Individuals and businesses that want to conduct skydiving activities on a federally funded airport have the right to do so under federal law, provided such activity can be done safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, the airport management must give permission for you to do so and will likely ignore the law and refuse any form of access until they are punished financially.
The FAA can terminate Airport Improvement Funds to non-compliant airport sponsors but it's a long frustrating battle, especially if you're fighting City Hall, the US Air Force, corrupted FAA officials, and politicians. The Majors Field battle is a prime example of one that will go the full course because L-3 has such a huge influence over the local government and FAA. L-3 enjoys a near monopoly on the airfield , leasing about 95% of the entire property. The control tower and only FBO are manned by L-3 employees. The airport manager is a retired L-3 employee. The Airport Advisory Board (the people that advise the City concerning what activities to allow on the airfield) Place 2 is occupied by Lance Woodard, a senior L-3 manager. The FAA has permanent offices and employees in the L-3 facility because of the aircraft modification work done there. With around 5000 employees, it is by far the largest employer in Greenville and has enormous influence over City officials. L-3 has its own PAC and keeps the politicians greased with campaign contributions, over $538,000 in 2014. Vice President Eddie Payne has held dinner parties for congressman at his house a mile east of the airport. The local congressman, John Ratcliff, received $3000 from L-3 lately (more on this subject later).
There are only a couple other business that have been allowed Tenant status on the airport: a small Air-Evac Lifeteam helicopter hangar, an oil company hanger for their corporate jet, and a flight training school. Ten years ago the FAA funded a study to encourage General Aviation (GA) and business expansion on the airfield, in part due to the public outcry for additional hangar space and after hours self service fuel. To date there has been no expansion, no self service fuel station, and the huge areas on the south side of the field remain undeveloped, thus ensuring the L-3 Communications continued dominance and monopoly over the airport.
So, given that background, skydivers are guaranteed the right to land parachutes on a federally funded airport by law under 49 USC 47107(a) that states, in part:
" General Written Assurances. - The Secretary of Transportation may approve a project grant application
under this subchapter for an airport development project only if the Secretary receives written assurances,
satisfactory to the Secretary that (1) the airport will be available for public use on reasonable conditions and
without unjust discrimination;."
When an individual or business attempts to skydive onto an airport that doesn't want them, they (the skydivers) will typically go through a four stage process before winning access:
Stage 1: Request and Denial. You approach the airport manager and ask permission to exit over and
land on "his" airfield. He denies your request. You ask several more times, citing the law and FAA
regulations / directives / advisory circulars that an airport sponsor must follow in order to continue to
receive federal assistance. You are still denied your rights, either by being ignored or being told
skydiving creates a safety hazard. In the extreme, an airport sponsor with the right connections may
corrupt an FAA employee into denying or lying about access to the airspace surrounding the airport.
Stage 2: CFR 14 Part 13 "Informal" FAA Complaint. After it becomes obvious the airport sponsor is
never going to voluntarily allow skydiving on the airport, the first step in the legal process to force
compliance is to file a CFR 14 Part 13 "informal" complaint with the local Airports Development Office
(ADO). This is actually a waste of time, but a necessary one on the road to Stage 3.
Stage 3: CFR 14 Part 16 Formal Complaint. After demonstrating you have done everything possible to
gain airport access through the Part 13 process, you can file a "formal" complaint with the FAA in
Washington, DC. This is the equivalent of a civil lawsuit, but with no discovery or trial. Plan on waiting a
year or more for a decision called a Director's Determination. There are four Part 16 precedents
involving skydivers access to federally funded airport, and the skydivers won every time represented by
Richard Durden. Rick is on retainer with Skydive Tandem Greenville, LLC.
Stage 4: FAA Director's Determination and Forced Compliance (Or Not):
When the City of Greenville accepted millions of dollars from the federal government it promised to not unjustly discriminate. It lied. It is then the skydiving community's challenge to convince the government agency responsible for granting funds to terminate any future funding unless the airport sponsor (the City) comes into compliance with its Grant Assurances. The FAA is responsible for enforcing Grant Assurances and the complaint process starts with a 14 CFR Part 13 "informal" complaint to the regional Airports Development Office (ADO). For the Dallas area this is Mr. Ed Agnew at ASW-650.