Contractor Ronald Tutor has filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court in Boise challenging the weight limit banning some jets from landing at an airport near his vacation home.
Tutor, owner of Tutor-Saliba Corp., Sylmar, Calif., owns a large $50-million-plus Boeing Business Jet that exceeds the 95,000-lb weight restriction at Hailey, Idaho's Friedman Memorial Airport. Tutor also owns a smaller plane but he says the weight rule violates his rights.
Friedman airport manager Rick Baird is going strictly by-the-book. Tutor's heavy jet, Baird insists, can damage the single 6,952-ft asphalt runway. Says Baird: "The issue is simple: Can one person with a lot of money come in and upset the planning of an entire community?"
The Boeing jet's maximum take-off weight is 171,000 lb. Tutor's attorney, Patrick Bailey, claims Tutor's big plane could operate out of Hailey at 115,000 lb, still above the airport limit. He called the limit an "impermissible burden."
Airport attorney Peter Kirsch says Tutor has not exhausted all available channels of administrative relief, such as a remedy from the Federal Aviation Administration. In letters to the airport, the FAA says Hailey's weight restriction does not violate agreements with the agency.
Previously, Tutor threatened to defy Hailey's rule and land his jet. But Baird said he'd shut down the field and charge Tutor for the cost. Because of its location near Ketchum, Idaho, the airport regularly hosts private jets flown for or belonging to celebrities and tycoons with homes in the area. During an annual media industry conference, as many as 60 private jets park at the airport, none heavier than 95,000 lb.