By Paul Gable
Another month is passing and Skydive Myrtle Beach still has no documents from the Federal Aviation Administration with respect to an ongoing Freedom of Information request.
The FOIA seeks documents that were used by Horry County Department of Airports as the excuse needed to stop Skydive Myrtle Beach from operating at the county’s Grand Strand Airport.
In 2014, Skydive Myrtle Beach lodged a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration against Horry County Department of Airports alleging discriminatory actions against Skydive Myrtle Beach by HCDA.
In response, Horry County Department of Airports reported to the Federal Aviation Administration that Skydive Myrtle Beach was the subject of 112 alleged safety violations while conducting business at Grand Strand Airport.
According to Aaron Holly, a principal of Skydive Myrtle Beach, his business had never been notified of any of these violations and still has not received any official paperwork relating to any of them.
In October 2015, the FAA issued a 73 page Director’s Determination Report, in response to Holly’s original complaint, supposedly basing the report on those safety violations. Horry County subsequently used this report as an excuse to shut down Skydive Myrtle Beach operations at Grand Strand Airport.
But nobody can produce documentation of the alleged 112 safety violations.
Horry County claims not to have the documentation even though it was the government agency that ostensibly generated them.
The FAA has failed to produce the documentation even though the agency acknowledged February 2, 2016 was the date to send it out. Since February 2nd, one outrageous excuse after another has been the FAA’s tact.
By now it is safe to conclude that documentation, including complete investigation reports, of the alleged 112 safety violations never did exist. It is also safe to assume that the 112 safety violations themselves never happened.
Skydive Myrtle Beach operated successfully and without incident when Ramp 66 was operating the Grand Strand Airport FBO under contract with the county. After Horry County Department of Airports bought out the remaining years of its contract with Ramp 66 and took over FBO operations itself, it appears the goal was to get rid of Skydive Myrtle Beach.
This is the discrimination Skydive Myrtle Beach alleged to the FAA in 2014.
Rather than investigate something (the discrimination against a valid airport activity under FAA guidelines), it appears the FAA and Horry County Department of Airports joined forces against Skydive Myrtle Beach, a military veteran owned and operated business.