Aviation Advisory Committee
August 17, 2005
The Aviation Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Chairman Jimmie Beavers, Vice-Chairman James Hopmeier, and members Randel Compton and Marty Martin. Also present were the County Administrator (Hunter Walker), County Engineer (Roger Blaylock), and Administrative Services Manager (Tammy Simmons). Chairman Beavers called the meeting to order at 5:03 p.m.
Martin moved approval of the minutes from the July 20, 2005 meeting; Compton seconded, and the vote carried unanimously (4-0).
Beavers said he wishes to discuss the security at Peter Prince Airport as it relates to the security gate. He said he asked about the key pad repair when he first became a member of this committee. Blaylock said the motor control unit is in place and the chain is connected to the gate. He said the unit was tested last Friday, and the exit sensor is not operational at this time. Blaylock said the unit can not be activated, but the gate will open and close. He said, hopefully, the county will be mailing out the key codes to the tenants and airport staff next week. He said the lightning storms are holding up getting the sensors installed.
Beavers said he recommends Peter Prince Airport adopt the same procedures that are in place at Pensacola. He said whoever goes through the gate, must sit on the other side of the gate until the gate completely closes before pulling away. Blaylock said recommended procedures will be included in the mail out. Beavers suggested also including operational procedures. There was discussion regarding people “piggy backing” when a person goes through the gate. Martin agreed with the Chairman. He said the procedures need to be in writing so people will know they are responsible if someone follows them through the gate. Blaylock said there will also be procedures on how to exit the airport during power outages and when the batteries are dead.
Hopmeier asked how often the code will be changed. Blaylock said this will be handled administratively. He said probably when someone vacates a hangar. Blaylock said there will be an individual code for each tenant to monitor traffic.
Compton said at Pensacola Airport, you may loose your privilege of coming and going through the gate if someone piggy backs.
Blaylock said when the gate was operational in the past, the FBO left the gate open while the FBO was at the airport and closed the gate when he left. Hopmeier said he felt it is better for the gate to stay closed. He said he does not think open access to the airport should be allowed. Compton agreed.
Beavers said the gate has been inoperable for over two years, and he is glad it is finally getting repaired. He said the gate needs to be repaired immediately when it goes out of service. Hopmeier suggested getting a service contract proposal from Ingram Electric and contacting Pensacola Regional Airport to see who they have a service contract with. He said possibly a request for proposals can be sent out for a service contract.
Beavers asked if there have been any more break-ins at the airport. Paxton Corwin, representing the FBO, said he does not know of any break-ins, but last week a young child was running across the runway. He said he felt the child was from the FEMA trailer park. Corwin said the FBO considers this a big issue. Blaylock said he will contact the manager of the FEMA trailer park. Beavers asked if there are any “Unauthorized Access” signs on the fence. Blaylock said there is a sign that says “Airport No Trespassing.” Hopmeier said the Sheriff’s Department should be called if the FBO sees an unauthorized person on the runway. Blaylock agreed.
Beavers commented about the lack of response from county personnel when emailed by tenants. He said with one particular issue, he knows it has been over ten days without a response. Beavers said he knows county staff is very busy and can not immediately respond to every email. He suggested letting the sender at least know the email was received. Beavers said he felt it is unprofessional for people to be emailed or called and not respond.
Beavers said it is long overdue for one person within the county to be directly responsible for the comings and goings of Peter Prince Field, specifically, an airport manager. Beavers said he requests this committee appoint someone to approach the Board of County Commissioners regarding an airport manager funded by the county or airport funds. He said currently, it is difficult for anyone to be held accountable for airport needs. Hopmeier said it probably will not be a full time position, but a single contact person is needed. He said currently several county people share the responsibilities.
Walker said Tammy Simmons is the county contact person, and she can direct issues to appropriate staff. Beavers said a follow up needs to be done to make sure issues are addressed. Walker said possibly the county can look at getting Simmons additional help. Blaylock said there is $300,000.00 in the airport fund, and the county will be using all of these funds for improvements and additional hangars at the airport. Blaylock said it may be a while before the airport fund has sufficient funds to pay for an airport manager.
Hopmeier said there is no one person responsible for making sure the little things get taken care of at the airport on a day to day basis. He said someone needs to be at the facility every day to check the lights, Super Unicom, police the taxiways and runways, and take care of things such as the gate being left open. Hopmeier said the FBO lease should be looked at closer and possibly some of these responsibilities added to the FBO lease. He said someone needs to be at the airport daily to make sure the airport is functioning properly. Blaylock said the FBO has done many of the things Hopmeier mentioned. He said a check list may be appropriate.
Beavers said an airport manager can also make sure Peter Prince Airport is included in the Emergency Preparedness plan. He said issues are falling between the cracks. He said the problem is great, and it will continue to be this way until we get someone that is accountable and responsible.
Hopmeier suggested listing airport items critical for discussion at next month’s meeting and letting county staff decide where the responsibilities will be. Walker said the county will get with the FBO to make a list for the next meeting. Martin said he felt there are a lot of misconceptions of what the FBO’s responsibilities are. He said a list of the FBO responsibilities will be helpful. Walker said this can be provided next month. Hopmeier said the FBO is the only full time presence at the airport. He said the issues need to be identified, and this will benefit the FBO. Hopmeier said he does not want the FBO to feel they are to blame.
Corwin agreed there needs to be a single point of contact so the issues can be taken care of on a daily basis. He gave an update on the Super Unicom contacts and said it is now working properly. Corwin said the PAPI lights are fixed, and the FBO has briefed all instructors regarding security. He said he is taking responsibility to make sure things are taken care of at the airport. Corwin said everything discussed at the meetings will be addressed.
Beavers said his objective is to have a person to call when there is a problem. He said he wants someone to be responsible and accountable. Blaylock said several of the issues brought up are specified in the FBO lease. He read the FBO responsibilities and said he will provide a copy of the FBO lease to the committee. Beavers said a county airport manager would be able to hold the FBO responsible for those actions in the lease.
Hopmeier used two flipped over airplanes at the airport as an example of an environmental contamination issue. He said everyone knows the airplanes are there. Hopmeier said the county should be very concerned with this hazard. He said this is one example of an issue that needs to be addressed.
Compton suggested a method at the airport for the FBO to get feedback concerning the airport. He said perhaps a drop box will get the flow of information started.
Pensacola Flight Watch, Inc Issues
Dale Holbert, Pensacola Flight Watch, Inc. said Flight Watch’s concern with the FBO lease is that the only sanction is to terminate the lease if the FBO does not comply. He said all the responsibilities of the FBO are in the lease. Holbert said there are also state minimum requirements. He said it will be up to the county to decide what measures should be taken.
Holbert discussed NOTAM (Notices to Airmen) not being available at Peter Prince Airport. He said no one seems to be aware there are things that need to be done in a timely manner. Holbert said he sent an unanswered e-mail on August 5th pointing out the tetrahedron is damaged and unusable. He asked if county staff is aware of this, and if so, when it will be repaired. Corwin said he sent NOTAM notification regarding the tetrahedron.
Holbert said Pensacola has thirteen carded gates, and they have been very reliable. He said repairs are addressed in a short period of time if there is lightning damage. Holbert noted Pensacola has hydraulic gates instead of chain driven gates.
Holbert said the current NOTAM’s on Peter Prince Airport include unlighted towers, no jet fuel available, and runway lights are pilot control lighting. Beavers thanked Dale Holbert and Pensacola Flight Watch for their assistance and report.
Corwin reiterated the NOTAM notice was sent out regarding the tetrahedron. He said the PAPI lights are working on runway 3/6, and the Super Unicom is working. Corwin said the runway signs on runway 3/6 are gone. Hopmeier said he suspects the signs were damaged by the storm. He requested the FBO follow up until completed with the NOTAM concerning the tetrahedron.
Corwin said he has a list of changes that need to be made to the Airport Facility Directory and reviewed the necessary changes. Blaylock said the county will submit the changes to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).
Walker provided tenant insurance information to the committee (Attachment in File). Beavers asked the consequence for no insurance. Simmons said a letter is sent to the tenant requesting current insurance information. She said if the information is not provided within 30 days, the matter is turned over to the County Attorney. Martin asked if there has been any solicitation over the last nine months to get insurance information from tenants. Simmons said she started working on the insurance after last month’s meeting because the information was requested. She said due to Hurricane Ivan, she suspects some of the planes do not exist anymore.
Blaylock said the county will take action Thursday regarding the repairs to the hangars. He said the Board of County Commissioners will award a change order to Triple A Steel for the repair of the hangars. Blaylock said the mitigation repairs relating to Hurricane Ivan as well as all of the Hurricane Dennis damage will be included in the change order. He said the Public Works Department is responsible for debris removal, and the county debris contractor will remove debris from the airport. Blaylock said the tetrahedron will be repaired or replaced, but he does not have a specific date for the repairs.
Blaylock said hangar construction will follow the award of the improvements at the airport. He said part of the project will be the preparation of the slabs (fill material for the slab) and the common taxiways up to the slab. Blaylock said hopefully the county can time the hangar construction as done with hangars D thru M. He said county staff will propose the Board of County Commissioners execute to bid 24 new hangars with a Joint Participation Agreement. Blaylock said construction will follow the major capitol improvements and taxiway realignment. He said the new hangars will have to meet new wind load requirements. Blaylock said the wind load information on the existing hangars will be made available as soon as staff receives it.
Beavers asked the process to get the two damaged planes removed and whether or not the process has started. Blaylock said he is not sure of the process with regard to an individual’s aircraft. Beavers said he felt the owner is still responsible even if the aircraft is upside down. Blaylock said the county will not allow the debris contractor to remove the planes. Hopmeier said it has been 40 days since the hurricane and suggested contacting the County Attorney. Walker said there may be a derelict plane procedure. Beavers urged the county to start the process.
Martin said fleet aircraft are working at Choctaw field this week and next week. He said there will be day and night operations in the area with E-2 aircraft coming out of Virginia. Martin said September 2nd will be safety stand down at Whiting Field, so there will be no flying over the four day Labor Day weekend.
Corwin said he has the operation procedures for the GCO (Ground Communication Outlet). He said he will provide copies to the county for the tenants at the airport. Hopmeier said he recommends the GCO procedures be included in the next mass mailing.
The next scheduled meeting of the Aviation Advisory Committee will be Wednesday, September 21, 2005 at 5:00 p.m.
There being no further business to come before the committee at this time, the meeting adjourned at 6:05 p.m.