FAA charges fees for temporary tower at local fly-in.


AVweb has an interesting story about the FAA charging $3,200 for their services when providing a temporary tower for a local fly-in.

Not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, they have been providing these services to many events across the nation for no charge. Are they going to start charging EAA for Oshkosh? Sun n Fun? and the rest? Perhaps this is fair. A local event is putting a financial burden on the system, so perhaps the attendants of the event should pay for the service.

The argument on the other hand probably just jumped out at you in the last sentence! Should pilots pay user fees? Whoa! Is this going to set a precedence that we will have to live with in the future. Once they start charging, where will it end?

We’ve got a good representation of aviation enthusiasts here on FA, many pilots, non-pilots, and even some controllers. What do you think?


It’s a safety issue. The FAA is there to control traffic. If there’s an event that is going to attract a lot of traffic then it needs to be controlled.


Your poll makes it sound like the FAA is charging individual pilots for the service. But they are hitting up the event organizers for the money, which I think seems fair. Your poll should include event organizers should pay :wink:


Having read the article before I saw the poll, I realized the organization was being charged. I still stand by my statement that the service should be provided free. The only difference between an airport that has a permanent tower due to traffic considerations and this case is that this is only temporary.


To clarify, “users” is the user of the service. In the case of an event a “user” would probably be the organizer of the event. They are certainly getting the bill. But the cost will have to get passed on to someone. Perhaps a sponsor, or perhaps $5-10 to the pilots. I don’t know in this case.

The poll is more in regards to user fees in general, which is becoming a very hot topic in the GA community. Should the requestor of a service directly pay for the service? The debate is fueled in a case such as this where the service is provided over and above what is normally provided and budgeted for. This includes temporary towers like this, or additional staffing for a permanent tower at Oshkosh during Airventure.


It seems like it’s part of their obligation to United States air traffic and bizarre to single out this event, which seems to be taking place at a city-owned public use airport. Additionally, you can bet that the actual cost to the FAA is well in excess of $3,200.


AVweb reports that "(t)he FAA has backed off (in record time, it appears) on a proposal to charge a Michigan fly-in $3,200 for a temporary tower. "


EAA got involved. They didn’t really spell it out, but my guess is that EAA was VERY concerned about the precident that would eventually mean charging them for AirVenture. I think that would be significantly more for “the World’s busiest tower” than the $3,200 in this case!

I’m opposed to user fees for GA pilots (I have probably stated elsewhere). But do you think that there is an argument for the FAA charging for special events? I’m sure they have a line item on their budget for this sort of thing, but they also say they are out of money.


Now let’s see, what possible purpose could be served by the FAA saying they’re broke??? /sarcasm

Any government agency foolish enough to always have “enough” money or, God forbid, TOO MUCH money will see their budget chopped in following years.

As to being “broke”:

."The airlines themselves pay less in aviation fuel taxes than all of general aviation combined (Emphasis added!)

Think the FAA might possibly be in bed with commercial aviation?

The only thing “broke” at the FAA are the political appointees running it who are trying to make their corporate masters happy.




The FAA wants to run the ATC system as much like a business as possible and if the current administration gets its way, every GA user will be paying fees to “pay” for the service. The FAA is up to no good and by wanting to charge for temporary towers, they are just shoving it in the face of the smaller airports, communities and users that should be able to have a utilize a service like a temporary tower. As for the “real” cost, we have helped with 3 or 4 temporary towers per year for the last few years and we have a box of “stuff” around here that includes pens, paper, and older transceiver and antenna. We borrow a light gun and binos from our tower. That’s nothing. The real cost are the controllers who usually work the temps by earning some credit time on their day off or just working their normal shift at the tempory facility. They don’t “cost” the FAA anything other than their normal pay and and we’ll get paid the same regardless.