They say that turnabout is fair play, and that’s evidently what a proactive North Carolina tobacco grower thought he was doing when he sued a local high school over its use of a helicopter to place an air conditioner on its rooftop. This, after he had been refused permission to operate a helicopter from his own land without a permit.
Enfield, N.C., tobacco grower Alexander Chickosky petitioned the local zoning commission for permission to operate a helicopter without a permit from land his company, Enfield Shade Tobacco, owned in an Enfield industrial park. Refused permission on the local level, Chickosky took his complaint all the way to the state supreme court, which ruled unanimously that Chickosky had to get a permit.
Unamused and determined to operate without a permit, Chickosky moved his helicopter operations, which consisted of spraying his company’s tobacco fields against pests, away from Enfield and to a nearby airport. During a trip to Enfield, he then saw the local high school using a helicopter to haul air-conditioning components to the building’s roof. Inspired, Chickosky went into action. “It is interesting to note that the town of Enfield violates its own zoning regulations with impunity by landing and launching a helicopter from the Enrico Fermi High School grounds without an approved heliport on the site,” he said in a written statement he issued.
In a move that should restore hope to the heart of any helicopter operator who has ever had to go up against city hall, town manager Scott Shanley ruled against the high school, admitting that the operations at the school were a violation of the town’s zoning ordinances and that “steps have been taken to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”