Venice Aviation Society Incorporated

Skydiving Operations at VNC

| Editor

Dear VASI Members,

This past week I was invited to an informal discussion on an issue which will affect you as a user of the Venice Airport.

The commercial tenants of VNC gathered to discuss a request for a parachuting business. This has been requested/proposed since 2009, and the Venice airport has declined the request out of safety concerns. In 2010, an FAA inspector determined that these operations would in fact be safe at VNC. Last year, the FAA directed the manager of Venice Airport to make progress toward accommodating skydiving operations, since this is an aeronautical activity that deserves to be allowed at the airport as much as any other. The implications are that if this federally-funded airport did not allow all aeronautical activities as per the FAA guidance, then funding would be taken away.

The city has hired a consultant to look at and summarize all of the issues involved with skydiving operations at VNC. Dr. David Byers has worked with this issue at several other airports, and is also quite well versed in aviation safety and working with the FAA. I let him know that I was at this meeting to represent the 240 or so members of the Venice Airport flying community. The most effective step for VASI at this time would be to compile the inputs from all of you for Dr. Byers. With that in mind, I’d urge you to jot down you thoughts and concerns, send them to me, and I will forward them for the report. If you wish to stay anonymous, please mention that.

The consultant is planning on holding at least one public meeting to gather insights from the Venice aviation community. I will send you the information on that meeting when it is finalized. In the mean time, please let me know what you are thinking.

Regards,

Larry Taborsky

 

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Note: If you wish to post your comments to the VASI website, please comment here. You may post publicly or anonymously, but must provide a valid VASI member email address for your comment to be posted.

 

If you wish to comment privately, please send your comments to the VASI board at info@veniceaviationsociety.com and they will be forwarded to Larry Taborsky.

  1. Editor says:

    Comments from members or the public are welcomed. You may provide any screen name you wish. However, you must provide a valid email address that will NOT be published to prevent spam.

  2. Mike says:

    I flew skydivers for over 4 years and never once had a safety concern or incident. Skydivers are pilots, aircraft mechanics, military, military veterans and aviation enthusiasts. Skydiving at Venice airport would do nothing but improve the airport;)

  3. Karl Munzenberger says:

    Assuming the sky diving will be a scheduled activity (probably a Sunday), it should attract more than a few non-pilots to VNC to watch. On the negative side, one of the most frighting incidents in my aviation career was closing on an open chute flying downwind at an uncontrolled field here in Michigan. OK, I admit it, I didn’t bother checking NOTAMs on the day.

  4. JDonkus says:

    With the amount of seasonal air traffic at VNC, I can’t imagine having skydivers there. I’ve already had one close encounter at Zephyrhills and that was with knowing that they were there..last thing I want to see is a jumper heading for my plane. My opinion is this is far too great a safety threat to allow skydiving at VNC. As for the FAA inspector, let’s get him out in the traffic pattern on a busy day with jumpers just to see if he might change his mind. JD

  5. Editor says:

    Note: There was a front page article on this topic published in the Saturday, July 11 edition of the Venice Gondolier.

    -Editor

  6. Mike Woody says:

    The risk for airborne skydiving accidents at VNC would be high during the season. However, the risk is worth taking. Skydiving would attract more general public to the airport itself and offer another way to promote general aviation in our community. There are additional local economic benefits that come along with a skydiving outfit located at VNC. With the continual closing of airfields around the country we should consider every possibility to promote general aviation at our VNC and increase public awareness of its value. If the FAA’s feasibility/safety inspection was not done during the season then VASI and airfield management should urge a re-inspection during peak flying season.

  7. John willard says:

    I believe that sky diving may work if it required by the FAA ,at Venice, if it is on scheduled days, perhaps Saturday and Sunday only?

    Perhaps a test weekend first?

  8. Gary McBride says:

    I believe it is a dangerous mix to add skydiving at Venice airport. The problem being there is flight training, high speed aircraft and regular GA traffic at all times of the year. Adding one more not very mobile aviation activity could be an accident waiting to happen.

  9. Eric MIchaels says:

    I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but I think a much better use of that land would be to completely tear down the airport and build a 8,000 seat facility to host a minor league baseball team. Venice could then compete to have a MLB team come to Venice every March for spring training. Baseball is very popular with the masses … not really the case with flying.

    • Editor says:

      Interesting sentiment, but legally impossible. As part of the War Surplus Act, the Venice Army Airfield was deeded over to the city of Venice under the deed assurance that it be operated as a public airport, in perpetuity, as part of the US air transportation network. Violation of the deed and subsequent grant assurances would mean the land would revert back to federal government and remain an airport or whatever else they have in mind. Not likely a ball park.

      But watching +/- 4,000 vehicles get on and off the island? Priceless.

  10. Wayne Connor says:

    I was based at an airport that had a skydiving school. We managed to coexist pretty well, but it was a Tower controlled airport. With our mix of NORDO, Ultralight, helicopter, GA, commercial, student and experimental traffic, I am concerned about the increased level of situational awareness that will be required by everyone to make it a safe environment.

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