Wisconsin Pilot Opposes Unpowered Ultralights/Hang Gliders At Local Airport

Published in Midwest Flyer – April/May 2018 issue

PALMYRA, WIS. – Louis Radecki, a pilot, flight instructor and an FAA Safety Team Representative at Palmyra Airport (88C) in southeastern Wisconsin, is raising concern to the Town of Palmyra Airport Commission of a proposal to allow unpowered ultralights/hang gliders to operate at the airport. Radecki says that mixing unpowered ultralight vehicles/hang gliders with airplanes is dangerous due to differences in speed and performance, and that wake turbulence is a significant issue for ultralight operators.

Radecki cites FAA Order 7110.99 which states in part “…the speed and flight characteristics of ultralights, especially as related to wake turbulence, may make them incompatible with aircraft operations. …ultralight vehicles should be segregated from all non-ultralight aircraft in the use of runways and the airport surface.”

“This vibrant general aviation airport would be put at risk if unpowered ultralight vehicles/hang gliders are allowed to operate here,” says Radecki.

Radecki notes that of the 54 hang-gliding and paragliding schools listed on the U.S. Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association website, only one school is located at an airport, and that airport in Warton, Texas, only has 37 based aircraft and 86 operations per week versus 83 based aircraft and 259 operations per week at Palmyra. Also at Warton, ultralight and hang-gliding activities do not use the single runway, but rather a corner of the airport property.

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