FAA Favors Ultralighters
August 24, 2001

He just wouldn't take "no" for an answer and after two-years of tediously wrangling the bureaucracies of both local and national aviation rule makers, he was awarded that which was already his; the right to land and take-off in his ultralight at a publicly funded, county operated airport.

Bill Bardin, veteran USUA Advanced Flight Instructor and owner/operator of California Sport Aviation, an ultralight flight school out of Lodi Linds Airport near Sacramento, California, says his efforts paid off when the Federal Aviation Administration overturned a ban on ultralights that county officials had imposed in 1999. The victory strikes a blow for ultralighters everywhere who may be suffering unlawful discrimination by local government and airport authorities.

An excerpt from the FAA finding reads: "Based on the record in this proceeding, the Director's Determination finds that the County of Sacramento, owner and operator of Franklin Field, is in violation of its Federal obligations as set forth in the 1947 Quitclaim Deed ; and the prohibition against exclusive rights as set forth in the applicable Federal grant agreement".

"Finally, justice has been done!", says the elated Bardin.

The dispute was over ultralight access to Franklin Field, a small airport near Lodi, California. Franklin Field has two runways both just over 3000 feet. It is a popular airport for training because of its unobstructed runways and remote location. Bardin says he operated at Franklin without incident for years. Blending in with other general aviation aircraft by flying the same patterns and using two-way radio for traffic awareness. Safety violations have just not been a factor", says Bardin.