A photograph of an airplane landing at Byrd's Adventure Center

Let's talk about LIABILITY!


For Landowners

"It has long been recognized that access to privately owned rural lands must play a strategic role in meeting the increasing demand for public outdoor recreation. Liability for recreational injuries has been identified as a particularly worrisome problem for landowners. However, landowners' perceptions of liability are not commensurate with the reality of legal risks." - Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Vol 57 No 3

Each state in the USA has its own Recreational Use Statute (RUS). They all share similarities, but states differ on the types of land protected, the types of activities protected, commerce restrictions, and a host of other details. The intent of all recreational use statutes, however, is the same; to promote public recreational use of privately owned lands by offering land owners a level of protection from liability for personal injuries or property damage.

A map of which states include aviation in their recreational use statutes.

Our objective on this page is to share the good news about the RUS with landowners who have airfields that are currently private use only. We hope to encourage you to make access to those airfields public, or at the very least allow pilots to use these resources with permission.

The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) is a not-for-profit organization that has been leading the charge to have aviation included as a recreational activity in states where it either isn't included or where the law is ambiguous. They have some outstanding material on recreational use statutes that can be found at The RAF Website.

Map courtesy of the Recreational Aviation Foundation - RAF Website.

For more specific information about the recreational use statute in your state, click on the state image below.

Arkansas
Summary

As of 2013 the Arkansas statute does include aviation, which as defined as "taking off, flying, or landing an airplane or aircraft".

The statute does not provide protection for an owner who: 1) "maliciously fails to warn of an ultra-hazardous condition" or 2) charges a fee or admission.

Documents
HB 1020
Legal Review
Case Review
Publications
Tailwind Letter
AOPA Article
Flying Article
Arkansas RUS Trifold
U of A Recap
Call To Action

As an Arkansas landowner we're asking you to rethink your position on allowing pilots to utilize your airfield. If you would like additional information, or would like help registering your airfield with the FAA or changing the use from "private" to "public" we can help. If you're passionate about aviation we think we can work together to find an acceptable way for more extensive recreational use of your airfield. Please contact us for more information.

Oklahoma
Summary

As of 2013 the Oklahoma statute does include aviation, specifically "aviation at non-public-use airports".

The statute does not relieve the liability on an owner who: 1) is guilty of "deliberate, willful, or malicious injury to persons or property" or 2) charges a fee or admission. The latest house bill also removed language defining "land" as primarily used for farming or ranching.

Documents
HB 1009
Department of Agriculture
Slide Show

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General Aviation News
Call To Action

As an Oklahoma landowner we're asking you to rethink your position on allowing pilots to utilize your airfield. If you would like additional information, or would like help registering your airfield with the FAA or changing the use from "private" to "public" we can help. If you're passionate about aviation we think we can work together to find an acceptable way for more extensive recreational use of your airfield. Please contact us for more information.

Missouri
Summary

Missouri has a recreational use statue but language specifically addressing aviation activities can be difficult to find. Aircraft recreation (including "ultralight vehicle activity") is addressed in section 537.555.1 "Private property, permission by owner to hunt, fish, or recreate, limitation on privilege."

Documents
House Bill 2034
Section 537.355.1
Includes Aircraft
AOPA Article
Call To Action

As a Missouri landowner we're asking you to rethink your position on allowing pilots to utilize your airfield. If you would like additional information, or would like help registering your airfield with the FAA or changing the use from "private" to "public" we can help. If you're passionate about aviation we think we can work together to find an acceptable way for more extensive recreational use of your airfield. Please contact us for more information.