Sunday, July 3, 2016

Reasons to keep open the Kalispell City Airport (S27)

Kathryn's Report:

The Kalispell Life-Flight plane is flying-in a wounded man. His “golden time,” his best chance for survival, fades. Seconds count! If the pilot lands at Glacier Park International Airport, the waiting ambulance will take 20 minutes to get to the hospital. If he lands at Kalispell City Airport, the ambulance will pull up to the emergency entrance in less than six. Which should the pilot choose?

Kalispell City Airport’s runway can easily accommodate the plane, but lacks full instrumentation for a safe night time landing. In spite of City Airport’s lack of modernization, Life-Flight pilots sometimes land at Kalispell City Airport. The most common official reason: inadequate visibility for a safe landing at Glacier.

Sometimes, severe hilltop winds prevent Kalispell’s ALERT helicopter from landing at the hospital. When that happens, the weather is more apt to be better at Kalispell City Airport than Glacier Park International; but, again, Kalispell City Airport needs modernization to make it ALERT’s first choice.

Why hasn’t Kalispell done those life-saving upgrades? “Too expensive.”

What would those upgrades cost? Less than closing Kalispell City Airport.

Besides intensive care patients, anyone else benefit from City Airport’s existence?

FedEx almost did.

Early morning fog often shrouds Glacier Park International, making landing too hazardous. Major airlines schedule early morning takeoffs, but none schedule regular early morning landings. It is too dangerous, too often.

Because of its location, Kalispell City Airport almost never suffers morning fog. FedEx wanted to schedule regular landings at Kalispell City. There’s plenty of room for a shipping/receiving hub; the existing runway is long enough. Kalispell City Airport’s lack of modern equipment stopped them.

Like the Angel Flight pilots, FedEx pilots have also made emergency Kalispell City Airport landings.

Besides sick people and FedEx users, anyone else benefit from City Airport?

Because of Flathead Lake, many people make a living from boat repair, storage, private and public dock maintenance and other water-related work.

Likewise, support businesses naturally spring up around a small airport. Companies now within Kalispell City Airport bring many millions of dollars of new money into our valley every year. Each firm deliberately chose NOT to be at Glacier Park International.

Some want to clutter our airport’s land with the same ordinary businesses found everywhere. Someone suggested installing a dog park!

Our Kalispell City Airport houses unique, wealth-creating businesses. It could be more! Imagine if Kalispell City became a hub for medical landings. Anything medical-related brings in new money.

Hikers and picture-takers bring cash into the valley. Flying tourists bring more!

Some of those flying tourists bring their dogs with them. Guess what, there is plenty of room for a dog park within the airport perimeter! There might be reasons for moving Kalispell City Airport, but eliminating it — especially not a dog park? No.

Certain individuals believe we have $3 million to $8 million to force people to give up their Kalispell City Airport businesses.

Why not spend less money to save lives?

Original article can be found here:

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