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Council votes to suspend pilot’s airport privileges

The Cairo City Council voted Monday night to suspend an aerobatic stunt pilot’s privileges to use the Cairo Municipal Airport.
The issue was first raised in February by Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas. On Monday night, Douglas renewed his opposition to aerobatic stunt practice going on out of the local airport.
City Manager Chris Addleton has identified the pilot in question as Chris Rudd.
Douglas said that the aerobatic stunt practice is taking place more frequently and Councilman Kermit Gilliard said that when the practice is not taking place on the eastern side of the city it is taking place on the west side.
“I think he left your area and moved to my neighborhood last week,” Gilliard said.
Douglas asked City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman what can be done to ban aerobatic stunt pilots from the Cairo Municipal Airport.
“It is a privilege, not a right, to fly out of our airport. I would be against a ban, but I think you can suspend a pilot especially if safety and noise issues are involved,” Lehman said.
According to Councilman Gilliard, the stunt pilot flies up as high as he can and then dives straight down before pulling out of the dive at the last possible moment.
Gilliard said that residents are not only complaining about the constant noise, but he said they have also expressed safety concerns.
“It’s definitely a noise issue,” Mayor Bobby Burns said Monday night.
Councilman Douglas said the pilot was flying over Cairo Saturday from approximately 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. According to Douglas, the practice has to take place close to the airport because of the need to refuel the plane.
Councilman Bobby Gwaltney asked what was to stop Rudd and other pilots from coming from another airport to do their stunt practicing here and Douglas noted that the pilot has to refuel every half hour or so, which made it necessary to be near an airport or landing strip to conduct such practicing.
Addleton said he would draft a letter suspending Rudd’s airport privileges and would have it reviewed by the city attorney before sending it to him by certified mail.

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