Amendment to law protects Arkansas private airstrip owners

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The 89th General Assembly of Arkansas passed House Bill 1020 on February 7, essentially protecting private airstrip owners throughout Arkansas from litigation from non-commercial aviation activity on their land.  The bill added “aviation” to the other recreational activities listed in the state’s existing Recreational Use Statute. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Joe Jett (D) of  Clay County and included 17 cosponsors. HB1020 passed both state houses with overwhelming support for what many of the Legislators called a “common sense statute.” Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe signed the bill on Monday, February 11.

Spearheading the bill through the process were Yasmina Platt of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and David Myrick, Arkansas Liaison for the RAF.

Actual text of the amendment reads, “to extend the limitation of liability for permitting the recreational use of land to a landowner who permits the free use of the landowner’s property for flying and landing aircraft.”

Myrick said, “this amendment will encourage the 200 owners of Arkansas’ private airstrips to more readily allow aviation activity on their airstrips, encouraging more people to enjoy all the recreational and tourism activities that Arkansas has to offer.”

With the passage of this bill, Arkansas joins 16 other states that have added aviation to their laws covering liability for certain recreational use.

John McKenna, president of the RAF added, “we’re pleased with the success of this amendment. It  protects landowners and preserves low-impact access by air – ideally near camping and scenic and recreational destinations.”

Pictured are: Seated is Gov. Mike Beebe

2nd row Left to Right: Rep. Joe Jett, Sponsor John Moran, Gov's Policy Advisor Rep. Mary Broadaway, Cosponsor

John Knight, Dir. Arkansas Dept. of Aeronautics Robert Shingledecker, RAF member and W