Waste-transfer station would pose bird hazard at AZ airport

September 28, 2010

AOPA is urging officials in Wickenburg, Ariz., not to establish a waste transfer station adjacent to the runway at the Wickenburg Municipal Airport. Locating the transfer station next to the airport’s lone 6,100-foot runway would create a “significant hazard” because uncovered transfer stations such as the one proposed would attract birds to the vicinity.

Facilities that could draw birds, thereby presenting a collision hazard for aircraft, must be located at least 5,000 feet from an active runway serving piston aircraft, and at least 10,000 feet from an active runway on which turbine aircraft operate, according to FAA guidance, said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airport advocacy, in a Sept. 23 letter to Wickenburg Town Manager Gary Edwards. Dunn also explained in his letter that federal airport development funding accepted by the town as the airport’s legal sponsor obligates it “to protect the airport from incompatible land uses adjacent to the airport.” That makes compliance with the FAA guidelines mandatory.   

“AOPA is committed to ensuring the future viability and economic development of general aviation airports. Additionally, the association works diligently to ensure that these airports are maintained in a safe condition without the unnecessary creation of hazards to the safe operation of aircraft. Placing a waste facility this close to an active runway simply doesn’t make sense,” Dunn said this week, adding that the association has notified the FAA of AOPA’s position on the Wickenburg waste station plan.