Is model airplane rule unneeded?
A model aircraft landing strip recently completed at Marion County Lake technically violates a Federal Aviation Administration rule regarding model airplanes within five miles of an airport.
Under FAA rules, operators of drones and model airplanes flying within five miles of an airport must notify the airport operator before flying.
However, Marion pilot and model aircraft enthusiast Terry Chizek says the rule is unnecessary here.
Chizek helped build the model plane strip at the lake. Before it was built, model enthusiasts flew at the airport.
“It’s better out there than flying at the airport,” Chizek said. “At the lake it’s just a way to get away from the real airport.”
Chizek said the FAA rule was for large airports like those in Wichita and Kansas City, which have control towers.
“They’re more concerned about the commercial traffic,” Chizek said. “At our airport, we only get one or two planes a day, so it’s not a big concern.”
If a model plane were to get caught in an airliner’s engine, it could cause major damage, he said. But planes flying into Marion’s airport are smaller.
“With a smaller plane it would do some damage but it won’t ruin the engine or anything,” Chizek said.
Don Hodson, another Marion pilot, said there were no problems before the model airplane landing strip was built, when model airplane pilots used the airport.
“We never had any issues at any time,” Hodson said. “They’re all conscientious people.”
Hodson said model planes didn’t fly high enough altitude to cause problems for landing planes anyway.
“Normally an airplane coming in at a pattern to land is never going to be below 800 feet, and they are flying below 500 feet,” Hodson said. “It’s sure not needed for places like Marion.”