The Myth of the "no left turn" law
Section 51.2.3(e) of the Torrance Municipal Code (TMC) states: "Aircraft taking off to the west shall not turn left
until they have either reached the ocean or attained an altitude of fifteen hundred (1,500) feet."
Is it enforceable?
City of Torrance says “YES”
- Claims it’s “grandfathered” by Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) of 1990, in spite of the fact that
ANCA deals ONLY with turbine-powered aircraft weighing over 12,500 lbs—does not deal with piston-powered aircraft
- Claim based on verbal comment supposedly made by local FAA employee but the City has no documents supporting its claim
- City paid outside counsel to repeat claim to FAA after 3rd rebuff by FAA, but was rebuffed for fourth time
FAA Chief Counsel has told the City “NO” (4 times)
- Based on FAA’s exclusive authority to regulate aviation in United States (given to FAA by Congress in 1958)
- Based on “Supremacy Clause” (Article VI, Clause 2) of the U. S. Constitution and the Preemption Doctrine based
on that clause--gives Federal laws supremacy over state and local “laws”
- Confirmed by multiple Federal Court rulings (States and municipalities have no authority to regulate aircraft in flight)
- FAA Chief Counsel stated the above facts in three letters and one verbal communication with the City
- FAA says “grandfathering” comment by its employee was likely misunderstood by the City
The General Counsels of five national aviation organizations say "NO"
The counsels for the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, the Helicopter Association International, the National Business Aviation
Association, the General Aviaton Manufacturers Association and the National Air Transportation Association
have written a 70+ page
joint letter to advise the City of its error.
In it, they state:
"To avoid the waste of taxpayer funds in attempting to defend clear violations of the law, the
implementation and enforcement of the actions approved on July 25, 2023, should be held in
abeyance pending verification of legal compliance with the FAA. We request an in-person with
you no later than October 13, 2023, to discuss the legal landscape in greater detail, with the goal
of avoiding preventable legal battles that will require significant financial and staff resources to
litigate law that is already well settled."
to read the the details of the many court rulings that
the City continues to ignore.
Torrance Municipal Code contains many sections that
illegally encroach on FAA’s exclusive authority and therefore are invalid and unenforceable