Obstructions removed from Georgia airport's approach path

April 2, 2009

When a utility company erected two unlit poles under the approach path to Griffin Spalding Airport’s Runway 32 in March, Dan Gryder did what an AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer (ASNV) should: He reported it to AOPA. The association immediately jumped into action to help resolve the issue.

That led to the removal of the poles and of the safety hazard they represented to pilots using the Georgia airport.

Pilots feared that the poles, approximately 100 feet from the runway, would soon cause a fiery crash and loss of life, Gryder said. AOPA and Airport Manager Robert Mohl agreed.

They all notified the FAA, citing the builder’s failure to follow the agency’s obstruction evaluation (OE) process that requires the study of potential air-navigation hazards before they are constructed.

“As a result of the quick action and report from Dan, the airport manager got to the bottom of the issue, found out who erected the poles, and was successful in getting the builder to remove the obstructions immediately the very next day,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airports.

The incident demonstrates the importance of the ASN volunteer’s initiative, she added.

Tall towers have proliferated with the explosion of cellular phone and digital information usage. To find out if there are tall towers proposed near your airport, sign up for notifications from the FAA.

AOPA has a summary of the safety problem tall towers pose and of the OE process.