In a big win for skydiving, the Federal Aviation Administration ruled in favor of USPA Group Member DZ Phoenix Area Skydiving’s complaint to the FAA that the management of the Casa Grande, Arizona, airport was unfairly denying access to skydiving. Like many municipal airports, the Casa Grande airport has received federal funds for airport improvements.
An airport’s owner is obligated to operate the airport without discrimination among all aeronautical activities, which is one of the assurances given to the FAA in exchange for grant funds. The FAA recognizes skydiving as an aeronautical activity.
The DZO filed a formal Part 16 complaint with the FAA when the airport refused to accommodate his skydiving business. Part 16 is a regulation under which the FAA performs an administrative review of airport actions to determine whether they comply with the grant assurances. The FAA determination found that by prohibiting an on-airport drop zone, Casa Grande airport management discriminated against skydiving. The determination also found that by prohibiting the DZ’s use of the airport terminal, airport management created an exclusive right for other aeronautical users not shared with skydiving. The FAA has ordered the airport to submit a corrective action plan that accommodates skydiving. DZO Luther Kurtz filed the complaint with help from attorney Rick Durden and USPA Director of Government Relations Randy Ottinger.