Friday, May 13, 2022

Magee Municipal Airport (17M), Mississippi: Fuel Complaints




MAGEE, Mississippi – The last day for the City of Magee to submit a corrective action plan to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for violating federal obligations was Thursday, May 12.

It’s not the first time the airport has faced turbulence. The City of Magee is feeling the pressure at the airport. The mayor doesn’t deny the FAA’s findings.

“We’re trying to rectify the situation as best we can,” said Mayor Dale Berry.

According to the FAA, the city failed to provide documented evidence that fuel filters were replaced prior to August 31, 2021. Parts for a jet tank were not replaced in a timely manner. Maintenance logs for the fuel system, other than for a one-time repair, were not provided. The city failed to reasonably show any training or certifications that are common industry standards.

The mayor said the aldermen advised the city attorney to contact the FAA in Atlanta and Rebel Aviation in Aberdeen, Mississippi, to monitor the fuel farms at the airport.

“The board voted 4-0 to keep the airport manager,” said Berry.

Brien Hubbard and Kenneth Aasand filed the most recent complaint against the airport. With his background in aviation and managing the Copiah County airport for seven years, some pilots asked Aasand to help out at the Magee airport. He met with Airport Manager Ashley Steele about sampling fuel.

“At that point in time, we pulled a fuel sample. It was a two-gallon sample and we had 1.5 quarts of water. That tank had never been sampled and water just accumulated. I explained all the equipment they would need to sample properly and all the paperwork they would need to sample properly,” said Aasand.

He said everything he told Steele seemed to have fallen by the wayside. They only met once. The aircraft that belonged to a friend of the mayor failed an inspection he performed. The mayor accused him of extortion.

“They did seem to fix the fuel system for just a little bit in 2020. Recently, I was informed by Brien Hubbard that the fuel system had fallen into disrepair. it wasn’t being sampled. The tanks were empty. Nobody was doing anything. I had no problem making another complaint to the FAA that said you’ve given $3.6 million over the years to operate a fuel farm. This is a duplicate complaint given to them two years ago,” said Aasand.

The city is still working on its response to the FAA.