17 extensions since then. That is not how we should be setting the policies and priorities for our nation’s aviation system. This four-year bill will provide long-term stability for the FAA and airports to plan major infrastructure improvements that will create and sustain jobs in the construction industry, aviation industry, and other businesses that rely on an efficient aviation system.”
“Getting this bill through is Job One,” said Petri. “The last reauthorization was in 2003. The House passed reauthorization bills in the past two congresses, but didn’t reach agreement with the Senate last year. Instead, 17 extensions have been passed in order to keep the FAA operating.
“We are in a difficult budget environment and can’t do everything we want to right now, but getting a long-term reauthorization in place will provide more certainty and consistent funding for more efficient and effective investment. I’m looking forward to working with the Senate to finally get this bill done,” Petri said.
The FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 contains numerous reforms that increase the efficiency of aviation programs, reduce the federal bureaucracy, create and protect jobs, and provide taxpayer savings in a manner that protects FAA’s mission to ensure aviation safety.
A summary of provisions included in the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011:
• Four-year bill, covering fiscal years 2011 to 2014, with overall funding level of $59.7 billion.
• Bill provides approximately $4 billion in savings compared to current funding levels. It requires the FAA Administrator to identify significant cost savings without cutting any safety critical activities.
• In accordance with the House Republican moratorium, the bill contains no earmarks.
• Creates and protects more than 600,000 U.S. jobs over four years, according to estimates.
• Overall funding levels are set at the FY08 appropriations levels for the remainder of FY 2011 and beginning in full in FY 2012.
• Requires FAA to identify significant cost savings, while ensuring that cuts are not made to safety critical activities.
• For NextGen, the bill streamlines processes and provides funding for priority NextGen air traffic control modernization projects planned in the next four years. Sets deadlines and metrics for better measurement of NextGen progress and to ensure more effective cost management.
• Allows for expansion of the cost effective contract tower program, which allows airports to utilize privately operated, more efficient control towers (under FAA contract, regulation and supervision). Creates the potential to save approximately $400 million over four years.
• Sets up a process for the consolidation of aging, obsolete and unnecessary FAA facilities, which will result in significant savings.
• Institutes a risk-based approach to inspections of foreign repair stations in a manner that protects U.S. jobs and respects bilateral agreements. Previous Democrat proposals would have cost jobs and invited retaliation from other nations.
• Phases out funding and sunsets the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program, providing savings of approximately $400 million over four years.
• Does not include an increase in airport Passenger Facility Charges.
• Includes binding arbitration for air traffic controllers and other FAA employees to resolve labor impasses.
• Repeals unionization election rule changes implemented in May 2010 to again ensure that a majority of a workforce must vote in favor of union representation.
• Includes compromise language on slots at Reagan National Airport that increases beyond perimeter slots by 10 without increasing the total number of operations at the airport.
• The bill also omits controversial provisions that have stopped previous FAA bills from moving forward and becoming law:
o Does not contain antitrust immunity sunset
o Does not contain ban on cell phones
o Does not contain PFC for bike storage at airports
o Does not contain the controversial FedEx provision
# # #
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Press Release of Senator Wyden
Wyden, Merkley Amendment Will Protect Residential Through the Fence Agreements
Washington, D.C. – Fighting back against an FAA regulation that seriously devalues homes that have agreements allowing secure, private access to some rural airports, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), as well as Senator Jim Inhofe (R- Okla.) have introduced an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill to overturn the regulation banning Through the Fence agreements. The bipartisan Through the Fence amendment will make it possible for home owners to maintain their TTF agreements indefinitely and allow airports to enter into new agreements.
“Through the Fence agreements have been working at airports like Independence for decades,” Wyden said. “They are central not just to the value of these homes but to the flow of goods and services at these regional hubs. Some regulations like this latest FAA rule have unintended consequences and it is up to us to fix them.”
“For many rural communities in Oregon the local airport provides both a transportation link for residents and economic development opportunities for the community,” said Merkley. “The FAA should not change the rules and put small airports and the jobs they support at risk. Continuing to allow our rural airports to partner with local communities with “through the fence” agreements helps keep Oregonians on the job.”
Residential Through the Fence (TTF) agreements allow residents with homes adjacent to some rural airports to have secured access to runways. Many are amateur pilots who store their planes on their properties and purchased these houses specifically to have access to the runways. In 2009, the FAA issued a regulation effectively banning new TTFs and limiting existing ones to a 20 year lifespan. The inability to renew TTFs would cause the home values of the houses built alongside airports to drop as a major selling point to the property is lost.
The amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill introduced today will allow TTF agreements to continue in the same safe, secure way they always had. It protects homeowners and the jobs that are created by businesses that operate under the assistance of TTF agreements and it protects local jurisdictions that rely on the property taxes that come from residents with TTFs. In addition to Independence, airports in Scapoose, Aurora and Creswell, Oregon may be affected.
October 30, 2010
See our FAA Documents Tab for recently posted comments from the AOPA, the EAA and Congressional Members to FAA-2010-0831 Airport Improvement Program (AIP): Policy Regarding Access to Airports from Residential Property.
September 22, 2010
Testimony – Statement of Catherine M. Lang, Associate Administrator for Airports
Before the House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Residential Through-The-Fence Agreements at Public Airports: "Action to Date and Challenges Ahead"
September 20, 2010
Live Webcast of TTF Congressional Hearing, 8 AM MST, Wed., Sept. 22
Brent Blue, founder of ThroughTheFence.org, will testify before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on “Residential Through-the-Fence Agreements at Public Airports: Action to Date and Challenges Ahead.” A live webcast of the Hearing will be available at 8 AM Mountain Time, Wednesday, September 22 at http://transportation.house.gov/. A replay of the Hearing is available at http://transportation.edgeboss.net/wmedia/transportation/20100922fc.wvx.
September 17, 2010
ThroughTheFence.org Representative Invited to Address Congressional Committee
Brent Blue, founder of ThroughTheFence.org, has been invited to testify before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on “Residential Through-the-Fence Agreements at Public Airports: Action to Date and Challenges Ahead.” Residential Through-the-Fence (rTTF) agreements are situations where hangar homes on private property are connected to airports via taxiways. Hangar home owners support the adjacent airports for this access with fees and purchased services.
The issue has come to the forefront due to a recent Federal Aviation Administration ruling which forbids future rTTF agreements because of the FAA’s concern about noise complaints and restricting the ability of airports to expand. Blue, using Freedom of Information Act requests, has shown that the FAA does not have one documented noise complaint from a hangar home for the past ten years nor has any example of a single airport that has had difficulty expanding due to rTTF agreements. The hearing, scheduled for 10 AM on September 22nd, is expected to have seven witnesses including FAA personnel.
“This is a FAA fix to a problem that does not exist” stated Blue, who owns a hangar on private property in Driggs, Idaho. “The FAA personnel who came up with this policy had not even seen a hangar home till this past winter” Blue continued. “Their lack of evidence and data is shocking given they are establishing a policy that affects the economic viability of small general aviation airports.”
Residential TTF agreements are currently in effect on approximately 75 non commercial airports around the country which is about 3% of the airports in the United States.
September 8, 2010
Through the Fence Update
The FAA has posted a proposed revised policy on residential “through the fence” (TTF) agreements at GA airports. The short version is that they propose allowing all current agreements but no new ones after the effective date of the policy (which is not set at this time).
In January, the FAA initiated a review due to our input as well as the input of the EAA and other groups. (The AOPA dropped the ball completely.) As a result, the Agency is proposing to amend its policy regarding access to airports from residential property and Grant Assurance 5, Preserving Rights and Powers.
The proposed policy is Docket No. FAA-2010-0831 and is now on display at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-22095.pdf. This document will be published in the September 9, 2010 Federal Register. Please comment on the proposed policy through www.regulations.gov. All comments received by the FAA will be posted at www.regulations.gov. Comments will be accepted for 45 days from the date the notice is published in the Federal Register.
Thanks for your help!
August 6, 2010
Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO) introduced an amendment to the FAA appropriations bill which extended the FAA’s funding for two months. Unfortunately, the amendment was rejected. However, Representative Oberstar (D-MN) promised a hearing in September. Oberstar quoted the FAA line about burying pets and hunting on airport property (allegedly occurred at KOSH) which obviously has nothing to do with TTF. See the debate at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdl32xxPiFE which shows Sam’s introduction and Oberstar’s response. Watch to the end. We think this is very beneficial to our cause and will require the FAA to support their claims which they cannot do.
We will be starting a mail campaign to pilots in Oberstar’s district at the end of August.
We also got a question in to the FAA Administrator Babbitt at Oshkosh during his public forum. He said that the FAA was working on the problem and would have a new policy at the end of August ! which is already a month later than previously promised. We will be anxiously awaiting but one to one discussions with FAA personnel there were not encouraging.
We did find out at Oshkosh that the TTF problem is not the FAA in general. The problems at the FAA are Randall Fiertz, Acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Airports and Director, Office of Airport Compliance and Field Operations and Catherine M. Lang, Acting Associate Administrator for Airports, both civil servants, who are totally out of touch with the flying public. In fact, they are out of touch with flying in general. They come from non aviation backgrounds. This is personal and has nothing to do with the facts or logic. Fiertz and Lang are also giving Babbitt inaccurate information.
Their take is that all TTF stakeholders are benefiting unfairly from airport improvements funded by the federal government. This is akin to saying that people who own homes near a stimulus pack! age improved subway station are benefiting unfairly due to gov! ernment funding. It also implies that everyone who flies on an airplane (private or commercial), owns or rents an airplane, or does business with an airport is unfairly benefiting from the federally funded airport improvements.
Another important point is for ALL AOPA members to contact the AOPA and express their support for TTF activities and urge the AOPA to be aggressive in their support. Bill Dunn in the AOPA’s legislative division has been quoted time and time again by Fiertz and Lang saying that there are some AOPA members who do not support TTF activity. The only problem is that Bill has no data, has done no surveys, and basically has passed on anecdotal information that is hurting our cause for no reason. Dunn might as well be working for the FAA. Contact the AOPA ASAP about this.
Links to the Legislation:
March 22, 2010
To All TTF Supporters:
Senator Inhofe's Amendment has been changed. Please note the following.
The Amendment is now #3544 to H.R. 1586 (the TARP bill). This was done because this bill will be voted on quickly where the FAA appropriates bills (where the first amendment was attached) will not be voted on till the summer at the earliest.
The amendment is now co sponsored by Senators Wyden and Merkley.
Please contact your Senators and Representatives about both this amendment and Representatives Graves and Boswell House bill HR 4815.
Thanks for your support!
Links to the Legislation:
March 15, 2010
We now have reference numbers for the bills in the House and Senate which classify residential and other "through the fence" agreements as compatible adjacent airport land use.
The House Bill is H.R. 4815 sponsored by Representative Sam Graves and Representative Leonard Boswell.
The Senate Bill is H.R. 1586 Amendment #3465 sponsored by Senator James Inhofe and co-sponsored by Senator Ron Wyden.
Please contact your Senators and Representatives to support these bills.
For Immediate Release March 11, 2010
Legislation Introduced In House and Senate to Correct FAA’s Through The Fence Airport Policy
The “Community Airport Access and Protection Act of 2010” was introduced yesterday to Congress by the Honorable Sam Graves (R MO) and Honorable Leonard Boswell (R IA) to correct the FAA’s recent policy to prohibit “through the fence” access at any airport receiving Airport Improvement Grant monies. Senator James Inhofe (R OK) has introduced a similar bill on the Senate side.
The FAA prohibited “through the fence” (TTF) access in its Airport Compliance Manual Order 5190.6b which was released September 30, 2009, without any public or alphabet group input. In addition, a Freedom of Information Act request made by the aviation group ThroughTheFence.org revealed that essential no data, studies, or non FAA personnel’s opinion went into the new order.
The Bill essentially allows off-airport “through the fence” access and prevents the FAA from considering an airport to be in violation of their grant assurances due to such access agreements. The legislation does require the off airport users to pay access charges similar to “on airport” tenants and maintain their properties compatible with safe airport functions.
“Congressmen Graves and Boswell as well as Senator Inhofe deserve tremendous credit for sponsoring legislation which insures access to general aviation airports and supports their economic vitality through TTF fees” stated Brent Blue, coordinator of ThroughTheFence.org. “This correction of FAA policy will help maintain the viability of small airports by encourage use while supporting safety and security” Blue continued.
ThroughTheFence.org is encouraging all pilots and others interested in general aviation to contact their Senators and Representatives to support this important legislation for airports.
For Further Information:
Effective 9/30/2009, the FAA has screwed everyone who lives or wants to live with their aircraft: Airport Compliance Manual 5190.6B
Call your Congressmen and Representatives!
Deadlines for Submitting 5190.6B Comments on future changes to 5190.6B:
Through March 31, 2010, you may submit comments HERE.
This comment site will let you attach other documents to your comments.
Please send copies of your comments to the EAA and AOPA.
Through The Fence Freedom of Information Act Responses (FOIA)
The FAA has consistently justified most of their opposition to "Through The Fence" residential hangars as being related to noise complaints. They have frequently stated that the FAA has spent $1.8 billion to buy land to mitigate noise sensitive neighbors. However, the FAA has never delineated residential hangars from residences which have no airport connection.
In order to find out exactly how much of a problem noise has been for the FAA from hangar home residents, ThroughTheFence.org asked the FAA, through the Freedom of Information Act, for two items related to noise. One was to produce all the noise complaints from anyone with a "through the fence" agreement (residential, commercial, factory, etc) and a second request for how much money has been spent to buy land to mitigate noise sensitive "Through The Fence" agreement holders.
The results are staggering! During the past 10 years, the FAA does not have one documented noise complaint from anyone with a "Through The Fence" agreement. What is more interesting, the FAA can not document one dollar being spent to buy adjacent airport land to mitigate noise issues from "through the fence" agreement holders.
Thus, it is very clear that the noise argument from the FAA is nothing more than "smoke and mirrors".
Below are Sample Comments on Draft Memorandum “Compliance Guidance Letter 2009-1 – Through-the-Fence and On-Airport Residential Access to Federally Obligated Airports:
1. The memorandum is mis-named since it addresses all “through the fence” activities.
2. The basic premise of the prohibition of TTF residential activities is invalid due to its reliance on Order 5190.6B, FAA Airport compliance Manual, date September 30, 2009, which has erroneously declared a prohibition on TTF residential access based on ancedotal reports of noise complaints and request for restrictions of airport activities not in evidence nor is a documented problem.
3. There has been no public input or comment period to Order 5190.6B and lacks valid information.
4. There is not mention of use of TTF agreements to prevent any perceived noise complaints and/or requests for restrictions of airport activities. Perceived noise complaints and/or requests for restrictions of airport activities is the basis for prohibition of residential TTF agreements in 5190.6B
5. Section VI-“FAA seeks, in most cases, to convert non compatible residential use only after the TTF agreement has expired under its own terms.”
a. This means that at the termination of the agreement, the property will become residential only and the potential for a non aviation connected resident to occupy the property and complain about noise and request restrictions becomes exceedingly high.
b. Terms of these agreements range from less than a year remaining to many years. The loss of TTF access will result in a significant loss of value in the residential TTF property.
6. Section III C-“Airport sponsors must take appropriate action, including the adoption of zoning laws, to restrict the use of land, to the extent reasonable, next to or near the airport to uses that are compatible with normal airport operations.”
a. Many airports are not sponsored by the same governmental unit that governing land zoning (e.g. city owned airport which borders on county privately held land).
7. This memorandum and its basis 5190.6B make no distinction between types of airports and the services the airports provide. There certainly are distinctions between major airports with scheduled part 121 service and smaller airports. “One size fits all” is not an appropriate application for consideration of residential TTF agreements.
8. Section IIIB “In addition, it can undermine the financial viability of on-airport aeronautical businesses and undermine an airport in becoming self-sustaining” and Section IVA-“If the FAA ADO or RO determines that such an agreement lessens the public benefit…”
a. Residential TTF accessed properties support the financial viability of on airport aeronautical businesses and helps the airport to become self sustaining. Residential TTF properties increase the public benefit of airports due to increased utilization and do not force residential TTF owners to move to private airports which do not benefit public airports or the public.