The City of Santa Monica, Calif., planned to implement its new ordinance prohibiting operation of category C and D aircraft at the city’s airport beginning April 25. The city enacted the ordinance because of “the dramatic increase in the number of faster airplanes using the airport,” according to a statement from the city. “The ordinance enhances safety by preventing faster aircraft, in the C and D categories, from using the airport.” Category C aircraft have 1.3 Vso approach speeds of 121 up to 141 knots, while Category D is 141 to 166 knots. Santa Monica’s single runway is 4,973 feet long. According to the statement, lack of runway safety areas at both ends of the runway means that the airport has no overrun protection.
“The city further argues that the FAA’s attempt to coerce the city into continuing to accept C and D operations, without the safety precautions mandated by federal standards, violates the Tenth Amendment prohibition against the federal government commandeering local resources; and, in protecting the traveling convenience of a few at the expense of the safety of many, the FAA violates the Congressional mandate requiring the FAA to make safety its first priority, ahead of the economic interests of the aviation industry.” The city is expecting litigation to follow implementation of the new ordinance.