VA, WA close to adding aviation to recreational use statutes

Both Washington and Virginia have passed amendments to their state recreational use statutes (RUS) to include aviation as a recreational activity. Bills have passed both the house and the senate in each state and are being sent to the respective governors for signatures.

Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) Washington State Liaison Bob Kay led the effort in Washington. Rep. Mark Hargrove sponsored the bill in the House while Sen. Joe Fain introduce the bill in the Senate. The RUS amendment adds the words, “aviation activities including, but not limited to, the operation of airplanes, ultra-light airplanes, hanggliders, parachutes, and paragliders,” to the list of other outdoor recreational purposes in the statute.

Meanwhile in Virginia, Director of Aviation for the Commonwealth, Randal Burdette, led the effort and noted, “This is our third try at getting some protection for the Private Owned/Private Use Airstrip landowners and I am very pleased we got it passed.”

Mr. Burdette continued, “We have created the Virginia Airport Owners Association to help represent Virginia’s 211 private owned/private use strips and to improve communications between the airstrips and the communities where they are located.”

These recreational use statutes provide a degree of liability protection to landowners who allow others to use their land for recreation.  Once these bills are signed by their respective governors, the statutes will clearly include aviation as a recreational activity in Washington and Virginia.   When enacted they will bring the number of states with aviation listed in their RUS to fourteen. RAF’s goal is all 50 states.

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