Friday, June 27, 2014

Brodie resigns from Potomac Highlands Airport Authority: Greater Cumberland Regional (KCBE), Maryland

WILEY FORD, W.Va. — A visibly emotional Creade Brodie Jr., who wasn’t in attendance at the start of the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority meeting Thursday, showed up halfway through to announce his immediate resignation as the group’s chairman.

The airport authority has denied the members of National Road Autosport from holding their annual autocross on the operational grounds of the Greater Cumberland Regional Airport. That denial has been the subject of recent letters to the editor of the Cumberland Times-News, as well as a petition on in support of the racing group.

Brodie, who also serves as an Allegany County commissioner, said his family has been harassed because of issues that were going on at the airport. He said his son has received hate mail.

“This got way too personal,” he said. “This is pathetic — what this whole thing turned into. This job was important to me ... but my family is more. I can’t believe we are taking the mindset of trading dollars for nickels. ... I can tell you all this — I am an honest person and I have always been a honest person — I wasn’t in none of this behind the scenes stuff. I have nothing more to say other than good luck."

Brodie said that he had spoken with Mineral County Commissioner Jerry Whisner and fellow Allegany County Commissioner Mike McKay and a new appointee would be presented at the next authority meeting.

Leon Hinkle, the authority’s vice chairman, will serve as temporary chairman until a replacement is approved.

Authority member Dave Wimer questioned Delta Airport consultants about whether they thought the autocross should be allowed to operate on an active airport. According to Terry Page, manager of the FAA in Dulles, Va., it should not because it could effect Federal Aviation Administration grant funding. The grant assurances are put in place for safety reasons, he said.

“Those grants come with strings attached,” said Page. “They (FAA) don’t concur with it unless there is some aeronautical reason.”

In September, the authority was awarded a $2.3 million FAA grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for runway rehabilitation.

The FAA has to be notified if the taxiway is closed down even temporarily, said Gregg Wolff, authority member.

“Technically, if there was an incident where a plane taxis into a car and we’ve officially closed the taxiway, the pilot is at error. If that isn’t an interference with airport operations then I don’t know what is,” said Wolff. 

The authority shouldn’t submit a request for the autocross to the FAA on behalf of the racing group unless members are in favor of running cars on the airfield, said Roy Lewis, vice president, director of planning at Delta Airport Consultants, Inc.

“Our professional opinion and the advice to this board is for the racing association to submit that directly to the FAA,” said Lewis. 

It has been estimated that the autocross has brought in about $3 million in economic activity to the region since it started 11 years ago.


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