Quick Takes: Torrance City Says No to Touch-and-Go

November 6, 2023 Written by: Aviation Seminars

Imagine a world for flight schools and student pilots where touch-and-go maneuvers are illegal. The municipal authorities in Torrance, California, are one step closer to that reality and are considering a prohibition on touch-and-go flight maneuvers at the local airport. It’s a move that is being contested by aviation entities and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for being illegal to enforce. Torrance’s Zamperini Field, a base for numerous flight training centers and the Robinson Helicopter Company, has been at the center of noise-related complaints for years.

Touch-and-Go at Torrance Airport might be illegal

In response, despite opposition, the city council in late October expressed their intent to act in accordance with the community’s desires and unanimously voted 5-0 in favor of the ban. Council member Asam Sheikh emphasized the council’s duty to represent the will of the people above all.

The FAA has historically asserted its exclusive jurisdiction over aeronautical activities, a stance communicated to Torrance officials in a 2020 correspondence. The federal agency outlined that while the city can implement measures to lessen noise pollution, it cannot dictate the specifics of flight operations.

Torrance’s airport, not currently bound by federal obligations due to a lack of recent federal funding, may face less oversight from the FAA. However, noncompliance with FAA regulations, typically mandated through federal grants, could lead to financial repercussions.

Aviation groups, in their correspondence, highlighted the potential misuse of public funds should the city persist in its legally dubious efforts. Moreover, the city council’s agenda includes proposals to eliminate the sale of leaded aviation fuel, introduce landing fees for visiting aircraft, and limit the number of flight schools at the airport. City officials are reportedly conducting thorough research into the legal and practical implications of such measures, with a detailed report to the city council anticipated to take a year.

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