The ongoing dispute between Skydive Myrtle Beach and Horry County Department of Airports has taken interesting twists and turns in recent weeks.
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.
County officials said FAA grant funding was in jeopardy if the Department of Airports didn’t act to shut down the business.
That’s not exactly true. A letter from Michael O’Donnell of the FAA to HCDA director Pat Apone, dated November 13, 2015, states in part, “The FAA also requested Horry County to submit a “corrective action plan incorporating acceptable risk mitigation measures and revised procedures under which safe skydiving operations may resume.”
The county was only supposed to suspend skydiving operations until a mitigation plan was submitted.
And the problem for HCDA gets worse.