Island air excursions are expected to continue on a new flight path.
An altered flight path negotiated with Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer means an airborne business can remain aloft. Tokajer said complaints should subside regarding low-and-loud flights with the new arrangement.
Lets Fly Air Adventures owner Hans Brown agreed to pilot his light-sport aircraft at a height of at least 1,000 feet and 300 feet seaward of the shoreline except during takeoffs and landings.
“I told him that works,” Tokajer said. “I’m satisfied.”
It’s an about-face for Tokajer, who just a week earlier asked Brown not to fly over Holmes Beach.
With the chief’s approval, Brown resumed shuttling passengers between Kingfish Boat Ramp, 752 Manatee Ave., and Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, in Holmes Beach, although he said recent cold weather put a crimp in his business.
“We never flew illegally,” Brown said. “We never had any moving violations or anything technically wrong with the Federal Aviation Administration. We reached out to the FAA and they didn’t have a problem with our flying.”
The main passenger pickup point will remain at Kingfish Boat Ramp, while Brown said he plans to train student pilots from the Palma Sola Causeway and on the east side of the Anna Maria Island Bridge.
Brown said other media reports of his dangerous flying habits were inaccurate. Brown said he complies with all FAA guidelines regarding flights paths over populated areas, as well as noise levels.
“We have a policy of not flying low over people,” Brown said. “We would never do that because it’s not safe for us or them.”
He could have defied the chief’s no-fly order because city ordinances do not forbid his business practices, but he respected Tokajer’s concerns.
“I’m seeking a win-win for everybody,” Brown said. “We want to operate lawfully where it’s a win-win and works for everybody.”