Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pilot who landed plane on I-95 resigns from Maine Warden Service

The Maine Warden Service pilot who managed a daring landing on Interstate 95 in April has resigned. 

According to his Facebook page, pilot Dan Dufault announced Saturday that, after 10 years of service, he is "looking forward to my next ten year adventure."

Officials from the warden service would not comment on Dufault's resignation Tuesday night.

Dufault's resignation comes three months after he was praised for making an emergency landing of a 1968 Cessna T41C on the interstate without incident in Litchfield on April 26.

Warden Service Col. Joel Wilkinson said it was "highly likely" the aircraft ran out of fuel.

A Warden Service spokesman was quick to back away from that, citing the cause as "mechanical failure."

A witness on the ground, Randall Greenleaf, who lives only 600 feet from the former Maine Turnpike service plaza in Litchfield where Dufault brought the Cessna to rest, said he heard the engine cut out in the air.

"I heard the engine quit, and then I heard the sound of the wind over the wings," Greenleaf said. "It was just a 'shhh' sound from the wings as it drifted overhead."

Federal Aviation Agency regulations state that any aircraft operating under visual flight rules, as Dufault was, would have to carry enough fuel to make it to the destination (Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport) plus an additional 30 minutes of reserve.

In his initial report to the FAA, the Aircraft Accident/Incident Preliminary Notice, Dufault stated, "Aircraft conducting survey work, had mechanical issues and landed safely on Interstate 95 North at mile marker 98."

In an updated report following the incident, a Warden Service spokesman said Dufault experienced "some sort of fuel problem."

In documents obtained by the Sun Journal on Monday, the only maintenance performed on the aircraft following the incident was an inspection of the fuel systems ordered by the FAA as part of its inquiry.

That inspection, performed by Gordon W. Pease of Horizon Aircraft Services concluded: "After inspection of the fuel system, no discrepancies were noted and observing the action of the fuel gauges, my finding are that the fuel gauges are accurate."

Further documentation of the FAA investigation through the Freedom of Information Act was denied. "They form part of the decision-making process by which the FAA determines if the case warrants further enforcement action," according to the FAA.

The letter further explains that disclosure could interfere with an enforcement proceeding.

The aircraft involved in the incident, a former Air Force trainer, has been part of the Maine Warden Service fleet since it was acquired from the U.S. Air Force in 2008.

Over the past year of service records, invoices from Horizon Aircraft Services have totaled $51,992 for the aging aircraft.

The Cessna is one of three in the Warden Service's fleet.


A Warden Service plane is parked on a ramp of a former highway rest stop on April 26 along Interstate 95 in Litchfield. 
Photo Courtesy:  Joe Phelan 

A Warden Service plane takes off from Interstate 95 in Litchfield on April 26.
Photo Credit:  Joe Phelan

Warden Service plane takes off from Interstate 95 in Litchfield following an emergency landing. 

Wheeling Ohio County Airport (KHLG) Manager Bids Farewell After 30 Years on the Job

Wednesday is Tom Tominack's last day as manager of the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport after 30 years on the job. 

On Tuesday night, Ohio County Commissioners said good-bye and thank you to Tominack during their meeting.

Tominack said he was emotional about attending this final commission meeting as airport manager, but he is grateful for the support both from the commission and residents of Ohio County.

"The residents of Ohio County are very supportive of our airport. They've actually become proud of the facility, because they come to our events, and I hear their comments. So, I'm just very pleased," said Tominack.

Rusty Escue was named as the interim manager of the airport.   

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Endangered birds nesting at Chautauqua County/Jamestown Airport (KJHW), New York

JAMESTOWN – Passenger planes aren’t the only birds taking off and landing at Chautauqua County Airport in the Town of Ellicott. Local ornithologists have discovered an endangered species nesting there.

Twan Leenders and Jim Berry, the current and former president of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, report that they found Henslow’s Sparrows in three sections of the airport last week and determined that they were successfully raising their young in at least one location.

Connie Adams, senior wildlife biologist for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, reports that this is the only active nest site for Henslow’s Sparrows remaining in Western New York. As recently as 1980, the New York Breeding Bird Atlas reported the sparrow in 30 locations in Chautauqua County.

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute, with help from County Legislator Tom Erlandson and airport manager Sam Arcadipane and his staff, has made arrangements to delay mowing near the birds to allow them to complete their nesting season.

Another rare bird, the Grasshopper Sparrow, designated a Species of Special Concern in New York, also was seen on airport property and has been known to breed there in small numbers. Leenders says that the institute “is coordinating conservation efforts that will hopefully lead to consistently suitable living conditions for a variety of rare grassland species.”


Possible fee increase at Four Corners Regional Airport (KFMN), Farmington, New Mexico

FARMINGTON – City officials say they are continuing their work to improve reliability at Four Corners Regional Airport.

The Farmington City Council will discuss a resolution at this morning’s work session that would raise a handful of fees related to private aircraft operations and improve services. The fees would also generate more money for the city.

“There is the benefit of additional revenue,” said Bob Campbell, assistant city manager.

Campbell did not know the exact revenue increase but said that the additional funds are only an extra benefit.

The resolution is more about continuing to improve the airport’s facilities and services than generating more money for the city, he said.

It calls for an increase in fees for use and rental of shade covers, and it adds new fee categories for large hangars, aircraft passenger airstairs, gate card reactivation, hangar waiting lists and aircraft emergency maintenance personnel call-out.

Many of the new fees are geared toward helping ensure reliable service for the airport’s private, noncommercial pilots, Campbell said.

“A few years ago, the shade hangar renters wanted electricity brought out, too,” he said.

The city hooked up the hangars to electricity but did not impose an additional charge on the renters at the time, Campbell said. Now the city is incorporating that into their fees, he said.

“We’re trying to keep a best practice, good, level playing field,” Campbell said. “The most important is that we have professional operations for the airport. We do the right things for an airport that serves (a city of) 47,000 people.”

Mayor Tommy Roberts echoed many of Campbell’s comments and added that Todd Gressick, airport manager, and city staff are continually looking for ways to improve service.

Efforts to negotiate additional service contracts with airlines other than Great Lakes, Farmington’s only commercial air service provider, have yielded no results.

Although Gressick continues to attempt to recruit airlines to serve Farmington, Roberts said the city is focused on improving the services it offers now.

“We’re working with Great Lakes to provide certainty to our travelers, to take off and land as scheduled,” he said.

“I think we’re open to discussion of ideas of how to expand our commercial air service, but it’s a hard game to play in and small, rural communities like Farmington are at a disadvantage.” 


Texas company reproduces legendary WWII fighter plane

 Credit: Josh Stephen / WFAA
 Authentic replicas of the legendary Spitfire British fighter plane are being manufactured in kit form at a small factory in Cisco, Texas. 


CISCO, Texas — One of the most iconic and deadly fighter planes of World World II has come back to life in rural Texas.

First built in the late 1930s by the British, the Spitfire played a pivotal role in turning back the Germans in the Battle of Britain.

Now — in 2013 — there’s a Spitfire replica rolling out of a small factory in Cisco, Texas.
This is an aircraft that's fast, nimble and easy to fly.

It's like a Porsche in the sky, said Mike O'Sullivan, whose company, Supermarine Aircraft, makes the planes in this tiny town.

"When you're in a Spitfire, you think the direction you want to go and it will go that way," he said.

From a young age, O'Sullivan, an Australian, listened to stories about the legend of the Spitfires told by the men in his home town.

"I grew up in the Outback, where nearly everyone went to war,” he said.

Eventually, the magic of Spitfire compelled him to spend $8 million and seven years designing a replica. He moved his business to Texas in 2008.

"I'm not trying to brag, but I do seem to have the magic ability to just put it together,” O’Sullivan said.

In terms of vintage Spitfires, O'Sullivan said there are still about 40 airworthy planes out there, and that one recently sold for $4.5 million.

His new Spitfires are all crafted by hand. He sells them boxed up, as a kit, for $175,000. Buyers around the world assemble them on their own, and they often draw a crowd wherever they fly.

"I've had people take their own plane out of a hangar to put the Spitfire in to say they had a Spitfire in there overnight, and you've got to come over and stay with me," O'Sullivan said. "I mean, how good is that?"

That's what you get for lovingly and carefully reviving a legend of the sky.

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La Crosse Municipal Airport (KLSE) set to become Regional Airport

The La Crosse Municipal Airport is set to become the La Crosse Regional Airport.

That name change was approved by the Judiciary and Administration Committee Tuesday night.

La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat says, "the airport is a vital element to our overall economic development here in the city and our economic base. Working with the airport team to continue to upgrade and improve that customer experience is very important to make sure our airport is top notch."

The change emphasizes that the airport serves a wider market than just the city.

Meanwhile, improvements and upgrades continue at the airport.

The committee also approved installing higher security fences surrounding the airport.

The new 10-foot high fences will comply with federal security regulations.

Currently parts of the fence are only 6 feet tall.

 The fence should be installed by September.

The name change needs approval from the full city council.

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El Dorado Economic Development Board Approves Funds for Airport Hangar Project: South Arkansas Regional at Goodwin Field (KELD), Arkansas

EL DORADO, AR - The city's Economic Development Board has approved funds for an airport hangar project.

On Tuesday, the board heard proposals from the Airport Commission, one concerning a video sign for Industrial Park sign, and a proposal from a local business owner.

The Airport Commission presented a hangar project to take place at Goodwin Field for the board to consider.

They asked the board for $850,000 from the board, which was granted.

This project has been in the works for a year and once completed is expected to cost $1.8 million.

The other proposals brought before the board, including construction on a boat factory, were put on hold until the August 14 meeting.


Galaxy Aviation to add hangar at Palm Beach International Airport

Lannis Waters 
Governor Rick Scott and County Commissioner Steven Abrams carry shovels to a groundbreaking ceremony at PBIA for a new Galaxy Aviation facility Wednesday morning, July 31, 2013.

WEST PALM BEACH —  Seeing strong demand for parking spots for private jets, Galaxy Aviation will build a $10 million hangar at Palm Beach International Airport.

Gov. Rick Scott visited the airport this morning for a groundbreaking. The 65,000-square-foot hangar will have space for 15 to 20 private jets, and the companies that lease space there will employ about 50 workers, Scott said.

Galaxy Aviation, which sells fuel and maintains jets, leases more than a million square feet of land along the south edge of the airport. Business is booming, said Jonathan Miller, general manager at Galaxy Aviation.

“We’re over capacity right now,” Miller said.

Unlike the metal hangars common at the airport, the new hangar will be built of concrete. Galaxy Aviation touts the sturdy building as more hurricane-proof than other hangars.

The expansion reflects a bustling business for private jets at Palm Beach International Airport. Miller said it’s the nation’s second-busiest airport for private planes.

“You’re talking about a major general aviation market here,” Miller said. “People don’t realize it.”

The new hangar, scheduled to be completed next year, will include 15 office suites. TD Bank is providing construction financing of $6.8 million.

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Face of Nampa: Sue and John Paul -- Founders of the Warhawk Air Museum give history a home

Laurie Pearman

by Deanna Darr 

Sue and John Paul never intended to build a museum, but build one they did. What started as a personal hobby in a small airport hangar has become a 38,000-square-foot tribute to aviation and military history, and a place where the past is given a face.

"The preservation of so many personal histories, so many sacrifices, so many dedicated people to our country--men, women and children--that's the heart of this place," said Sue Paul.

While the showpieces of the museum are rare military planes, like the two Curtiss P-40s or the P-51 C Mustang, people are at its core. The personal artifacts--from letters to uniforms to keepsakes--donated to the museum offer a window into the lives of ordinary Americans during times of war.

The Pauls moved to the Treasure Valley in 1986 with their son J.C.--who helps run the museum--and two WWII era planes. John started restoring a third in a hangar at the Caldwell Airport, and people began showing up to check out the planes. Soon, boxes filled with WWII uniforms or equipment with notes attached were being left at the hangar.

The Warhawk Air Museum was born in 1989, primarily as a place to preserve aviation history. But since then, it has evolved to include all branches of the military with displays from WWII to the Cold War.

By 2000, the museum had outgrown its hangar, and the couple moved the collection to Nampa, where they were able to add an educational center dedicated to passing on stories to younger generations.

"That's what makes this museum so special," Sue said, sharing how an official at the Smithsonian Institute told her the Warhawk was one of the most unique museums he had ever seen because it was more about the people than the events. "It's so personal," she said. "Everything has a story."

Those stories are shared with the 2,000-3,000 school kids who tour the museum each year to take advantage of programs designed to give history a new meaning for children. The museum also teamed with the Library of Congress to serve as an interview site for the Veterans History Project, which collects the personal stories of veterans and civilians during war. So far, 750 interviews have been recorded at the Nampa museum (: ): and shared with both the families and the federal archives.

For the Pauls, each donation is another chance to preserve history in a very personal way.

"What is so profound for me, and most people--the collections that the veteran or the veteran's family has put in a box and saved with such love and to bring it here and to open it up, it's like a flower opening up. It's the wedding picture, the baby picture, the picture of the vet when he left the military--it's the story," Sue said.

"This place has a life of its own," she added. "It's going where it needs to go and we just hang on."

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Biplane flies low over apartment complex on W. Baltimore Street - Hagerstown, Maryland

A biplane circled low and banked over a Hagerstown Housing Authority apartment complex at 55 W. Baltimore St. at around noon Wednesday.
 (Kevin G. Gilbert / Staff Photographer / July 31, 2013)

A biplane circled low and banked over a Hagerstown Housing Authority apartment complex at 55 W. Baltimore St. at around noon Wednesday.

The biplane did not take off from Hagerstown Regional Airport and, as of about 2:10 p.m., did not land there, according to David Pence, air-traffic manager for Midwest ATC at the airport’s control tower.

The plane could have taken off from a private airstrip or one of the public airports in the Tri-State area, Pence said.

The aircraft was flying low enough over the C. Williams Brooks building that markings such as its trim colors could be seen with the naked eye.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit planes from flying below 500 feet over populated areas, Pence said. 

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Cessna 150 donated to B.C. Rain's aviation academy

Steve Boykin, left, supervisor of agriculture and technical education for the Mobile County school system, is shown with Kyle Cook, director of Gulf Coast operations at Alabama Aviation Center. Cook helped arrange for the Cessna's donation from Enterprise State Community College.

MOBILE, Alabama – Aviation students, your Cessna has landed.

Mobile County school system students who enroll in aviation courses at B.C. Rain High School’s Aviation and Aerospace Academy will be able to assemble and repair the parts of a Cessna 150, which was donated by Enterprise State Community College.

The small four-seater is almost completely disassembled, which will make it easier for students to learn about how the parts go together, said Kyle Cook, director of Gulf Coast operations at Alabama Aviation Center.

The tricycle gear plane, which was likely built from the late 1950’s to the late 1970’s, will be temporarily housed at Bryant Career Technical Center in Irvington while construction is completed on B.C. Rain’s new Aerospace Training Facility. It is scheduled to open this fall.

Enterprise State Community College has been a partner in establishing the academy and the academy will use Enterprise State’s curriculum, according to a media release from the school system.

Courses will include theory of flight, sheet metal repair, electrical currents and hydraulics.

Among other skills, students will learn to repair the Cessna’s rivets and will cut holes in the sheet metal, then patch them, said Steve Boykin, supervisor of agriculture and technical education for the Mobile County school system.

Students will also be able to connect the flight control cables to the yokes – the plane’s version of steering wheels – and to the rudder pedals, which turn the plane, Cook said.

The school system has contracted with Enterprise State and Bishop State Community College to set up a dual enrollment program at the Aerospace Training Facility, through which students may earn college credit and higher credentials while still in high school.

Bryant Career Tech’s program is probably one of the nation’s first to offer aviation courses to high school students, “and we’re very proud of that,” Boykin said. 

He was also quick to give credit to Larry Mouton, executive director of career and technical education for the Mobile County school system. “He has really been aggressive at getting things going” with the aviation curriculum, Boykin said. 

The plane came from Enterprise State Community College’s Ozark campus, Cook said, after one of the instructors discovered it was available and arranged for the donation.

The plane does not have an engine or an instrument panel. The school system is hopeful that someone will donate those and other airplane components to the aviation academy. If you have parts to donate, call Boykin at 251-610-2596.

The $1.6 million, 15,500-square foot Aerospace Training Facility at B.C. Rain will feature a main shop area, training rooms with Smartboards, a large mezzanine storage area and an overhead monorail crane.

There are still limited slots still available for enrollment in the aviation academy. Rising sophomores from anywhere in Mobile County who have at least a 2.0 grade point average are eligible. 

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Teen Charged After Vandalizing Military Plane at Florissant Park

Alexander Wright
Wright’s bail was set at $40,000....  faces four felony counts in connection with the gasoline bombing of a 1950s era fighter jet at Eagan Park in Florissant.  If convicted on all four counts, he faces up to 22 years in prison. 

Plane at Florissant Valley Park

FLORISSANT • An 18-year-old has been charged with four felonies after police say he tried to set a decommissioned fighter jet on fire with Molotov cocktails last year. 

St. Louis County prosecutors charged Alexander Wright of the 1400 block of St. Anthony Lane on July 15 with two counts of knowingly burning or exploding and two counts of unlawful possession of certain weapons. Wright's bail has been set at $40,000.
Police say Wright admitted to making and throwing Molotov cocktails at the airplane on display in Florissant Valley Park on May 19 and May 20, 2012, according to court documents.

"He had nothing better to do and decided to cause some trouble for some people," said Florissant Officer Andy Haarmann

Molotov cocktails are mixtures of explosive substances, such as gas, inside glass bottles with sources of ignition such as a burning cloth wick usually stuffed into the bottle's stopper.

The explosions scorched some of the paint on the plane and graffiti covered one side of the aircraft, but Haarmann said the city's Parks and Recreation department worked with several volunteers from Boeing to restore the display.

The plane is an F-101 "Voodoo" and was built in 1958 at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, now Boeing, according to an information display near the aircraft.

It entered The Air Force in March 1960 and was assigned to the Air Defense Command's 52nd Fighter Group Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in Suffolk County Air Force Base in New York.

From July 1963 through September 1969, the 4755th Air Defense Group used it before it was assigned to the Air Defense Weapons Center in Tyndall, Fla.

Then for most of the 1970s the aircraft was stationed with the Texas Air Guard 11th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas. It was retired from service due to wing root corrosion in January 1979.

From September 1991 through August 2004, the Air Force donated the aircraft to the city of Victoria in Texcas to be restored an placed on display at the Victoria Regional Airport.

The Air Force then donated it to the city of Florissant in 2004, where it has remained on display as a memorial to honor veterans from the north St. Louis County area.


Jet supporters to the Navy: “Bring the noise!”

It is an island divided. Complaints over loud navy jets recently shut down a landing strip on the south end of Whidbey Island. Now, neighbors to the north are saying, “Bring the noise!”

At the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the whir of the office printer is drowned out by a roar from above.

“I love it!” said Chamber Director Kathy Reed over the din of an overhead plane on Wednesday.

A movement is taking flight in the navy town to keep fighters prowling and growling in the skies. The chamber is launching a propaganda campaign, saying “jets equal jobs.”

“Everybody says that’s the sound of freedom. Well, that’s the sound of our economic base,” said Reed.

Neighbors about 15 miles down the road complain noise from training missions at a Coupeville landing strip called an “outlying field”, or OLF, makes them miserable, with decibel levels soaring into the danger zone. A recent federal lawsuit caused the Navy to suspend operations at the OLF through the end of the year.

That prompted folks like Wendy Shingleton to stand up in defense of the Navy. She printed bumper stickers that boast “I Love Jet Noise” and t-shirts that proclaim “Jet Noise Is An Aphrodisiac.” She got calls from six states and sold out almost immediately.

“It was overwhelming. The best thing is it really has brought people here closer together,” she said from her clothing and gift store “Squadron Spirit.”

The island, however, remains split into two camps that see the jets as either a job generator, with 68 percent of employment in the county tied to the base, or a nuisance that pollutes the air with noise and exhaust.

Kathy Reed says she plans to take her campaign across the county, letting the Navy know loud and clear that many here never want the noise silenced. “That’s what makes Whidbey Island Whidbey Island.”

A rally in support of the OLF is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, August 3, at the corner of Highway 20 and Pioneer in downtown Oak Harbor.

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Trenton-Mercer Airport (KTTN) will remain open for use by smaller jets during renovations

EWING — While Frontier Airlines will not be flying in and out of Trenton-Mercer Airport during a two-month period of renovations this fall, smaller jets will still use the airport, county officials said yesterday.

From early September to early November the terminal, some of the parking lots and part of the main runway are scheduled to be under construction, as the county renovates to accommodate the increased demand it has seen since Frontier began flying out of the airport last year.

The county will spend $4.2 million to add a new parking area, upgrade the terminal and make runway safety improvements.

Frontier will not use the airport during the upgrades because the main runway will be partially closed, said Wolcott Blair, general manager of Ronson Aviation, which handles maintenance of many planes at the airport. The airline might have been able to use the airport for shorter trips during the closure, but weather could have caused many delays when combined with the effects of the renovation projects, Blair said.

However, most of Trenton-Mercer’s other air traffic, mainly corporate jets, will still be able to operate, he said.

Frontier began flying out of Trenton-Mercer in November and by April was offering trips to 10 different destinations from the Ewing airport.

During the two-month construction period, crews will install EMAS, a strip of specially designed crushable concrete blocks at the end of the the airport’s longer, 6,006-foot runway. The blocks are designed to slow and stop planes that overrun the runway. EMAS beds were installed at both ends of the airport’s shorter runway last year.

Mercer County officials said the airport must install the EMAS system to comply with FAA regulations on runway safety. The project has been planned for several years and is required to be completed by the end of 2013.

Daniel Shurz, a Frontier senior vice president, has previously said the airline asked county officials to move the project’s construction and installation schedule to the fall because it is the “lowest-demand period of the year,” and the airline would be able to weather the drop in ticket sales.

Frontier will resume flying out of the airport in early November, and is selling tickets for flights beginning Nov. 8.

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Airport expansion holdout says county 'stealing' family land: Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County (KSTS), Santa Rosa, California

For almost 30 years, Barbara “Penny” Napoli has lived on six acres near the Sonoma County Airport where she's tended Arabian horses, raised swans and geese and enjoyed a country lifestyle, despite the noisy airplanes landing and taking off.

But because of a runway extension project, the county is wielding the power of eminent domain to buy the property, not only against the 73-year-old woman's wishes, but at a price her family says is a fraction of its worth.

“I feel like they're stealing it,” said her daughter Rebecca Ritter, who notes that the property was assessed by the County Assessor's office at $475,000 until last year, yet the county is offering to pay $135,000 for it.

“We've been paying taxes based on that,” said Ritter. “I find out it means nothing if the government comes to the door. They don't take that into consideration.”

The county has sued Ritter and her family trust that owns the Sanders Road property to compel them to sell.

A trial is set to start Friday in Sonoma County court with possible jury selection next week. The debate is not whether the government can force the family to sell, because the law allows it.

At issue is the fair market value of the land. That seemingly straightforward question already has helped to fill a foot-thick court file since the lawsuit was instigated a year ago.

“It is a complex case,” Airport Manager Jon Stout acknowledged Tuesday.

Stout noted that eminent domain is typically used by the county to take small pieces of property for road projects.

He said as part of the airport project, the county used eminent domain to purchase two neighboring parcels on Sanders Road totaling 15 acres, owned by another trust. But he said there was a negotiated settlement for the purchase.

The court proceedings are not halting the $53.8 million runway extension and safety upgrade construction project set to begin in August.

Judge Elliot Daum earlier granted the county's motion for immediate possession of the southern half of Ritter and her family's six acres so that work can begin.

In the meantime, the county last month served Napoli, the sole remaining resident, with a 90-day notice to vacate the property by late September.

And they have agreed to pay her $279,000 for “relocation” expenses, essentially to move and find a new place to live.

Stout said that the county is paying the relocation under requirements that ensure dislocated residents can move into something “decent, safe and sanitary.”

But Ritter, the main trustee along with her siblings who own the property in the name of their late father's Al Ravani Trust, said the county is obligated to pay for Napoli's relocation. She said that's because Napoli, her mother, is a “life estate holder” entitled to live out her years there.

Ritter claims that the fair market value of the property is $1.5 million, slightly above the $1.3 million her own appraiser came up with.

But the county-hired appraiser said the property is worth $120,000, then adjusted it to $135,000. That low appraisal is because the county claims Napoli lives essentially in an illegal house.

“There's no permitted structure for habitation,” said Airport Manager Stout, who added the soil also doesn't pass septic percolation tests, meaning no new home could be built.

The disagreement over the legality of the 600-square-foot structure Napoli lives in stems from a fire there a dozen years ago. The county claims when it was rebuilt, it was for a horse tack room, specifically not for human habitation.

But Ritter said there is a precedent for a septic system because of a 1960s redwood septic box on the property. And she said the county never raised the issue until it wanted the property for the airport project.

“Wouldn't we have been red-tagged if we had something illegal?” she said.

The county's intent is to get rid of all the structures, including a garage, trailer, tiny studio, aviary, chicken coops and sheds, leaving only the land.

But therein lies another dispute, stemming from the endangered plants on the property, including the rare Sonoma Sunshine flower.

Ritter says the land would be valuable as a wetlands mitigation bank and for establishing vernal pools that the rare plants grow in.

Developers are required to buy into such banks to offset the environmental impacts of their projects.

But the county argues that there are too many hurdles for establishing such wetlands close to the airport because they also attract concentrations of birds, which can be a hazard to aviation.

“It is practically impossible to support defendant's claim that the subject property that is in condemnation would be permitted for wetland mitigation,” the county attorneys argued in court papers.

Airport manager Stout acknowledged Tuesday that there were some wetland projects previously developed on the airport property to produce income for the county. But he said those wetlands could not have been approved now under current Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.

The county further argues that under the conditions for accepting the $53.8 million FAA grant — which covers 90 percent of the cost of the runway work — the county is supposed to avoid creating airport hazards such as wetlands, which attract wildlife and birds.

But Ritter says there are ways to create shallow vernal pools that reduce concentrations of birds.

At first, Ritter and her family tried to prevent the taking of their land, but decided it was futile.

“To fight a county entity to keep your property — even if you have grounds — it's impossible,” she said.

Now she is more concerned with how they will pay for a new horse-friendly property for her mom, who suffers from anxiety and depression.

“I want her to have peaceful last years of her life and I don't have to worry about her. And she has something serene when she looks out of her window,” Ritter said.

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Penn Yan Airport (KPEO) receives $1M runway grant

PENN YAN—The Penn Yan Airport was awarded $1,046,328 in federal funding to improve runway infrastructure.

The funding, announced Wednesday, July 24, is allocated through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program. The federal funding for Penn Yan Airport will be used to repave runway 119 by milling and overlaying the current infrastructure.

Airport Manager Rich Leppart said no date has been set for the work. He explained runway 119 (two lanes going north to south and south to north) totals 5,500 feet.

“The money will go toward repaving runway number 119,” said H. Taylor Fitch, chairman of the Yates County Legislature. “We’re very happy to receive the grant, it’s always nice to receive federal funds to help the economy.”

“This Department of Transportation grant will ensure that Penn Yan Airport can continue to safely serve residents, businesses and visitors to the area for years to come,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). “Improving runways is essential for the success of the airport, the safety of area-travelers, and the growth of the greater Finger-Lakes region.”

“This is an important investment for Penn Yan Airport and the Finger Lakes region,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said. “Improving the airport’s runway can help provide better, safer service for travelers and business, and help strengthen the local economy.”


St. Clair Regional Airport (K39) Hangar Auction Sells Old Items

Fours were wild earlier this month as an auction conducted at the St. Clair Regional Airport that helped clear out the city’s maintenance hangar at the facility brought in $4,444.

City Administrator Rick Childers told The Missourian that the auction went smoothly and that “everything sold.” Items included old mowers and other items that mostly were used to maintain the grounds.

Proceeds were deposited in the St. Clair Regional Airport account at Heartland Bank.

M.R. Clark Auction & Appraisal conducted the auction for the city and charged a flat $500 fee. With the fee subtracted, the proceeds to totaled $3,944.

The auction took place several months after the city opened the separate airport account on the advice of the Missouri Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration and placed money in that account to pay for 2010, 2011 and 2012 storage fees to keep the items in the maintenance hangar.

A July 3 letter sent to MoDOT Administer of Aviation Amy Ludwig from Steven Broadbent of Executive Financial Services in St. Clair stated that $11,700 was received from the city for the storage fee payments and deposited in the Heartland account.

In February, the St. Clair Board of Aldermen approved the payment from the city’s general fund to compensate for use of the maintenance hangar at the airport.

The city has used the maintenance hangar at the St. Clair Regional Airport for years to store equipment. Besides the mowers, Childers said that a 4- by 4-foot pallet which stored two wastewater pumps was inside the hangar.

“This situation was referred to MoDOT Aviation, and MoDOT Aviation suggests that the city remove the items and pay to the airport fund — that would be the city paying to the airport owned by the city — money to compensate the airport owned by the city for storing things that belong to the city in the airport owned by the city,” Childers said in February.

Childers said the “magic number” amount of $11,700 was determined through a $325 per month rent payment for three years.

The city administrator added that the only “real-world impact” the transaction had is it will be less money the city has to spend later to subsidize the airport.

The two pumps were not sold at the July 9 auction. The mowing equipment included a brush hog, garden tractors, a trailer and some push mowers.

The maintenance hangar and the city’s use of it for storage previously was discussed in late 2010 when the city decided that if the hangar ever was rented to an outside party, the fee would be $325 per month.

In December of that year, the aldermen approved an ordinance establishing the $325 per month rate. At the time, however, City Attorney Kurt Voss said that even if there is an ordinance establishing the rental rate, it would be up to the city on whether it wants to rent the facility or not.

“You don’t have to rent it if you decide you want to use it,” he said, adding that because the city owns the building it serves as the landlord.

Officials decided at that time that the city would continue to use the hangar to store its own equipment.

The city is seeking to close the airport on the north side of town between Interstate 44 and Highway 47 and replace it with retail development. Permission is needed from the FAA because the city obtained federal grants to make improvements to the facility.

Officials continue to wait for word from the FAA on the closure request. Correspondence has gone back and forth between the city and the FAA as well as MoDOT.


Federal Aviation Administration no longer letting foreign airlines land alongside another plane at San Francisco International Airport (KSFO), California

U.S. aviation officials are no longer allowing foreign airlines to land alongside another plane when touching down at San Francisco International Airport in the wake of the deadly Asiana Airlines crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement Tuesday it implemented the change "to minimize distractions during a critical phase of flight."

In the past, two planes could approach SFO's main parallel runways at the same time in clear weather. Domestic carriers can still do that, but air traffic controllers are now staggering the arrivals of foreign carriers.

The shift away from side-by-side landing came Sunday, on the same day the FAA started advising foreign airlines to use a GPS system instead of visual reckonings when landing at SFO. The agency said it had noticed an increase in aborted landings by some foreign carriers flying visual approaches.

Pilots on Asiana Airlines Flight 214 had been cleared to make a visual approach when the plane crash-landed July 6. Three Chinese teenagers died, and 180 people were injured among the 307 aboard.

The plane from China and South Korea came in too low and too slow, slamming its landing gear into a seawall well before the actual runway.

Seconds before the accident, the pilots called for a go-around, meaning they wanted to abort the landing and circle for another approach. The FAA said such maneuvers are "routine, standardized procedures that can occur once a day or more at busy airports for various reasons."

Two weeks after the crash, another Asiana flight aborted its landing, San Francisco airport officials said. In addition, they said a Taiwanese EVA Air flight approached too low last week, then aborted and began another approach.

The FAA said it hasn't seen any significant delays as a result of the move away from side-by-side approaches.


L.F. Wade International Airport sees 20,000 passengers over Cup Match week

While many will be heading to St George’s for the cricket, the Cup Match holiday also sparks a mini-exodus from the island.

Thousands will take advantage of the four-day holiday to travel to the UK and the US for a short break.

Wednesday’s BA flight from LF Wade International to Gatwick is a sell out, with hundreds heading to England. Most of the departing flights bound for US gateway cities on Thursday including Miami, Boston and New York are either sold out or nearly full.

But there are still seats left on the international flights bound for Bermuda. Airport manager, Aaron Adderley, told the Bermuda Sun that Cup Match was the busiest travel period of the year: “We can expect 15,000 to 20,000 passengers collectively arriving at and departing from LF Wade International over the Cup Match holiday week.

“This by far surpasses the passenger totals that we would see over the Memorial Day or 4th of July holiday weekends and during Christmas week for example. Much of this obviously has to do with the fact that we have the combination of seeing thousands of visitors coming in, and a considerable number of residents going out.”

British Airways confirmed that all flights leaving Bermuda this week are full. A spokesperson added: “The Cup Match period is always busy for British Airways.

Flights this week to London are extremely full with many residents and their families taking the opportunity to travel over the long holiday period.

“At the same time there are many Bermudians and local residents who wish to fly back to the island for the much anticipated festivities so flights arriving inbound from London are also very busy.”

Meanwhile, travel agents have also been dealing with a flood of holiday requests from islanders in the last few weeks.

Gary Kent-Smith from Worldview Travel told the Sun: “I would say there is more of an exodus of people from Bermuda than an influx of visitors over Cup Match. That really started in the late 1960’s when Saturday became a public holiday and people could take advantage of having four days off work.

“There are a lot of residents trying to get out of here on Thursday bound for places like Miami, New York and Boston.

“And I would say that the average American tourist would not travel to Bermuda over Cup Match because many places are closed unless they have some kind of ties with the island.”


EADS Reshapes Itself as Airbus Group: Primary Aim of Revamp Is to Reduce Vulnerability in Defense Division

Updated July 31, 2013, 5:43 a.m. ET


The Wall Street Journal

LONDON—European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. on Wednesday set out a radical revamp of its activities, bringing its defense and space operations under one roof and renaming the company Airbus Group in a bid to streamline the company's structure, improve profitability and sharpen its corporate image.

The move is primarily aimed at reducing vulnerability in its defense division as governments world-wide rein in military spending, and after the failed merger with the U.K.'s defense company BAE Systems  last year.

"We have talked about a 'one-stop' defense and space shop' and renaming the company since the creation of EADS," CEO Tom Enders said. "Now is the time to rebrand the entire group."

Airbus Group will consist of three divisions: Airbus, comprising all commercial operations; defense and space, which combines the company's Cassidian defense division with aerospace unit Astrium; and helicopters.

Mr. Enders declined to address potential cost savings or job losses that the shake-up might entail. The defense and space division, which will be based in Munich, will have around 45,000 employees and an annual revenue of about €14 billion.

The rejig came as EADS reported higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings—before interest, tax and special charges—of €887 million ($1.18 billion), up 23% from a year earlier. Net profit was €518 million, up 14%. EADS books all costs for its aircraft programs in the year they occur, rather than spreading them across the length of the program, as Boeing Co. does. As a result, EADS frequently faces large one-time charges. EADS reported a €136 million one-off charge for the first half, which included €28 million in expected costs related to the repair of an A380 wing part, and €108 million for fluctuation in the dollar exchange rate.

Like U.S. rival Boeing, which reported a 13% rise in profit last week, Airbus is benefiting from global demand for fuel-efficient jets like its new long-haul wide-bodied A350 airliner, A380 super jumbo and its narrow-bodied A330, first produced in 1992.

EADS said its order book more than tripled to €96.6 billion on the back of its commercial business, but that orders in its defense and space business slowed compared with last year. Airbus deliveries in the first half amounted to 295 aircraft, up from 279 in the year-earlier period.

Airbus accounted for the lion's share, or €9.74 billion, of EADS's total revenue of €13.95 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of €13.76 billion.

EADS confirmed its guidance for the full year of moderate revenue growth and earnings before interest, tax and one-offs of €3.5 billion.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Learjet 25, Starwood Management LLC, N345MC: Accident occurred December 09, 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico

NTSB Identification: DCA13RA025
Accident occurred Sunday, December 09, 2012 in Monterrey, Mexico
Aircraft: LEARJET INC 25, registration: N345MC
Injuries: 7 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On December 9, 2012, at 0333 Central Standard Time, a Learjet 25, N345MC, crashed in mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 5,600 feet above mean sea level approximately 70 miles south of Monterrey, Mexico. The flight departed General Mariano Escobedo International Airport (MMMY), Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico at 0319 and was enroute to Lic. Adolfo Lopez Mateo International Airport (MMTO), Toluca, Estado de Mexico, Mexico. The two crew members and five passengers on board were fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed.

The Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil of Mexico (DGAC) is investigating the accident. The NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative under the provisions of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 as the State of Manufacture and Registry of the aircraft.

Inquiries regarding this incident should be directed to:

Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil
Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes
Providencia No. 807 — 6° piso
Colonia del Valle
Codigo Postal 03100
México, D.F.

MEXICO CITY – Municipal authorities want to make a tourist attraction of the site in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon where singer Jenni Rivera’s plane crashed last December, killing the star and six other people.

More than 50 men began working Monday to improve the narrow road a scant 50 centimeters (2 feet) wide that leads to the place where the airplane crashed in which the Mexican-American artist was traveling, Iturbide municipal secretary Cesar Romeo Carreon told Efe.

The “diva of the band” died Dec. 9 together with six other people when the private aircraft in which they were flying to the central Mexican city of Toluca crashed into a mountain in the Iturbide municipality.

Today at the place where Rivera’s remains were found stands an improvised altar dedicated to the songstress that is frequently visited by her fans.

“What we want is that people who would like to come here will be able do so either walking or on an all-terrain vehicle,” Carreon said, adding that the project has the support of the landowner, Rosendo Rodriguez.

He said “we still don’t know how much time it will take to finish the road,” since it will depend on the help received from the Nuevo Leon government to complete the project.

He also said that once the work is done, visitors will be able to make a “voluntary contribution” for the upkeep of the place.


Commissioners approve funds to design airport tower: Somerset County (2G9), Pennsylvania

SOMERSET COUNTY—  The Somerset County commissioners approved a $3,800 supplemental engineering and design agreement with L.R. Kimball of Ebensburg Tuesday for a 40-foot automated weather observation system tower as part of the airport’s rehabilitation project.

The airport has a tower, but it does not comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations and must be replaced, said Somerset County Airport Manager Dave Wright. The county has been working on the project for 18 months, he said.
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In 2012 the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and FAA released hundreds of thousands of dollars to update the airport master plan and rehabilitate navigational aids. The county will be responsible for about $7,400 for both.

“I always look at best ways to use the money and to save the money while using it for the best of our needs,” Wright said. “Originally, when the grant was written, we didn’t include replacement of our existing AWOS tower” because it was functional and adhered to federal regulations at the time.

The FAA came back with new regulations and found that the airport’s tower was too low relative to the height of the terminal building, he said.

“When the wind hits the top of the building they were concerned it could give off false indications for direction and strength of wind, a crucial piece of decision-making information for pilots,” Wright said.

The grant money also will be used to replace the airport’s beacon tower with a more efficient lighting unit.

With the commissioner’s decision the project will be put out to bid within a month or so, he said.

“I’d not expect the work to start this year,” he said.


Recent plane crashes involved experimental planes

 SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In the past month, there have been four separate emergency plane landings or crashes in Michiana. Two of those incidents, including the fatal crash Monday in Starke County, involved experimental or homemade planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration has less stringent regulations for experimental planes, but only licensed pilots can fly them.

"Once you get in the plane and you're by yourself and you're ready to wind it up, there's something that's hard to describe," said Bob Baird, pilot and plane builder.

For Baird, the thrill of building a plane and then flying it is exhilarating

"There you are after a year or two of building this thing and it's pretty hard to top," said Baird.

Before Baird could fly his homemade planes, he had to learn the Federal Aviation Administration regulations that govern experimental planes.

"The requirements are extremely broad for experimental guys. They can be airplanes that are more like a jungle gym set, canvas and tubes and wires. Or they can be highly sophisticated aircrafts from kits that are very expensive," said Baird.

Large manufacturers like Boeing, Cessna and Piper are highly regulated because those planes are mass produced. There is no room for creativity or experimentation.

But for plane enthusiasts, the sky's the limit for aviation alterations.

The alterations can be extremely risky, but if not for experimental homebuilt planes, Baird says the aviation industry wouldn't be what it is today.

"It's just a certain type of personality that's attracted to this and sometimes we lose guys like we have recently and it's sad but if there were no risks, there would be no adventure," said Baird.

There are no requirements for someone to start building an aircraft.

There are companies that sell kits similar to model airplane kits to build airplanes.

However, the Federal Aviation Administration does test the airworthiness of the plane before it is put in flight.

The plane also requires 25-40 hours of test flight time before passengers can fly in the plane.

And only a licensed pilot can fly it.

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More Lawmakers Making Noise About Airplane Noise: Schumer, Gillibrand, Meng and Israel ask Port Authority to set up forum for airplane noise complaints

Elected officials representing Port Washington at the federal level are calling on the Port Authority to set up an advisory committee to address airplane noise concerns in the five boroughs. U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, as well as U.S. Reps. Grace Meng, D-Flushing, and Steve Israel, D-Huntington, have sent a joint letter to Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, asking for the agency to set up a committee that would handle ongoing and future concerns about airplane noise for city residents. 

Currently, there is no forum through which residents can complain about flight patterns, construction, frequency of arrivals and departures and new runway configurations. 

“It is simple common sense to say that the largest metropolitan area in the country should have an airport advisory committee like the one we are proposing, a body that would help increase the quality of life for locals,” Schumer said. “With the creation of this committee, those affected by airplane noise can provide a more united front to their elected officials, the aviation community and the Federal Aviation Administration.”

Airport advisory committees currently exist in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia and Louisville.

Days before the 2013 legislative session closed earlier this year, the New York State legislature passed a bill that requires the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey (PA) to conduct a noise and land use compatibility study to better address the rise in aircraft noise over Long Island.

Len Schaier of Port Washington, president of, said passage of the Part 150 bill is a signifcant victory for residents of the NY-NJ metro area. "Next milestones are the governor and the NJ legislature!" he said, recognizing local representatives for their efforts.

The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Jack Martins, who lives in the neighboring village of Mineola, is aimed at insuring that aircraft noise is given proper consideration by airport operators when they determine which runways and approach paths to use.


John Holland lays off 40 aircraft engineers

 The aviation business of Leighton subsidiary John Holland has laid off 40 engineers and technical staff at its largest engineering base after Virgin Australia reduced the size of its aircraft maintenance contract.

The latest job cuts are a further blow to Victoria's aircraft engineering industry, less than a year after Qantas shut its heavy maintenance base at Melbourne Airport. Qantas has previously warned that it will eventually reduce its bases for heavy aircraft maintenance in Australia from two to one.

The redundancies at John Holland Aviation Service's base at Melbourne Airport total about a tenth of its national workforce. It highlights a growing trend towards consolidation of aircraft maintenance work.

The decision to lay off engineers follows a decision by Virgin to reduce the size of its contract because its fleet of younger planes requires less maintenance than older aircraft.

Virgin's alliance partner and major shareholder, Air New Zealand, is also carrying out more of the heavy maintenance work on Virgin planes at its engineering base in Christchurch.

The John Holland contract was for maintenance of Virgin's Boeing 737 and Embraer aircraft.

John Holland, a division of Leighton Holdings, blamed the 40 job losses at its Melbourne facilities on reduced work due to "economic conditions and the high Australian dollar".

A spokeswoman said the workers would receive their full entitlements.

But the aircraft engineers' union said the latest redundancies raised concerns that John Holland would eventually consider closing the aviation division.

Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association president Paul Cousins said: "The reductions over the last six months show that John Holland is not securing any further aviation work. There is a concern that they would look to shed their aviation responsibilities."

Mr Cousins said the union had been trying to work with the local aviation industry to ensure John Holland's aviation division had a more consistent flow of maintenance work.

However, John Holland played down the concerns and said it remained the largest independent aviation maintenance business in Australia, supporting more than 80 customers. "JHAS will continue to adapt to meet the various maintenance strategies of its customer base," the spokeswoman said.

It has had six other redundancies this year.


Cayman Islands: Officials defend air ambulance systems

(CNS): Government officials from the various departments involved in the procurement of air ambulance services for emergency air evacuations have denied that the system is ineffective or poorly managed. In the face of the auditor general’s recent report regarding the issues it says could put the public purse as well as patients at risk, the agencies have denied any risk to those using the service. Admitting to some flaws in the process the three main agencies involved - the health ministry, HSA and CINICO defended the complex process for airlifting patients and said their chief concern is the well-being of any persons who may require the emergency air evacuation (EAE).

“It has been our experience that depending on a patient’s unique needs, the most cost-effective solution is not always what is required in each case,” the joint statement said.”We strive whole heartedly to ensure that the EAE process is managed efficiently from start to finish, and to secure the best possible outcomes for each patient. While our system is not without flaws, which we are determined to address, its effectiveness has also been repeatedly proven.”

The statement also claimed that neither the local broker or Canadian Medical Network used by CINICO actually transports, handles or provides any physical care for the patient being transported.

“The true exposures exist with the service providers: HSA (medical triage, stabilization etc. and transport to the air ambulance) then the air ambulance provider (maintenance of medical stabilization and any care administered during the transportation to the overseas receiving facility),’ the statement said.

Commending the local broker’s 20 years of service the officials went on to say that CINICO would investigate any evidence of fees being paid that should not have been and that all three agencies were committed to improving the treatment and care of patients.

Reflecting on the auditor’s report they said they had been “aware of many of the issues mentioned by the OAG for some time” but upcoming changes to the structure of the EAE would mitigate most if not all the concerns.



Greenwood airport study sought: Province, Kings County request process to look at possibility of Greenwood site

The Nova Scotia government and Kings County have requested a feasibility study into relocating the Waterville Municipal Airport, shown in this 2012 photo.
 (GORDON DELANEY / Valley Bureau) 

CAMBRIDGE — The province and the Municipality of Kings County have formally requested a feasibility study into establishing a civilian airport at 14 Wing Greenwood to house the Waterville Municipal Airport. 

 “A recent … airport relocation study identified a civilian air park facility at 14 Wing Greenwood as an option,” says a letter to Col. James Irvine, the base commander.

The July 8 letter was signed by Kings County Warden Diana Brothers and Chris Daly, economic and rural development associate deputy minister.

More information is needed to fully consider the option, the letter says. It requests a meeting with the commander to discuss the study’s “parameters, logistics, costs and the process that would be involved to have it completed.”

The public will get an opportunity to ask questions about the report and its recommendation to locate at Greenwood. A public meeting has been planned for Aug. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. The county will also be accepting written and email submissions.

Municipal officials met Monday night with the study’s authors, the province and members of the co-op that manages the airport.

“And we met with the study group recently on a strategy to move forward,” Brothers said in an interview.

Development of a civilian air park facility at 14 Wing Greenwood appears to be the preferred option for relocating the Water-ville airport to make way for a possible Michelin expansion.

Although there is no promise to expand the Waterville tire plant, the feeling among municipal and provincial government officials is that if the land is made available, the company will invest there.

The Waterville airport is located at the northeastern side of the sprawling plant, boxing in Michelin at its current location.

The province commissioned Halifax consultants CBCL Ltd. to conduct a $100,000 study to determine options for another location. The 50-page study was released in June.

To eliminate uncertainty and encourage new Michelin investment, the sale of the land and the move to a new location “should occur immediately,” says the report.

“I don’t know what the outcome will be because the study hasn’t been done yet … but I don’t see why it couldn’t work here,” said Brothers.

The report estimates the cost of relocating to Greenwood at $6.7million. The Waterville airport is used by about 50 aviators, who are worried about who’s going to pick up the tab.

It houses 32 aircraft and employs 20 full- and part-time workers, with a flying school, skydiving school and aircraft maintenance facility.