Airports, Aerodromes, and Grass Strips

A friend of mine mentioned that it would be cool to have “a million dollars” to have his own airport. I told him that all you need is space to land an airplane and you can do just that, legally.

Without referencing anything, I told him that you are allowed to land on private property as long as you have permission. If you own the land, then there should be no question as to the legal ramifications of landing an airplane on your parcel of land.

The conversation ended there but I decided to look further into things like getting your “airport” listed in the CFS.

Let’s start with the most basic of aerodromes. A grass strip on your farmland. It’s literally just a 3000 foot by 50 foot strip of mowed grass. Just enough to get your 172 airborne and land safely.

Since the winds in Canada are primarily from the west, your strip is orientated in an east/west direction. Runway 27/09.

You own the land. Therefore you have the right to land and take off your aircraft from that grass strip. Your friend asks you if he can use it to, you say “yes”. He is now legally allowed to land on your grass strip.

After a summer of take-offs and landings at your grass strip, your neighbour starts complaining that what you’re doing is illegal.

CAR 602.14(2) states that you are allowed to fly “low” and close to people or property as long as you are conducting a take-off or landing. As long as you’re not buzzing your neighbours house, what you are doing is totally legal.

Yes, your grass strip is technically an “Aerodrome”.

The following year you’ve added a windsock so that you can tell which direction the wind is coming from. You also would like to add your aerodrome to the CFS so that fellow pilots can find information about your grass strip.

Since there is a windsock now, the minimum requirement for registering an aerodrome, you put your request in to the Minister to add your aerodrome to the CFS. CAR 301.03 outlines what minimum requirements are needed before you can register your aerodrome.

Technically, you don’t even need a windsock if you are able to determine the wind direction by means of smoke, or ripples in water.

Your little grass strip is now a registered aerodrome. It will appear in the CFS and on aeronautical charts.

I have noticed a few such aerodromes in the CFS. Particularly New Liskeard (CPX3) aerodrome. This aerodrome interests me because it is close to Cobalt, Ontario. The town my girlfriend grew up. I think it would be cool to visit her family one day by plane.

Anyways. Pretty much anyone can have a registered aerodrome in Canada. If you’d like to run an airport, well thats a different cup of tea.

Registration means it appears in the CFS and is registered with the Government as an aerodrome. The registration of an aerodrome with Transport Canada is handeled by each regional office of TC. The registration form for an aerodrome in Ontario can be found here.

Certification means that it is an airport and compiles with CAR 302. this includes things like having an Airport Operations Manual, application for a certificate, and minimum obligations of the airport operator.

Comments are welcome.

4 Responses

  1. Tom Telford says:

    “After a summer of take-offs and landings at your grass strip, your neighbour starts complaining that what you’re doing is illegal.”
    Hmmm… well as far as TC is concerned you may not be doing anything illegal but the municipality may have something to say about it. Most have in their bylaws something about noise and this is probably where the neighbor can get you. Similarly, you can not charge 1 cent for any services that you provide or you become a business and are then subject to the permitted uses of the zoning of that piece of land.
    You would also need to consider liability. I have a farm and my insurance company is leary about people just walking onto my property let alone dropping airplanes on it. I think the most you’d want to register as is a “private” aerodrome so at least you can control access.
    My two cents.
    Tom.

  2. Blake says:

    Tom,
    You are totally right. I didn’t touch upon items like zoning, municipal by-laws, and insurance.
    If your neighbor complains about noise, rather than the fact that airplanes are landing on your farm.. then you have a different problem.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Once an aerodrome, its now into federal hands and regulations…
    Not municipal, nor provincial anymore…
    Look at the COPA site for information on legal fights about use of land. Even Quebec lost its agricultural zoning.
    Just my $0.02.

  4. rod_sutherland@sympatico.ca says:

    DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY INPUT ON REGISTERING A WATER AERODROME ON MY PROPERTY ON THE WATER