Saturday, June 6, 2015

St. Clair Regional Airport (K39) May Get Another Tenant

It appears the city of St. Clair soon will have an additional tenant at its airport.

Mark Saunders, who lives just outside the city limits, appeared before the St. Clair Board of Aldermen on Monday for the third time requesting he be allowed to rent hangar space at the facility.

That third time may, indeed, be the charm.

Saunders presented the board, Mayor Ron Blum and City Administrator Travis Dierker with information from the Federal Aviation Administration indicating it has proof that Saunders is “the lawful owner of a Challenger aircraft.”

The city has been waiting for proof that Saunders actually owns an airplane before renting hangar space to him. During previous meetings, he had not been able to establish that proof.

“I’m only asking for one hangar at this time,” Saunders told the board and administration on Monday.

He said he may ask for more space later as he intends to purchase additional planes.

However, before the lease agreement is signed by the city, Saunders must receive an “N” number for his aircraft.

According to online information, the “N” number is the official registration number for a plane that identifies a civil aircraft in similar fashion to a licence plate on an automobile. In accordance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation, all aircraft must be registered with a national aviation authority and they must carry proof of this registration in the form of a legal document called a Certificate of Registration at all times when in operation.

In the United States, the registration number is commonly referred to as an “N” number because all aircraft registered have a number starting with the letter N.

An alphanumeric system is used because of the large number of aircraft registered in the country. An “N” number may only consist of one to five characters, must start with a digit other than zero, and cannot end in a run of more than two letters. In addition, “N” numbers may not contain the letters “I” or “O” because of their similarities with the numerals 1 and 0.

“It’s our prerogative to verify an ‘N’ number with the FAA,” Blum told Saunders at the meeting. “Once we get that number, we’ll get you a hangar.”

Dierker said he has spoken with Raymond J. Monier, who works for the regional FAA office in Kansas City.

“Once the paperwork is complete you will get assigned a temporary ‘N’ number,” Dierker told Saunders. “Then, we can proceed.”

The information Saunders gave the city on Monday included a memo from Monier indicating the FAA had its proof that Saunders does now own an aircraft.

It stated that the craft previously had no “N” number because it never was registered with the FAA.

“It may take several weeks to complete this (‘N’ number) process,” Monier wrote. “However, I can assure you the process has been put in place for this to occur. When the ‘N’ number is received, the aircraft will undergo a thorough inspection from an FAA maintenance inspector or an FAA designated maintenance inspector.”

The memo goes on to say that, “As a result of this inspection process it would be in the best interest of all parties involved if the aircraft could be in a hangar to expedite this process.”

According to information Saunders presented at the meeting, he purchased a Challenger ultralight aircraft in late May. It was built from a kit in 1995.

“I show us sending this without an engine,” information concerning the transaction states. “I assume he bought one at another source.”

Information also states that the purchaser’s name is Ivan Yoder from Villa Ridge.

A bill of sale from May 29 indicates Saunders bought the aircraft from Yoder.

In April, Saunders had told the board of aldermen, “I have two planes.”

He added at the time that he is in a “desperate situation” to put them somewhere.

He requested renting two hangars.

Blum told him in April that if he fills out the application and provides proof of ownership of the aircraft, the city would rent him hangar space at the airport.

Rent is $175 per month per space.

Saunders said during that April meeting that he understood there has been a law signed by President Barack Obama that allows the facility to close. On Monday, he again said he knew about the closure law.

There currently are five hangar tenants. Pilots will be given 30 days’ notice that they have to vacate the property.


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