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Banning Paramotors at Marion Airport?

Apr 13, 2014 Story of possible Ultralight discrimination | by Jeff Goin

See also Ultralights at Airports

In 1975 I flew my first aircraft, a glider, at Marion, Ohio. Malcom Green took me up in a Schweizzer 2-33 sailplane and soon after releasing from tow, said the magic words "you've got it." That was it, I was hooked for life.

In about 2003 or so, having come full circle in the career, I came back to Marion to visit friends at the glider club and fly my paramotor. It was cool to see my old stomping grounds from this new perspective.

Today, I was saddened to learn that a paramotor friend of mine, James Hall, who had been flying periodically for years, was told that he was no long allowed. How terribly sad.

For one, the paramotor can be flown with the same safety as any other craft with appropriate patterns. And apparently there was no discussion about patterns, launch areas and so forth, he was told this was a new policy.

Two, the airport accepts federal funds and therefore has agreed to a number of "Grant Assurances" including #22 which requires the airport support all kinds of aeronautical activities that it is physically able to. Given the size and location, MNN easily falls within this ability.

I'm helping the ultralight orgs see if we can find out more. Jim Sayers, the airport manager, has been at the airport for many years and, in fact, towed me up in the glider several times! It's entirely possible that the city has directed this policy and he's just the messenger.  Either way it's clearly not right and hopefully can be resolved amicably.

Update

2014 May 15 Update The USPPA contacted Marion Airport's management and they said that paramotors were not banned nor were ultralights banned. As best they can tell it's something that management and the pilot must work out.

I hope to fly at Marion airport when we take the Enterprise back to Ohio this summer.

Marion airport sits in G airspace and is nearly surrounded by farm fields. It is one of those places that makes a great paramotor launch site for anyone with a basic knowledge of airport operations and how to minimize being a risk.

All aviation carries risk and the best evidence we have that paramotor has no more collision risk than any other type of aviation and is probably less because of the craft's slow speed and large surface area.  


© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!