October 15, 2009 – In a move that caught the general aviation industry off-guard, the FAA Airports Division issued a new and revised FAA Order 5190.6B, Airport Compliance Manual, on September 30, 2009, effective immediately. Although acknowledging that an update to this very important airport management document was needed, EAA is disappointed that the FAA did not seek any input from the aviation community in revising the manual, increasing the size of the document from 94 to 691 pages.
The two leading general aviation organizations, EAA and AOPA, are examining the new manual for areas that need to be improved or clarified. They will then work with the FAA Airports Division to address the problem areas.
In EAA’s initial review of FAA Order 5190.6B, three specific areas were found that pose problems for airport users and tenants.
- Autofuel was not recognized as an authorized aviation fuel, nor does it suggest that airports take actions to install self-service, ethanol-free premium grade autogas pumps to support the 100,000+ aircraft that use autogas as their primary, FAA-approved aviation fuel.
- The new manual failed to clarify the issue of providing reduced fair-market hangar rent for not-for-profit 501c(3) tax-exempt EAA chapters, whose community activities provide positive tangible benefits to their airports. EAA has successfully worked with the FAA Airports Division for several years in resolving this issue.
- EAA has successfully resolved several cases around the country where owners/operators of recreational aircraft, such as powered parachutes, weight-shift-control, and gyroplanes, were denied access to airports. The initial denials were based on some airports’ management’s belief that because aircraft were stored and maintained off airport property (at owners’ homes) then trailered to the airport for flight, this action was recognized as an activity not permitted because of the FAA’s through-the-fence (TTF) prohibitions. With the on-going development of special light-sport aircraft as recreational aircraft, including the roadable aircraft this issue needed to be resolved, but wasn’t.
On Tuesday, October 13, the FAA issued a Federal Register Notice asking the public to review and submit comments to FAA Order 5190.6B. The submitted comments will be used in a determination whether any further revisions of the Order are required, and we encourage you to submit your comments per the instructions listed in the Federal Register Notice. If you register a comment, please send a copy to EAA at firstname.lastname@example.org. With a considerable amount of public comments, EAA is hopeful that the FAA will issue a revised document prior to the end of 2010.