Aviation Advisory Committee
December 17, 2008
The Aviation Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Chairman Carlos Diaz and members Wayne Nelms, Clay McCutchan, Randy Compton, Mike Harris, and Randy Roy (NAS Whiting Field representative). Absent was member Theodore Elbert. County staff present was the County Administrator (Hunter Walker), County Engineer (Roger Blaylock), and Administrative Services Manager (Tammy Simmons).
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 5:00 p.m.
Review/Approval of Minutes
McCutchan moved approval of the minutes from the November 17, 2008 meeting; Compton seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Discussion took place on a method to utilize the commercial hangars.
McCutchan talked to Air Methods, a company with medical helicopters, the largest helicopter EMS operator in the world with over 340 aircraft and in over 40 states. They have over 20 helicopters operating in Florida including two Air Heart aircraft associated with Sacred Heart Hospital, GulFlight One out of Niceville, and LifeFlight One and Four with Baptist Hospital in Pensacola. They anticipate remaining in the area for many years and would like to have a facility for maintenance and repair, storage of aircraft and aircraft related parts, and weather protection for their aircraft. They would like two of the hangars, one large and one of the smaller hangars combined for maintenance storage; they also would need to add office and storage space and upgrade the electrical supply with our approval. They are offering $1500 per month for two hangars, typically the two hangars lease for $1800.
McCutchan stated he had looked at the hangars himself and determined you can easily put two airplanes in each hangar and they would not bang into each other when moving them, you could probably put three in each hangar with the understanding that one airplane is going to be moved to get one of the corner airplanes out.
Diaz stated if Air Methods is willing to pay $1500 that would bring in more income than putting multiple planes in the hangars because they would be paying less than a regular hangar if they are going to be in a gang hangar situation.
McCutchan questioned if they would buy FBO gas, would they need FBO maintenance, what other resources would they need.
Diaz stated the FBO could provide gas and aid with maintenance, but the FBO maintenance personnel are not experienced in turbine helicopters.
McCutchan questioned the number of support and personal vehicles, the type of support vehicles, and where they are going to be stored. How many total vehicles are going to be here?
McCutchan discussed where the helicopters are going to fly into the airport; into the front of the hangar or land on the taxiway and be trailer in?
The question was asked if Air Methods intends to use the hangars as their center of operation or are they going to use for routine maintenance, scheduled maintenance activities where they will not be going a lot of operations out of there?
The question was brought up about altering the hangar for office space, would that alter the hangar for the future where we cannot use it for aircraft?
Blaylock stated it would have to be temporary in nature. In the past we have given people permission to make modifications within their hangars but none of them affect the structural integrity and all of them would be able to be undone. Blaylock stated the alterations are to condition some office space for records, retention, and those sorts of things.
McCutchan moved that county staff engage this company and discuss these issues. Issues: operational safety, economic issues, all renters are protected, Compton seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
McCutchan stated he had a proposal from Ron Mason.
Mason’s first proposal is to place him in a small corporate hangar at the A row T-hangar price until an A row T-hangar is available.
Mason’s second proposal was submitted to the Administrative Services Department on June 2008, this proposal was for a small corporate hangar with a lease fee of $400 per month.
Mason’s third proposal was to pay a daily rate of $26.03 for a corporate hangar for the number of days in a month that he will be utilizing it; he would like to keep the key for the entire month and would like to store a tractor, tow bar, and charger in the hangar for the entire month. On the days that Mr. Mason is not utilizing the hangar, the hangar would be available to other transients for lease.
McCutchan stated he felt we needed to see what happens on the offer from the helicopter company, get that done first, and then offer the other H hangar up, there might be some guys out there that would like to share that hangar. Mr. Mason wants a hangar by his self at a given price. I think we need to make sure that all other private individuals, know thatthis hangar may be open and if they want to form a group they’ll make us an offer. Let’s look at all the offers and see who has the best offer.
Diaz stated he didn’t think we needed to put Mr. Mason back into a general pool, he has a specific problem and I think we need to know if we are going to make him a deal or not, and then go to the other people, I think he should be afforded some consideration first.
McCutchan stated if we make an offer to a private individual we should make the same offer to other private individuals.
McCutchan made a motion to table, Compton seconded, motion carried.
Diaz stated the avionics technician checked the Super Unicom and it is a transmission problem, there is a modulator in the transmission circuit that is not working, it is putting out 100 milliwatts and should be putting out 8 watts, it’s an old Garman SL40 radio, Garman will repair this radio at a flat rate of $450.
Diaz stated the other day there was a substantial rain and we had the Peter Prince Lake again, there is a drainage area on the south side ramp that has a drain there but it was completely blocked up and there was water up to the wheels on airplanes all the way on the south side of the ramp and the west taxiway and the grass, it was a huge collection, I don’t know what you can do, maybe unclog the drain or something, but there is a drain at the end.
Blaylock responded that he would get the Road and Bridge Department to check it; it could be partially clogged, but that was a significant rain event.
Diaz mentioned the runway heading markings at 36/18 and that sometimes those headings change. Some years back Regional had changed their runway markings but we have kept our markings. I called the FAA and spoke to Mr. Farris at the airport division in South Florida and he said if it had been marked with those numbers for as long as it has it probably has changed but that the way that the process goes is the county is to call the county airport consultant and they will come to the airport and get a device to measure what the headings are and see if there is any necessity for changing the numbers or not. It is a big deal if you do because you have to change all the publications so they don’t want it to been done lightly and it has to be done correctly so PBSJ should be the only ones to look at that.
Roy stated that you might want to look at your field elevation to see if it has changed as well. At Whiting Field we have sunk a foot so we had to change some of our numbers in our publications. So if you are getting that done it might be a good idea to look at the field elevation as well.
Diaz stated the County had received a notice from the Forestry, which has a very significant electronic suite of instruments among them a storm scope, which is a device that shows electrical discharges and storm activity, it is a weather avoidance system and he had found that when he gets to the runway end partially at the departure end of 36, that his weather avoidance system starts showing a lot of thunder storm activity right over him, even on a nice day in other words there is interference coming from somewhere that is making his storm scope show incorrectly. He obtained a skin mapping device, it is a device that measures stray electronic interference and there is in fact a lot of stray activity at departure end of 36, the machine just went crazy down, but where it is coming from we don’t know it may from the rail lights or some worn out electronic device that is arching or doing something in there and producing artificial thunder bolts but there is in fact malfunctioning electronic or electric device at the departure end of 36 that is causing his storm scope to act up. We should probably take a look at this. Diaz responded that the Forestry stated it only happens here and it doesn’t happen in flight and it doesn’t happen when flying over the wires coming in to land, it is only when he is on the ground
McCutchan questioned a previous discussion about road access to the new hangars.
Blaylock stated the type of gate that we need, the heavy duty with heavy motors and keypads were estimating somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000. Clay is not going to work out there, we are going to have to put some other aggregate surface there that is not going to migrate material on to the runway, and I don’t have those prices yet from Road and Bridge.
McCutchan stated we have previously talked about the parking lot looking worn.
Diaz stated paving the parking lot is quite an expense and aggregate is a possibility if it can be packed down enough.
Pensacola Flight Watch, Inc.
Holbert expressed his pleasure with the progress of the Super Unicom, when it is working normally it is an important addition to both safety and the utility of the airport.
Last time I flew one of the REIL’s was inoperable on landing 18. It maybe a good idea to check the REIL’s as one was out about 10 days ago.
Flight Watch published that there were hangar vacancies at Peter Prince which goes to at least 100 people and other airports, hopefully that will help get some of the hangars filled.
We are trying to get a runway 17 PAPI at Pensacola; the unofficial word is that the project has been bid
At the Discovery Park we have an eagle scout to put the observation platform under our sky shades. The only thing that will leave us to do then and get funds for is the wall of honor, honoring all of our donors.
Blaylock went over handout titled Peter Prince Airport Current JPA’s dated 12/17/2008 (handout on file). This is our joint capital improvement projects with Peter Prince, FDOT, and FAA and the status of them. The one project we have pending is hold bays on runway 18/36, I have submitted that, it is part of the economic stimulus package to FDOT so perhaps 90% of that $937,500 could come back, that is a significant expense but certainly a safety issue, something that was in our master plan, its on our capital improvement projects. On the second page of the handout is a summary of what we have done in the past twenty years at Peter Prince.
Diaz stated the compass rose was painted over with flat black paint, in looking at FAA instruction and advisory circulars, I found that according to the FAA if there is a marking that is not going to be used on a runway or taxiway it should not be painted over but should be taking off or scraped off by road work equipment. Diaz questioned if the county has any equipment that can scrape off the markings and paint?
Blaylock responded no.
Peter Prince Airport Tenant
Ron Yrigoyen and Richard Lacquement discussed their displeasure with the Clerk of Courts billing system both have experienced problems with their hangar billings.
Walker responded that the Clerk of the Courts does the billing; he will get with them to discuss these problems. Walker further stated if the tenants have a problem with the billings they can go through Simmons’ office and she will work the problem.
Gerald Lastowski and Ralph Smathers expressed their concern with the county raising the lease fee.
Diaz responded the reason the hangar rent went up is you cannot simply look at the incoming money from hangar rent and what the overhead is for operating the airport, but you have to look at depreciation over a period of time for replacement and repair to those hangars.
Ralph Smathers stated that people do build airplanes and he does not see anything wrong with it so I don’t agree with the thing about one year and maybe if people could come to you and request an extension, maybe you guys would give it to them.
Diaz stated the early portion of the airplane building does not require a hangar; you really need it for the assembly of the airplane. Diaz stated the lease does allow for an extension with a progress report.
Lastowski, Bill Smathers, and Ralph Smathers expressed that they would like to receive documentation on the expenses and revenues from Peter Prince Field.
Walker stated Ms. Simmons would send out the financial information to all of the tenants.
Simmons gave an update on the hangar waiting list stating we have nine vacant new hangars, we have one old hangar but there is a tenant looking at it, he is in his three day cycle, we have three storage units available, we have one old one and two new ones. We have had two people move out of the old hangars this month, so we had seven vacant, two from the new hangars moved to the old hangars to get the reduction in lease fee, we have had one move from one old hangar to another old hangar and then we have one that has let us know they will be vacating an old hangar at the end of the month, so right now we have nine vacant hangars.
Diaz stated these meetings are open to the public every month, not everyone wants to come here every month but you might want to assign a rotating assignment to the tenants, at least someone show up and know what is going on. This committee meets the third Wednesday of every month and discusses airport business and hangars tenants should be here.
The next meeting will be January 21, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. Meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.