|Atlantic City's Bader Field (seen during AOPA Expo '99). The city built a baseball stadium and ice rink on airport property without first obtaining required FAA approval.|
Late Friday afternoon, the FAA issued an unprecedented "emergency order of compliance," demanding that Atlantic City immediately fix unsafe conditions at Bader Field.
"Atlantic City is the poster child for everything that can be done wrong at an airport," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We commend the FAA for finally taking this forceful action to correct a problem that has been festering far too long."
Early this month, AOPA sent a letter to top FAA officials asking them to take enforcement action against Atlantic City for its continued neglect of Bader Field. AOPA said the city had allowed the airport to deteriorate to an unacceptable level of disrepair. The association cited unkempt runways and taxiways, littered with sharp shell fragments that could damage aircraft tires and cause a pilot to lose control.
Also cited were the windsock, which was "just a metallic skeleton with a little piece of torn fabric," and out-of-service runway lights (MIRL) on Runway 04-22 and inoperable runway end identifier lights (REIL) on Runway 11-29. AOPA said that Atlantic City's violations would be "enough to fill an encyclopedia."
The FAA agreed.
The emergency order of compliance demanded that Atlantic City fix all of the AOPA-cited items, plus a host of other violations. Those include inoperable precision approach path indicators (PAPIs) on Runway 11-29, improper runway edge lights, poor pavement markings, and improper signing.
The FAA said Atlantic City had improperly obstructed a runway safety area with a helicopter landing platform and had permitted a wind tee indicator to remain active "although it provides airmen with an inaccurate indication of which way the wind is blowing."
The FAA ordered Atlantic City to fix some 13 unsafe conditions immediately.
March 4, 2000