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