Friday, May 13, 2022

Opinion: Shortening the Chatham Municipal Airport (KCQX) runways would be the opposite of safe

Betty C. Ludtke Guest Columnist

Don’t give an inch!

The three most useless things in aviation are runway behind you, altitude above you and fuel not in your tanks.  

Chatham is holding its annual town meeting on Saturday. Article 56 on the warrant calls for displacing the thresholds for both runways at Chatham airport by 800 feet each — in layman’s terms, “shortening” them. All in the name of safety, of course. Safety for whom? For the pilot who now has 800 feet less of runway to use for landing. Are you crazy out there in Chatham?

I fly professionally for a major airline now, but I learned to fly here on Cape Cod in 1982. There is something magical about the small general aviation airports that still remain in the United States, of which, Chatham is one. I’ve flown into Chatham many times. The last time was in a T-34B. For those old-time naval aviators who retired here on Cape Cod, you know what that is. You probably trained in one.

I flew it up from Virginia, cruising up the Hudson River, at an altitude lower than the World Trade Center towers. The towers still stood at the time and I remember looking up at them. When I came into Hyannis to land the tower controller asked me if I was a Navy recruiter. Probably because the plane had “Fly Navy” in big bold letters emblazoned on its side.

The next day I took the T-34B up to Chatham to give a friend of mine a ride in it. He was a pilot too and flew from time to time out of Chatham to track right whales. As soon as you lift off from Chatham you see the magnificence that is Cape Cod. The Chatham airport is a gem and I hope the residents of Chatham do all they can to preserve it.

My recommendation to you is don’t give up one inch of those runways. Instead, ask why the article is even on the warrant? Does it have more to do with the insatiable lust to build on Cape Cod where we should not be building? Which were there first, the runways or the various structures that lie beneath the approaches to the runways? Let’s also remember that there are a whole bunch of folks in Ukraine who would love to have their day interrupted now and again by the sound of a friendly airplane.

Betty C. Ludtke, Barnstable

1 comment:

  1. Looks like airport critics and property developers teamed up. A skydive operator was the subject of some previous struggles, efforts seem designed to choke out all but the smallest of aircraft.

    Warrant 56 is one of two warrants being voted on. Warrant 57 limits aircraft type to design group one. King Air, C208 and similar aircraft are group two and would be banned. Lots of controversy.

    Warrant 56 & 57 on pages 108-111 (pdf sheet 112-115) here: