January 1, 2003
By Elizabeth A Tennyson
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors recently addressed issues arising from an ongoing Part 150 noise study at Reid-Hillview Airport. ASN volunteer Michael Coyle reports that in late October the supervisors voted unanimously to approve the noise-compatibility plan arising from the study. The panel also directed county staff to establish a Joint Community Relations Committee that would consist of pilots, politicians, and community members. The committee would mimic a similar body at Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County.
In addition, the supervisors approved spending $75,000 in airport funds to prepare a grant proposal to cover the installation of a $1.5 million noise-monitoring system. If the FAA does not approve a grant for the system, supervisors have said they would consider taking the money from the airport enterprise fund — a plan that has raised concerns among airport supporters. If enterprise funds are used for the system, the airport could not be reimbursed for the project at a later date and other airport projects could lose funding.
Friends of Lonnie Pool Weaverville Airport are facing another delay affecting plans to relocate the field, but are trying to use the time as an opportunity to build support for the effort. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer George Loegering reports that the 20-week delay is the result of objections from anti-airport groups that would rather see the airport closed than moved to a safer location. In the meantime, the airport has received an additional $200,000 to study issues related to the move.
Loegering has been working to persuade community members of the value of the $21 million airport project for a community with only 2,500 inhabitants and a county with only 14,000 residents. AOPA has offered its support and provided the county engineer responsible for development of the new airport with information about the positive economic impact an airport can have on a community and with tools to assist in performing a similar analysis for Weaverville.
Owners of high-priced homes located near Brackett Field in La Verne have created a homeowners' group and initiated a series of noise complaints against the airport. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Steven Tiek reports that the homeowners knew that their million-dollar homes were located under the airport's traffic pattern at the time they were being built.
Some of the noise complaints are related to low-flying aircraft during national-level drag races and the Los Angeles County Fair. The fairgrounds and drag-racing strip are located on the opposite end of the airport to the houses.
Recently, Vintage Management Consultants, a consulting firm hired by the newly formed Regency Hill Homeowners Association, sent a letter to the airport manager and the president of the Brackett Airport Association listing a number of noise-related concerns. AOPA is assisting airport supporters in finding appropriate responses to the complaints.
During the Eleventh Annual Non-Hub/General Aviation Conference held in Sacramento in October, airport executives from across the United States gathered to attend two days of seminars and discussions. Among the topics covered at the American Association of Airport Executives-sponsored gathering were airport security, air traffic procedures, corporate aircraft fractional ownership, and air service development.
AOPA California Regional Representative John Pfeifer moderated a panel on Northern California airspace procedures and FAA personnel led a working session aimed at educating small GA airport operators on the process of obtaining funds through the Airport Improvement Program.
The Southwest Airshow Network Conference will be held at Yuba County Airport in March. The weekend event, which traditionally launches the airshow season, attracts airshow promoters, representatives of the FAA, airshow performers, and military representatives. The conference focuses on safety issues and includes an aerobatic safety seminar. Aerobatic safety demonstrations by well-known performers also are part of the event and are open to members of the community.
Dan Ross, AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer for Yuba, believes the event will help bring the airport positive attention from its neighbors as well as airport users and government officials. The conference is slated for the weekend of March 22.
After a six-month reconstruction project, Runway 30 Left has reopened at Mineta San Jose International Airport. With the reopening in late October, Runway 30 Left became the primary runway for arrivals and Runway 30 Right, which opened in August 2001, the primary runway for departures.
The Association of California Airports has appointed AOPA Regional Representative John Pfeifer to chair its legislative committee for 2003. One of the group's key goals is to support legislation that will improve funding for California Aeronautics programs, particularly funding for airport improvements. In his new role Pfeifer will work with members of the California Aviation Alliance to craft legislation that will help protect the California airports that serve AOPA's members.
The FAA has approved a $1.5 million project to study the effects of restoring tidal flow to wetlands near Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. One important possibility being considered by the study is the potential for increased bird strikes as sea birds return to the restored saltwater estuary.
ASN volunteer Gordon Feingold reports that the study is scheduled to begin this summer and will take two to three years to complete. The project could have implications for airports around the nation that are located near wetlands.
ASF Safety Seminars Jan 7 — Sacramento; Jan 8 — San Jose; Jan 9 — Oakland; Jan 10 — Santa Rosa; Jan 13 — Van Nuys; Jan 14 — Ontario; Jan 15 — Costa Mesa; Jan 16 — San Diego. For ASF Safety Seminar information visit ( www.aopa.org/asf/seminars/).
Jan 11&12 — Upland. Cable Airport (CCB). Pomona Valley Air Fair. Contact Roger Bailey, 909/283-5808. Jan 25 — Upland. Cable Airport (CCB). 15th Annual Poker Run. Sponsored by the San Gabriel Chapter of The Ninety-Nines. Contact Linda Hayden, 714/637-6305.
"Calendar" is updated weekly on the Web ( www.aopa.org/pilot/calendar/). Weekend flying destinations are posted each Friday in AOPA ePilot.
Director of Government Affairs and Executive Communications Elizabeth Tennyson joined AOPA in 1998, the same year she earned her private pilot certificate. She also holds an instrument rating and enjoys jumping out of planes almost as much as flying them.
Safety and Education
A collision near Frederick Municipal Airport Oct. 23 claimed three lives and left the local aviation community–including AOPA–in mourning.
The Type Club Coalition is the latest group to join AOPA in urging a quick review of proposed reforms to the third class medical.
When it comes to celebrating aviation, the folks in Watsonville, California, don’t take a back seat to anyone.
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