The Greystone Airport dispute is the type of argument made for people who bill by the hour: Who owns what land, who has what type of access, what shape are facilities in, what´s the value of a handshake agreement? You know: Complicated.
For actor John Travolta, though, the situation is simple: The land he purchased in the Jumbolair fly-in community near Ocala years ago came with access to the runway at Greystone - and reports that the runway is unsafe simply are an attempt to pull him into a legal struggle that doesn´t involve him.
Now, after an engineering report he commissioned said the runway was safe for large aircraft, Travolta plans to land his Boeing 707 near his Ocala home this evening, flying in for the first time since February.
"John Travolta will be using the runway," said Michael McDermott, an attorney who, along with Jacksonville-based lawyer Michael Ossi, is representing the actor.
The owner of the private airport says the 7,550-foot runway is at the end of its life span and the actor´s heavy planes would cause the surface to crack.
"They can´t come in here," said Jim Garemore, owner and manager of Greystone Airport. "They would need the FAA to sign off on it, to take the restriction off the aircraft. I say it´s no, and that´s the way I´m going to publicize it."
If Travolta lands, he said, "I´ll call the FAA."
It´s unclear how the Federal Aviation Administration will respond.
No one in the FAA´s Washington office was able to determine if Travolta´s report supersedes the airport owner´s report.
Because Greystone is a private airport, the federal agency doesn´t certify the facility; it does require pilots to fly safely.
The $ 20,000-plus engineer´s report Travolta´s team received last week says it is safe, his attorneys said. "We´ve always believed the runway was more than capable of supporting John´s aircraft," including the 707 and Gulfstream G2, McDermott said.