Aviation Advisory Committee
November 17, 2010
The Aviation Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Chairman Carlos Diaz and members, Theodore Elbert, Mike Harris, Chip Mapoles, Randy Roy, and Wayne Nelms. County staff present: County Administrator (Hunter Walker), County Engineer (Roger Blaylock), and Administrative Services Manager (Tammy Simmons).
Chairman Diaz called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. The minutes of the October 20, 2010 meeting were approved unanimously.
Functionality of Aviation Advisory Committee
Elbert read a statement he prepared stating his admiration for the committee and staff members dedication and qualifications, his experience and education in relation to him serving on this committee, his understanding that the Aviation Advisory Committee members will have the expertise to handle aviation related issues and should hear them and make recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners and staff, his disappointment in the function of this committee on the recent case of a second Fixed-Based Operator (FBO) and his disappointment on the way the recent case of the second FBO was handled. (Complete statement attached to minutes as exhibit 1)
Diaz stated he that Elbert’s statement was put together very well and he agreed with it. Diaz stated he would like to see when this committee reaches a consensus that it becomes a written recommendation signed by the committee members and sent to the County Commissioners for review. Diaz stated that he feels if an aviation issue comes to the Board of Commissioners they should refer the issue to this committee. Diaz stated he was disappointed this committee was bypassed on the second FBO issue; but, felt the commissioners were trying to do things the way they thought best. Diaz wished the committee had been able to seek an aviation attorney’s legal opinion so the committee could have properly advised the Commissioners. Diaz stated legal representation from an aviation experienced attorney could have answered the following question: Even though the County Commissioners are legally compelled to consider all FBO proposals; are they legally compelled to do business with an individual they find lacking in character? Diaz stated he has been told by aviation attorneys that there is more lead way than is apparent from a layman’s reading of Advisory Circular 5190 and plenty of case law. Diaz stated there are 39 airports in the State of Florida with a runway comparable to Peter Prince and not one of them have two FBO’s, so it is not illegal or against Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules to have only one FBO. Diaz stated that Milton Aviation Partners (MAP) will not be able to get an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) license or a F.A.R. Part 141 school which is an unfair advantage because AMS has to fund these activities.
Elbert stated we should have an official statement of the way this committee is going to operate and how this committee is going to relate aviation related issues discussed at this committee to the Board of County Commissioners. Elbert suggested we put the way we do business on the agenda for our next meeting and come up with a statement of procedures that this committee will follow. Elbert requested information on the status of the additional FBO proposal: How will this committee be involved with this; will we look at the proposed lease agreement; will this item come before this committee again; or Is it out of our hands? Elbert stated that Chairman Diaz should attend the next County Commission meeting and let the Commissioners know the Aviation Advisory Committee is willing to review whatever they come up with on this matter and that the majority of this committee’s personal opinion is that a second FBO is not a good idea.
Walker recommended committee members send their recommendations for operating procedures to staff so that a draft policy can be presented at the next meeting. Walker stated currently items from this committee are presented to the Board in memo form, and if it is on the agenda for the Board to approve it is attributed to the Aviation Advisory Committee. Walker stated the meetings are open to the public and that anyone can attend them as a member of this committee. Walker stated he had given the Board a memo on the action the committee had taken at their previous meeting that asked the Board to rescind the motion to solicit the RFP and the memo was distributed to members of this committee as well. Walker stated the Commissioners receive minutes of the meeting at the same time the committee members receive them. In response to where the county is on the additional FBO proposal, Walker stated the Board approved for staff to review the proposal. Walker stated he has sent MAP a letter including the matrix put together by staff and we will request from MAP the specific items that they need to provide to us such as clarification of items on matrix, financials, and their business plan. Staff is evaluating the proposal in relation to minimum standards.
Harris stated he feels this committee’s responsibility is to give opinions on aviation issues that are brought to us for our opinion.
Nelms stated he agrees with the statement read by Elbert. Nelms further stated his thought process during the last meeting was that the hands of this committee were tied in that the legal responsibility for the county to have the proposal reviewed was the only actionable piece of information to discuss; without additional information concerning the business, a needs statement, and financials we could not give a logical recommendation from this committee to the Commissioners. Nelms stated if the County Commissioners had asked us for our recommendation on issuing a RFP for a second FBO, I would have voted no, because I do not believe that there is a sufficient amount of work or activity that would justify a second operation offering the same type services. Nelms stated he would be interested in knowing from the county attorney if there is a difference between exclusivity and only having one FBO that is competitively bid at a reasonable interval.
Mapoles stated about a year ago Jack Edwards Airport allowed a second FBO on the airport and it turned into a war of attrition until the second FBO went out of business. Now that the facility for the second FBO has been abandoned request to purchase the facility and sell fuel are made often. From now on no FBO is going to make a decent living at Jack Edwards Airport. Mapoles recommended someone call the surviving FBO at Jack Edwards and talk to their manager and find out how it turned with the addition of the second FBO. It is a disservice to all the individuals that have ran the airport and the struggles they have encountered through the years to get it to where it is now. Peter Prince Airport is something to be proud of for Santa Rosa County and it is a shame for us to allow it to become less than desirable.
Roy stated due to the T34 aircraft having some mechanical challenges there will be a lot more flight operations on Saturdays. The flying will continue until approximately June or July, 2011.
Glass stated the wind sock on the north side of the field was replaced recently and the main sock in the middle of the field has about a month or two left before it will need to be replaced. The winds socks are provided by the FBO’s fuel supplier at no cost. Glass stated there was a preconstruction meeting on the construction of the four run-up pads, the run-up pads on the east side will be constructed first. While the west side run-up pads are being constructed, two hangars will have their access blocked; these aircrafts will be towed to the taxiway that is open to give them access to the runway. The construction will start after the first of year.
Diaz stated he is going to postpone the update on GRASI for a later meeting.
Pensacola Flight Watch, Inc., Issues
Blaylock stated the preconstruction meeting was held with Roads Inc. The county will coordinate with the FBO on the construction starting date so the FBO can issue the notice to airmen (NOTAM). Blaylock stated the county just completed hangar building BB which consist of three cabin twin hangars, these hangars are comparable in size to the A hangars. Blaylock stated the county is very successful in the leasing of the hangars.
Nelms recommended that a formalized procedure to document complaints be implemented, including feedback on resolution to related parties.
The next meeting will be at 5:00 p.m. on December 15, 2010.
Meeting adjourned at 6:10 p.m.