EAA Supporting Homebuilders' Rights In Las Vegas Area
First Flights At North Las Vegas Airport At Issue
October 5, 2006 — EAA is currently working on solutions to the results of urban growth on the ability for aircraft builders to make initial flights in their amateur-built aircraft in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area. Since late 2004, EAA has been involved with the situation around North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), which has been increasingly surrounded by urban growth in the rapidly expanding Las Vegas metro area. This growth led the Las Vegas Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) to disallow first flights of amateur-built aircraft from North Las Vegas Airport.
Since EAA became directly involved at the request of its chapters in that area, the FSDO agreed to review its decision and authorized two independent safety surveys of the airport and its flight paths. EAA has been in continual contact with FAA officials on the matter, and specifically brought up the issue once more at conferences with FAA Headquarters officials, the FAA Western Region and the Las Vegas FSDO during AirVenture 2005 and 2006, the 2006 FAA/EAA Summit, and most recently during an August 2006 teleconference.
"EAA's position on these matters, which affect numerous airports throughout the country, is consistently clear," said Earl Lawrence, EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. "Every person who builds an aircraft must have access to a safe and convenient way to make the initial flights in these aircraft.
"Corridors have been established in many parts of the country that ensure the safety of the pilot of these aircraft and those who live in an airport's vicinity, while meeting the safety standards of initial flights. Rapid growth in an urban area certainly adds complexities to the issue, but aircraft builders have a right to safe, convenient access to facilities where they can make these flights."
The North Las Vegas decision only affects initial flights in homebuilt aircraft, not established homebuilt aircraft operations at the facility. According to FAA and NTSB figures, the initial two flights in amateur-built aircraft pose the highest risk for accidents than other operations in those aircraft.
AOPA has joined EAA in this effort to find a solution in North Las Vegas. EAA will continue to seek solutions that emphasize flight safety and the convenience of those who have worked thousands of hours to complete an aircraft project.