The RAF announces a successful advocacy outcome for pilots who prefer to take off and land on turf, typically adjacent to hard-surfaced runways. The new FAA Advisory Circular  AC 150/5300-13B became official on March 31, and acknowledges turf operations within Runway Safety Areas(RSAs).

RAF Director Jeff Russell began working with AOPA and EAA in July of 2019, providing feedback to the FAA regarding use of turf operating areas. “This advocacy win represents a great collaborative effort between the RAF, EAA, and AOPA. It’s a huge win for recreational aviation. Kudos to the FAA for this logical approach to enhancing safety at airports.”

These types of operations have been taking place at airports across the country, typically by tailwheel pilots, and this is the first time the FAA has officially recognized these areas. There is still a process to go through before turf operations can be authorized. The FAA requires the airport owner to request that a turf operations area be established. The local FSDO must ensure that operations in the proposed area can take place safely in order to approve it.

Russell points out relevant language in the new section on Diverse Aeronautical Activities on Airports. In subsection 2.10.6, the FAA now recognizes operations on turf areas adjacent to paved runways:

“Pilots of certain aircraft (such as ultralights, powered-parachutes, helicopters, gliders, agricultural aircraft, tailwheels, aircraft with large balloon type “tundra” tires, etc.) occasionally use the unpaved portion of the RSA adjacent to a runway for takeoffs, landings, or other operations (e.g., banner towing). 

“While this document does not guarantee these operations at all airports, it should ease the way to get them allowed on an official basis at many airports across the country,” Russell added. 

Submitted April 15, 2022


  1. Chip on April 16, 2022 at 9:06 am

    This is really great. Thanks for the hard work on this Jeff and everyone at the RAF.

  2. Doug Snader on April 16, 2022 at 12:21 pm

    Thank you for pursuing something that is long overdue.

  3. Shane Adair on April 16, 2022 at 3:18 pm

    Great work RAF. We have tried to do this at KACT but the word “liability “ always stopped the conversation. Thanks for hopefully easing that concern.
    Now we need to start volunteering to pick up a Fed at the FSDO. Give them a ride to your airport and start the safety check!

  4. Neal Culiner on April 16, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    Trying to get this approved at KFCI as well. The turf on the side of runway 15 is ideal for this.

    • Steve Shook on April 18, 2023 at 2:55 pm

      Hi Neal, read your comment about KFCI on the grass strip next to your runway
      Checking if it got approved by FAA and then airport management
      I am looking at the same thing at KLMO in Colorado
      Now that AC 150/5300-13b was adopted on 3/31/23 I would assume it might be easier to get approval
      I would like to know your thoughts

  5. stephen northcraft on April 17, 2022 at 9:49 am

    The SSA started advocating for this back in 2010. We got the FAA ADO Leadership to allow it on a case-by-case basis. But there were opponents within the FAA. Glad to see that the FAA finally acknowledged that it should be policy.

  6. Sky Monkey on April 17, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    My Luscombe is smiling!

  7. Todd Bohon on April 18, 2022 at 12:32 am

    Great News!! Thanks for your efforts on all of our behalf

  8. Greg Daughtry on April 18, 2022 at 7:15 am

    Nice work, Jeff!

    • Capt R Bud Fuchs CFI/ATP on September 5, 2022 at 10:58 am

      St Louis also has the CFI organization that might get on board ?
      Then there are the TW specific TYPE clubs; Staggerwing, Stinson, C170 etc.
      Don’t some, or most insurance policy’s deny coverage on unprepared (grass) landing areas ?

  9. Dan Thompson on April 18, 2022 at 3:38 pm

    another milestone!

  10. Rick Schreiber on April 20, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    This is great work and great news! We have been trying to get this approved at my local airport (KVPZ) without success, even though the FAA has said it was not an issue.

  11. Annette Richmond on April 21, 2022 at 8:06 am

    How will these areas be identified in an airport runway description?

    • Kyle Lewis on July 14, 2022 at 12:45 pm

      Should be identified in the remarks or even by NOTAM. These are not runways, and should not be charted as such!

  12. Bob Poore on April 22, 2022 at 12:02 pm

    My Pietenpol is a happy Camper…

  13. Rusty Coonfield on June 8, 2022 at 8:11 am

    This is a fantastic development! Nice to see we can actually make progress in gaining new access and freedoms with the FAA. Thank you so much Jeff and everyone at the RAF!

  14. Ray Jilek on June 8, 2022 at 8:37 am

    Great job Jeff!

  15. Robert Oehl on July 8, 2022 at 6:44 am

    Didn’t Aviation start this way?

  16. […] actual grass runway. Thanks to the efforts of the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF), the FAA recently acknowledged turf operations within runway safety areas. These operations most commonly entail taking off and landing from the grass immediately adjacent […]

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