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Christopher Gooding
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Onus on landowner to ensure private airstrips are up to code

SPRINGHILL - Following a botched landing at a personal airstrip in Springhill, Transport Canada says it is the responsibility of the owner to make sure the private airstrip, known in the industry as an aerodrome, is up to code.

Communications officer Steve Bone says Transport Canada does not approve or disapprove private aerodromes. The one in question in Springhill drew the ire of neighbours during its construction because of its close proximity to homes in a residential area but so long as the owner, Church Street resident Mark Capone, is following the rules of the federal Aeronautics Act the aerodrome is okay.

"There isn't [a governing body] for private aerodromes," Bone explained Thursday. "It's incumbent on the owner to comply with the Aeronautics Act."

With the responsibility ultimately on the landowner's shoulders, Bone says, anyone with enough space could build a private aerodrome or heliport in their backyard.

"That's my understanding," Bone said.

All aircraft are required to be registered with Transport Canada and comply with their rules and regulations. The aircraft in Wednesday's mishap, Bone says, had all the required registrations prior to the incident.

Incidents involving aircrafts move from Transport Canada's table to that of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, who decides what level of investigation is necessary. According to the safety board's website a reportable incident includes accidents where an aircraft sustains damage or failure that affects the structural strength of the aircraft.

Within the Aeronautics Act, there are provisions concerning aerodromes. In summary, Part III of the act states where low-flying in the vicinity of an aerodrome are likely to be hazardous to pedestrian or vehicular traffic, the operator of the aerodrome shall immediately post notices warning of the hazard on any public way (road, path or sidewalk) that is adjacent to the maneuvering area; or where such a public way is not owned or controlled by the operator, inform the authorities responsible for placing markings on the public way that there is a hazard.


Organizations: Transport Canada, Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Geographic location: Church Street

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Recent comments

  • Andrew
    January 18, 2010 - 11:18

    It's my understanding that the Town has a Land Use Bylaw in effect. As the name
    implies, this by-law allows the Town to control Land Uses within the Town
    boundaries. I doubt very much that a private aerodome, heliport, air strip or
    however else you would like to wrap it, is a listed as a permitted use in a
    residential zone. Therefore, if it is not a listed permitted use, it is
    prohibited! This is an issue enforceable by the Town through their existing
    by-laws. By not enforcing their by-laws they could liable in the future.

  • Scared
    January 18, 2010 - 11:15

    In the Herald he said: I was coming in with more of a tailwind than I figured, and it bounced off the end of the runway into the bushes. You don't land with a tailwind!! The standard landing pattern is downwind leg, crosswind leg, final. Facing the wind! This man is dangerous.

  • Bob
    January 18, 2010 - 11:10

    please won't someone think of the children!

  • justa thought
    January 18, 2010 - 11:06

    in response to the first comment.Isn't that backwards. If something is not listed or labeled illegal than it is asumed to be legal.Things are usually listed as prohibited rather than the list of legal. Also ,If a car left the road and hit a house, I suppose (if that should ever happen ! )we should ban cars ,,,,,right ??It wasn't the spaqce shuttle, it's an ultralight for heavens sake,

  • cryssy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    Sorry, I won't ver be flying over my neighbors house & out of respect for those who may live close by and their lives, children, houses, pets, etc... nobody else should be either. I dodn't live in Springhill - now - but if I did, I don't think I'd appreciate someone flying over my house in their pleasure craft. Mr. Capon should move to a more isolated location to do this sort of thing, it's just to untrustmworthly, which has been shown, to be flying it around in town limits or close to anyone's home. there is a place for these things, and they should not intrude or endager others.