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Skydiving ordinance approved by council

COVINGTON -- The Covington City Council amended its ordinance regulating airports to include regulations for skydiving.

The amendment was approved at the council's June 3 meeting.

As the airport grows, someone may want to open a skydiving operation, and officials decided to regulate the activity now versus waiting until that happens, said Steve Horton, administrative specialist. Horton said someone has already asked about skydiving at the local airport.

There is a skydiving operation at the Monroe-Walton County Airport and there used to be one at the Covington Municipal Airport, before it was operated by the city, Horton said.

"The reality for needing the ordinance is making sure people that do participate in aviation-permitted activities know what guidelines are here," he said, adding that the ordinance is also designed to promote safety.

Skydiving operations are still subject to established federal regulations. Operators are required to obtain a certificate of authorization from the airport manager. That requires an application and payment of an administrative fee. It also entails giving the date and time of operation, the altitude of the aircraft when parachutists exit, the duration of the operation, the name and contact information of the applicant and the registration number of the plane and pilot, and name and address of the pilot. The applicant is required to show proof of at least $1 million in liability insurance with the city named as an additional insured.

The certificate of authorization permits and regulates skydiving only at Covington Municipal Airport.