A federal magistrate judge has ordered discovery to go forward in a lawsuit brought by Aaron Holly against Horry County, Horry County Department of Airports (HCDA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Robinson Aviation, the operator of the control tower at Grand Strand Airport.
Holly claims conspiracy among the defendants to deprive him of his Constitutional rights with respect to 14th Amendment protections and for interference with his business, Skydive Myrtle Beach (SDMB), and contractual ties between SDMB and HCDA in order to illegally shutdown SDMB.
A short historical perspective on the relationship between Horry County Department of Airports and Skydive Myrtle Beach follows:
Skydive Myrtle Beach is a tandem skydiving business owned and operated by armed services veterans.
It began operating its business in Horry County in 2012 after signing an eight year lease with Ramp 66, the county’s general aviation operator of Grand Strand Airport at that time.
After Horry County government bought out Ramp 66 in 2013, it appears that concentrated efforts were made by HCDA to close down the operations of Skydive Myrtle Beach.
Tandem skydiving is a recognized and approved use of publicly supported airport facilities by the Federal Aviation Administration.
It is illegal for an airport that accepts publicly funded grants to discriminate against one type of approved aviation activity, say helicopter operations, over another – tandem skydiving.
The only excuse allowed by the FAA for shutting down approved aviation operations is that those operations contribute to an unsafe environment at the airport.