Sunday, October 28, 2012

OPINION: Trees are not the problem -- Mountain Empire Airport (KMKJ), Marion/Wytheville, Virginia


With the experience of working at an international airport for 10 years, refueling every craft able to use a 6,201-foot runway, I’m writing in protest of claims by the Commission of the Mountain Empire Airports (in Smyth County) that trees belonging to property owners adjacent to Interstate 81 are a safety hazard and must be removed.

The FAA is funding the commission’s efforts to acquire easements from the property owners. I and the majority of property owners are opposed to the plan, and have declined the offers due to the property damage and devaluation of our property. With all due respect to the FAA, they are never in the vicinity to observe the activities that I have for over nine years.

The airport and its base pilots have made the surrounding area a personal playground, putting the lives of interstate drivers and neighboring residents in danger. The only safety hazard is of their own doing.

I have witnessed the use of firearms beside the taxiway and runway.

Pilots perform stunts and loops over Interstate 81 and fly upside down along the runway when there is no air show in progress. Base pilots also buzz residents’ rooftops, activity that has been unchecked for the years I have lived here.

The minimum safe altitude above congested areas is 1,000 feet above or 2,000 feet horizontally from the area. The requirements are in USA (FAR) Federal Aviation Regulations, Part 91.

The trees are not a safety hazard. For as long as the airport has existed so have they.

In closing I ask, with the ongoing reckless flight activity and total disregard for public safety, why would the FAA fund the commission for the safety hazards that the base pilots and airport affiliates are causing?

Christopher P. Fisher
Rural Retreat, Va.


No comments:

Post a Comment