A bill adding aircraft operations to its definition of non-commercial recreational use has passed in West Virginia. This Recreation Use Statute (RUS) protects landowners from liability for allowing recreation on their lands. The bill, signed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, will take effect May 12.
This makes West Virginia the 25th state in the nation to add aviation to its RUS, according to officials with the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF).
“He was the logical choice, since he grew up on a farm with a private strip. His father was a crop duster. He immediately realized the benefit of amending the West Virginia RUS to include aviation activities,” Newton said.
He and the RAF launched a letter-writing effort to committee members. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) assisted, as did airstrip owners and local pilots.
The bill passed 96-2 in the House and unanimously in the Senate.
“My state of West Virginia has wonderful scenery. There are many private airstrips. Obviously, liability is a big concern for many of the landowners,” Newton said. “With this new layer of liability protection, landowners are more likely to grant permission for the use of these airstrips.”