Air and space port de­bates photo pol­icy

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page - By ALLISON GATLIN [email protected]­press.com

Val­ley Press Staff Writer

MO­JAVE — Of­fi­cials at the Mo­jave Air and Space Port are de­bat­ing a pro­posed pol­icy that would gov­ern the abil­ity of peo­ple to take pho­to­graphs or film at the pub­lic fa­cil­ity.

The pol­icy was brought up dur­ing the gov­ern­ing board meet­ing Tues­day as part of an up­date to the ad­min­is­tra­tive code re­gard­ing air­port use.

It states that the air­port district “strictly pro­hibits unau­tho­rized film­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy on air­port prop­erty,” and that such ac­tiv­ity is only al­lowed with a li­cense or spe­cial per­mit.

“It sounds like nobody’s ever go­ing to be able to use a cam­era legally on this air­port,” Direc­tor Bill Deaver said, ask­ing that it be clar­i­fied to qual­ify the restrictio­n to pho­tog­ra­phy or film­ing for com­mer­cial use.

Home to a num­ber of in­no­va­tive aero­space firms, some with sen­si­tive projects, air­port of­fi­cials fre­quently face con­cerns from ten­ants re­gard­ing pub­lic pho­tog­ra­phy of their prod­ucts on the flight­line, Gen­eral Man­ager and CEO Karina Drees said.

Dur­ing the work week, vis­i­tors will leave the pub­lic Voy­ager res­tau­rant by the exit to the flight­line, then take pho­tos of ob­jects of their in­ter­est down the flight­line from the res­tau­rant. Air­port se­cu­rity is tasked to han­dle the is­sue and ask them not to take pic­tures.

“That’s what we’re try­ing to avoid,” she said, adding the pol­icy was in­tended to back up the ten­ants’ re­quest for help.

The is­sue is sep­a­rate from pub­lic events such as the monthly Plane Crazy Satur­day, which is in­tended to al­low vis­i­tors to see and pho­to­graph air­craft dis­played on the flight­line, she said.

Air­port coun­sel Scott Nave said the pol­icy “to a large de­gree” refers to com­mer­cial use. How­ever, the ramp area is prop­erty un­der the air­port’s con­trol, and there­fore air­port of­fi­cials are able to set pol­icy re­gard­ing ac­tions while on it. They can not, how­ever, pro­hibit pho­tog­ra­phy from off the air­port prop­erty, tak­ing pic­tures “through the fence.”

Board mem­bers dis­puted the ex­tent of this au­thor­ity, as the air­port is a pub­lic­use air­port, “the tax­pay­ers’ prop­erty,” as Direc­tor David Evans put it.

“What about tak­ing

apic­ture

through the win­dow of the Voy­ager? We’re run­ning into a com­mon sense prob­lem here,” Deaver said.

Board Pres­i­dent An­drew Parker asked about en­forc­ing the pol­icy. “Are we sup­posed to con­fis­cate cam­eras?” he said.

Scaled Com­pos­ites Pres­i­dent Ben Di­achun, rep­re­sent­ing one of the com­pa­nies that has long har­bored sen­si­tive projects at the air­port, said his firm un­der­stands peo­ple will be out­side and see any­thing they roll out of their hangars.

Their con­cern, how­ever, is pri­mar­ily for the safety of those who stray from the back door of the Voy­ager and venture down the flight­line to get a closer look, and they ap­pre­ci­ate the air­port’s help to en­force that sep­a­ra­tion.

The board agreed to con­sider a re­vised ver­sion of the pol­icy at its next meet­ing.

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