What is the Fairhope Airport Authority?
The Fairhope Airport Authority was established in 2007 by the City of Fairhope and is incorporated under Article 2, Chapter 3, Title 4, Section 4-3-40 of the Code of Alabama 1975.
The Airport Authority is a separate legal entity and is not part of the City of Fairhope.
The Authority is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors all of whom serve without compensation except for expenses. They are elected by the council of the City of Fairhope for staggered six-year terms.
What is the purpose of the Airport Authority?
The Authority’s primary purpose is to operate and develop the Fairhope Airport, (i.e. H.L. ‘Sonny’ Callahan).
When does the Airport Authority meet?
The Airport Authority meets the third Tuesday of every month. These are public meetings and the agenda is posted in compliance with the Alabama Open Meeting Act. All approved meeting minutes are posted on the city website.
Does the Fairhope airport have a website?
Yes it does. It was launched in late 2016. fairhopeairport.com
What type of airport is the Fairhope Airport?
The Fairhope Airport is a general aviation airport. The FAA defines general aviation airports as “public-use airports that do not have scheduled service or have less than 2,500 annual passenger boardings (49 USC 47102(8))”
What are the hours of operation for the Fairhope Airport?
Airport is open 24/7 for operations unless closed by a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen). Attended hours of operation are 0600 hours to 2000 hours, seven days a week (but may vary).
251-990-5080 (Ext. 1 for flight line services).
Flight line manager is Joe Baggett.
Does the airport have a FBO (Fixed Base Operator)?
Continental Motors Services operates a full service FBO including complete MRO (Maintenance and Repair Operations) facilities for almost any type of piston airplanes. Large and small hangars are also located on the field.
Aviation Academy at Fairhope airport
The Academy at the Fairhope Airport offers courses in aviation, industrial maintenance, and welding. This $2.7 million facility is a cooperative partnership with Alabama Coastal Community College, the Fairhope Airport Authority, and the Baldwin County Board of Education training annually over 120 high school students, college students, and working age adults to pursue aerospace and aviation careers.
Who controls the airspace above the city/airport?
Congress has charged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to administer the navigable airspace in the public interest as necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and its efficient use.
“Navigable airspace” is airspace at or above the minimum altitudes of flight prescribed by the Code of Federal Regulations, and shall include airspace needed to ensure safety in the takeoff and landing of aircraft. By policy, the term “airspace above minimum altitudes of flight” is interpreted to mean “airspace at or above minimum flight altitudes.”
Can the airport authority or the city of Fairhope limit access to the airspace above the city?
While the Airport Authority does have control over the ground operations on the airport premises, the Airport Authority has no control over air space. Under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, Congress extensively and exclusively regulates use of navigable air space under federal laws such as the Federal Aviation Act. Municipalities have no authority to enact rules or ordinances which infringe upon Congressional authority.
Military Operations Areas (MOAs)
What is a Military Operations Area (MOA)?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), under the Department of Transportation (DOT) defines MOAs as:
“A military operations area (MOA) is airspace designated outside of Class A airspace, to separate or segregate certain nonhazardous military activities from Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) traffic and to identify for Visual Flight Rule (VFR) traffic where these activities are conducted. “
Activities contained within MOAs include:
- Air Combat Tactics
- Air Intercepts
- Formation Training
- Low Altitude
What is the purpose of MOAs?
Per the FAA, “MOAs are designated to contain nonhazardous, military flight activities including, but not limited to, air combat maneuvers, air intercepts, low altitude tactics, etc. “
Do branches of the military have airports within this MOA?
The U.S. Navy has four airports within Baldwin County. Those are located in Summerdale, Silverhill, Foley and Lillian. Additionally they use the airports of Gulf Shores, Pensacola, Bay Minette, Fairhope, Mobile Regional and Mobile downtown.
The Coast Guard has a base in Mobile, AL from which they conduct training flights.
The Navy does not fly training flight activities after dark. The Coast Guard has a 2200 hour curfew during the months of Central Standard Time (CST) and 2400 hours during Daylight Savings Time (DST).
Is the Fairhope Airport within an established MOA?
What is a ‘Touch and Go’?
The FAA defines a touch and go, as “An operation by an aircraft that lands and departs on a runway without stopping or exiting the runway.”
Does an airport have to be within a MOA for the military to use it for touch and go(s)?
Why are the aircraft so noisy?
The Navy has switched to a T-6A aircraft from a T-34C aircraft which had been used since 1977. The T-6A requires runways of at least approximately 6,000 feet. The T-6A weighs approximately 1500-2000 pounds more than the T-34C and has twice the shaft horsepower (1100 shp).
What steps has the Fairhope airport authority taken with respect to citizen noise complaints?
FAA-The Fairhope Airport Authority applied to the FAA for an analysis determination to alter a public use airport. The FAA conducted an aeronautical study under the provisions of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 157, concerning changing of the traffic pattern. The FAA responded in a letter dated July 14, 2016, that the analytical study determined the proposed alteration would not adversely affect the safe and efficient use of navigable airspace by aircraft.
Therefore, a traffic pattern change for departures was implemented – “no turns until reaching 600 feet AGL” (Above ground level). “Traffic Pattern Altitude, “1,000 feet AGL” and “1500 feet AGL turbine powered aircraft”. Since implementing the traffic pattern changes, the military traffic has decreased.
Contact with the military – The Fairhope Airport Authority has held public meetings attended by military representatives to give the public a forum to inform the military of their complaints. Additionally the airport authority has posted on the airport website (fairhopeairport.com) the names and contact information for the naval and coast guard liaison officers and individuals. This gives the public the ability to have direct contact with the military. To assist the public, the airport authority developed a template complaint form to submit to the military. This form is on the website contacts page.
What ordinances does the City of Fairhope have in effect regulating the use of property in the vicinity of the Fairhope airport?
In 2001, the City of Fairhope adopted ordinance number 1140. This ordinance regulates the use of property and established noise attenuation requirements for the construction of certain structures in the vicinity of the Fairhope municipal airport by creating an airport overlay district and established the boundaries of said district. Click here to read Ordinance 1140. Article V(e) pertains to the airport overlay district.
Does participation in the FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) affect the Airport Authority’s ability to restrict military training in the military operations area (MOA) above the city of Fairhope?
According to the FAA Airport Compliance Manual, a federally funded airport must remain open for public use at all time, subject to closure only for severe weather hazards, scheduled aeronautical events, or (very limited) non-aeronautical events. (Compliance Manuel, sections 7.8 and 7.21.) AIP Grant Assurance #27 also requires that an AIP participant make the facilities available for use by government aircraft “at all times.”
While the Airport Authority does have control over the ground operations on the airport premises, the Airport Authority has no control over air space. Under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, Congress extensively and exclusively regulates use of navigable air space under federal laws such as the Federal Aviation Act. Congress has charged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to administer the navigable airspace in the public interest as necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and its efficient use. Municipalities have no authority either to enact rules or ordinances which infringe upon Congressional authority.
If you would like to suggest additional topics to be addressed in this section, please email Chairman@fairhopeairport.com.