FAA Reverses Decision On Previous Ban
Talk about your Catch 22 ... three
years ago, skydiving companies lost the right to land customers at
Hobby Field near Eugene, Oregon because the City of Creswell would
not sign safety agreements with skydiving companies. The city, for
its part, cited that FAA decision as a reason to decline to sign
the safety agreements. But now the FAA is reversing that
decision, and says the city of Creswell could lose federal airport
money if the ban continues in its current form.
According to a letter sent by the FAA in May, the city must
prove skydiving is unsafe at the airport before it will reconsider
its position. It points to another letter sent over a year ago
changing its (the FAA's) position.
“At this time you have not provided a sufficient
reasonable basis to deny drop zone access to your airport,”
FAA Airport Manager Donna Taylor wrote in the May 22 letter. It
goes on to say that, unless the city is able to prove that
skydivers landing on airport property is unsafe, and the ban
continues, it will be in violation of one of its federal grants by
discriminating against an FAA-sanctioned activity.
The Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard reports the Creswell City
Council is now rushing to address the issue through legislation.
Monday, they voted unanimously to review and finalize a safety plan
with the airport for skydiving, and have it assessed by an
independent safety zone evaluator.
Criswell Mayor Bob Hooker told the paper “I have nothing
against the skydivers, I would love to see them back at the
airport, but I am not willing to let that happen at the expense of
the city. I’m not going to make the city
If the city and local skydiving companies can agree on the
safety plan that's under review, and it gets a green light from the
city's insurance company, the ban will be lifted, allowing jumpers
to land on airport property. At least for a trial period.
Urban Moore, owner of Eugene Skydivers which is located adjacent
to Hobby, filed the initial complaint with the FAA. He said
Monday's vote was a step in the right direction. “I see a
light at the end of the tunnel, but you know it’s been almost
three years now. Even if I’m back on the airport tomorrow,
which won’t happen, it’s going to take two to three
years to get back to where I was,” with his business.