Aviation Advisory Committee
July 15, 2009
The Aviation Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Chairman Carlos Diaz and members, Mike Harris, Theodore Elbert, Clay McCutchan, and Randy Roy (NAS Whiting Field representative). 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
Elbert moved approval of the minutes from the June 17, 2009 meeting; McCutchan seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
- The FBO lease was reviewed at the last meeting and a suggestion was made to the county that an audit be done. The audit was accomplished toward the end of last week. The auditor found that everything was in order except for some small items: 1) Two lease payments for flowage back in 2006 had the same amount of gallons on both payments. 2) There was a lease payment in September 2008 that the county did not record as receiving. Ron Castle, FBO Business Manager, showed it had been paid. The accountant has all the physical records from a current tax year that he is still working on. He did confirm that the county, at the last audit owed the FBO $1,600 for overpayment.
- At the last meeting it was brought up that there was an addendum to the lease that stated after 5 years the lease fee would increase by .5% yearly. Diaz recalls at the time that the FBO submitted the lease; the idea was that there was a new 6000’ runway coming in. Every year since the FBO was stuck with the lease that was generated with the market projections including a long runway, the FBO has operated at a deficit and a lost. Mr. Glass asked that Diaz propose to the Aviation Advisory Committee that the county postpone increase in fees for another 5 years and revisit the issue at the end of 5 year period, which Diaz believes is a very reasonable request. Mr. Glass wants to approach the committee with this issue, but he is out of the country for 3 months, he will not be back until October.
- Elbert: I think .5% dealt with the flowage rate.
- Diaz: Yes it was another fee. The feeling was with the 6000’ runway there was going to be a tremendous amount of increase in the fuel with larger airplanes coming in.
- Elbert: How does the county feel about it?
- Walker: When the audit is complete we will get the committee a copy of it. From the counties perspective we would be open to talk to the FBO about the lease provisions and changes to the lease. If it is based on some 1
mutual understanding of something that was going to happen that didn’t, that’s fair. I think it would be better submitted as a written request through this committee and then we will take it to the Board.
- We have designated the chief flight instructor, Mr. Paxton Corwin, to be a FBO representative and give the FBO reports at this committee in Glasses absence.
- The Super Unicom had not been working the past few days, it was NOTAMed, Mr. Dan French, who is our avionics person, was out of town for a few days, he came back today, looked at it, and it was the same problem as before, there is no power going to the Super Unicom. When the power stops the battery runs down slowly. He has recharged the battery; it’ll work for a couple of days.
- Blaylock: Michael Schmidt was out at the airport today with Mr. French and Ingram Electric will be out tomorrow. It appears that there is a dead short in the 110 circuit.
- Diaz: Is that related to lightening strikes?
- Blaylock: Absolutely could be. It could also be the heat, a weak breaker, or a dead short. We had one breaker that was not labeled, each time they would put it on it would be 20-30 seconds and it would trip. We are on it.
- Has there been any movement on the Air Methods lease?
- Simmons: I talked to a representative from Air Methods on Monday and they said right now they were not ready to sign the lease; they will give us an update in December.
- Walker: They are waiting to see if they can get more helicopters in this area.
- In addition to the .5% in flowage there is also a condition in the lease that the rates should be redetermined based on the CPI. The FBO should be taking a look at this as well
- Walker: When the audit is complete; we are going to look at all of that.
- Elbert: This will come up at the next meeting as old business.
- I am still a little concerned about the courtesy car and the problem with getting it insured. I thought the last time there was going to be a search to see how other people handle this.
- Diaz: Other FBO’s that I have talked to have said they have it on their FBO insurance, their FBO insurance is a different company then we have; ours said they would look into it. The car is a perfectly good car, runs fine, and it just sits there. We are going to see if we can get it on a named driver type insurance where when someone wants the car we fax the name and drivers license to the insurance company and then they get added on and then get deleted when they are finished with the car.
- Elbert: It will come up again next month on the old business agenda.
- At the last meeting there was a discussion about weeds in the runways, the experience I have had is that they eventually tend to crack the pavement and there are several places at the airport especially in the taxiways and actually one on the runway where you have clumps of weeds growing through.
- Diaz: The FBO did go out and there were some weeds that were growing out on the north end of the runway along a crack in the runway. I walked it 2
and you are correct that the thick root distorts a little bit of the runway there. We had our line man pull out as much as he could and he did spray roundup in that one line. I don’t know how to kill it completely unless the county can rip up some of that pavement and get the thick roots and pull everything out.
- Roundup is a systemic and it should take care of the weeds; but, it may take a periodic application to keep it down. Between a couple of hangars out there I noticed, right down the middle of the pavement there is a solid line of weeds that must be 100’ long. They are small but they don’t stay small for very long.
- Diaz: We have dumped tons of roundup through the years at the airport, it is very effective immediately; however, it’s a constant battle.
- Whose responsibility is that? The FBO or the county?
- Diaz: The FBO is supposed to do the mowing and things like that. The northern side of the northern edge on the runway needs to be fixed where the weeds have distorted a little bit of the pavement there. We put roundup in it and it killed that immediate problem but it is still a little bit distorted there.
- Blaylock: I’ll have Michael look at it in the morning.
- Diaz: There is a lot of property there and we have the line boy do as much as he can; but, he is one person. Sometimes the other line boy goes and helps him.
- It seems that there is a potential problem there and a systemic program to see that these weeds are killed needs to be established.
- Diaz: The only thing that you can do is to go around and look for them and where they are coming up pull them out and use the roundup and that kind of thing but you are right the only systemic way would be to hire a company that would come out and maintain the grounds and the FBO cannot afford that. The FBO can afford to have a couple of line boys when they can get away from doing aviation related things, go out and try to maintain that as best they can.
- If you do rework the lease, maybe there could be some specific address as that as one of the problems.
- Diaz: It is the FBO responsibility to maintain the grounds, I don’t know that it specifically refers to weeds; but, it would keep the airport mowed.
- That’s a different thing though. Keeping it mowed is not the same as killing off the weeds that grow up through the runway.
- Walker: Let us look at that, we’ll get Mr. Blaylock’s people to go out and look at that, if that is something we need to be doing as an owner, we just need to get some kind of resolution and determination on it.
- Diaz: The FBO is not saying that it’s not its responsibility or it doesn’t want to be involved in that, the FBO is saying it is difficult for the FBO to do that when the business is so small that it cannot afford to devote the time and expense that it would like to maintain the airport like a national park.
- You keep going back to mowing and mowing to me doesn’t seem to be the most important thing; the most important thing is protecting the pavement that you have.
- Diaz: The weeds can destroy the pavement and that has to be addressed, we will certainly be glad to work with the county and do as much as the FBO can do to keep that problem at bay.
- That will come up as an old business item next meeting; I’ll keep bringing it up until we find out that we have some solution to the problem.
- Where are we on the FBO parking lot?
- Blaylock: We lost funding for the hangars; the money has not been identified for the parking lot; we said we were going to make application through FDOT to see if we can get some public transportation money to fund this. This is how we paved the old parking lot at the old FBO building fifteen years ago.
- McCutchan: How far out are we for getting that parking lot done?
- Blaylock: A year because their budget cycle starts July 1 and it will be July 1, 2010 before it can come into their work program because it is not currently in their program.
- McCutchan: No way to expedite it?
- Blaylock: Not and get DOT to participate.
- Blaylock sent us a memo about the Homeland Security and GA airports. There are a couple of things in there that technically apply here at Peter Prince; most of them are oriented toward the larger GA airports but there are security guidelines that they have issued and I wanted to make sure our FBO is aware of them. One of them has to do with flight training for people who are not US citizens. There is a special form you have to fill out.
- Diaz: That is done through the flight school and the chief flight instructor, not only do they do that but they all have to be certified by a homeland security test. They are doing this, yes.
- Elbert: There is talk of helicopters coming in here at some point.
- Walker: Air Methods lease.
- Elbert: If you read this report it says basically they are not too concerned about general aviation aircraft, but they are concerned about helicopters, so if helicopters do come in there’s going to be some additional kinds of things that this airport has to be aware of. It would be good if the committee members and staff members would take a look at this document, just to make sure that we are in conformance here.
- Do we announce our empty hangars in any way, like a website, the Chamber, the AMS website, the county website?
- Simmons: We have 12 vacant hangars, we recently asked the FBO and the chamber to put it on their website. We have also put it on the county website.
- Diaz: the new hangars have a terrible spider problem. Black widow.
- McCutchan: I have an infestation of black and brown widows in my hangar and on my carport. I had to have Florida Pest Control come out, it has gotten so bad.
- Diaz: Does the county have any type of pest control contract that can go out and take care of this problem?
- Gulf Coast Regional Airspace Strategic Initiative presentation: Gulf Regional Airspace Strategic Initiative
- The Gulf Regional Airspace Initiative (GRASI) was developed to ensure continued viability of regional airspace during anticipated growth in military and civilian aviation.
- GRASI looks at the use of airspace, both above land and sea, from the Pensacola to Tallahassee areas.
- The intent is to develop a regional approach, military and civilian, for a strategic plan supporting mutually compatible growth in aviation that accommodates users while maintaining a positive economic impact to the region.
- The anticipated growth in the use of our limited special use airspace from what we would call regular growth and expansion, in conjunction with the expanding Air Force flights and new airport flights, could result in potential airspace congestion.
- Addition of BRAC-driven requirements to existing Gulf operations will be a significant challenge to the Region
- Proposed F-35 Aircraft: new aircraft based at Eglin
- New operations will result in significant increases in air traffic operations
- Military/civilian air traffic operations across Eglin, Duke, and Choctaw
- Current (2005) operations – 192K
- Proposed (2014) operations – 427K
- Touch and go = 2 operations
- Full stop = 1 operation
- Take off = 1 operation
- Projected growth in other regional military training and civil air travel
- Other BRAC-driven requirements – 7 Special Force Groups UAS & new Combat System Officer training at Pensacola
- F-22 increased airspace requirements for training in the Warning Areas
- Increased Navy training in the region – T-6 & T-45 primary and Navigator training
- Growth at Okaloosa Terminal, Destin, Bob Sikes, New Bay County, Pensacola, etc.
- NW Florida portion of region population doubled 1970-2000
- Expected to double again between 2000 and 2035 – assume rest of region will follow
- Gulf Regional Airspace Strategic Initiative
- Ensure continued viability of regional airspace during anticipated growth in military and civilian aviation
- Develop a coordinated strategic plan that accommodates all users while maintaining a neutral or positive economic impact to the region
- All stakeholder requirements identified to this point indicate all missions can be accommodated if airspace across region is utilized efficiently
- Plan to be in place no later than Dec 2010
- Expectations and Milestone/Deliverables
- Baseline is ongoing
- Concept Study to begin mid 2009
- Refinement of models and analysis to begin late 2009/early 2010
- Draft Final Report mid/late 2010
- McCutchan: Who represents the little airports like Peter Prince?
- Roy: At the meetings you have TRACON, the FAA, the Department of Transportation, ABSOX, Eglin, CNATRA, which is Chief of Naval Air Training, you have TRAWING 5. If there is potential impacts for the civilian airports, there probably will be if there is some restructuring of airspace, but it is still being studied, my feedback from the people that develop these briefs, is that the FAA and DOT would probably bring it back through to make sure we are getting the work out to the private owners and private airports.
- Diaz: We use the airspace and I was wondering if it would be possible to have a representative set at those meetings even if it’s just as an observer for the small airports.
- McCutchan: How about we designate a member to speak for the small private and commercial airports.
- Roy: I will see if they actually have someone identified to represent all the small airports other than just the FAA or DOT.
- Diaz and McCutchan questioned how this committee can get representation on the GRASI study?
- Harris questioned if AOPA has a representative on the committee?
- Roy: Yes there is.
- Have we talked about Holley Field lately? I flew over it last night and had visions of a longer runway going northeast to southwest. Maybe it could be an industrial park, or we could lease hangars there or lease lots and people could build houses and their own hangars. I see all kinds of opportunities there.
- Diaz: Who owns that right now, still Navy?
- McCutchan: Navy. But I thought they were not going to use it because the T-6 won’t fit in there.
- Diaz: Does the Navy have any plans to sell it?
- Roy: Not at this moment, Holley is an asset, with the T-6 he is right, it needs 4000’ and 5000’ runways, in the interim between the T-6 and T-34 transition which is going to take until about 2015, we will take 150 of our 6
- McCutchan: So you will need it?
- Roy: We will need it right now, and it will continue to be studied.
- McCutchan: Should we start thinking about a planning committee for when the Navy does not need that field anymore, what do we want to do with it? Are we going to keep it as an airport? Are we going to turn it into housing? Are we going to turn it into an Industrial Park?
- Roy: We have not discussed it on our side. Right now we are just keeping it as a viable asset just for the T-34 transition. The joint strike fighter is being studied still and we have a supplemental EIS going on, the joint strike fighter mission is to look at possibly using Choctaw for the CV variant which is the carrier variant and Choctaw is going to be a busy place.
- McCutchan: The question is does the county have a plan for Holley if the Navy declares it surplus? And does that plan include its use as an airport?
- Blaylock: The County does not have a plan for Holley.
- McCutchan: As an advisory committee should we be thinking out ahead by 10 years in the event that property surpluses how can we get the maximum use out of it?
- Blaylock: They don’t surplus the property; it is exchanged for like kind, acre for acre or purchase. Any study would have to include funding.
- Diaz: It may be a little premature to be looking for funding now.
- McCutchan: Holley Field would be a jewel as a commercial airport, but you would have to lengthen the runway and you got the room.
- Blaylock: It would be surrounded by subdivisions and houses.
- McCutchan: The new light jets and medium turbo props could get in there.
- Diaz: With a lot of development around it, it is going to be difficult to sell that.
Pensacola Flight Watch, Inc.
- Update on the Aviation Discovery Park
- Pensacola Regional: The contract signed by the city for Runway 1-7 PAPI installation should be returned shortly. The majority of the equipment is on hand for the installation and construction should start shortly after receiving the signed contract. It looks like we might have the PAPI installation October. The new TRACON facility will be available in the October-November timeframe. It is our understanding that the new software and displays will allow the controllers to improve all air traffic control services and greater detail will be provided at a later date. Additionally at Pensacola Regional there is some additional flight training facilities. They will be doing both military and civil flight training.
- We will advertise in our newsletter of available hangars at Peter Prince and possibly put it on our website.
- The grass is growing up through the black top and it was our understanding if you let it go it’s going to get bigger and it is going to cause cracks.
- Diaz: How has the utilization been on the Discovery Park?
- Holbert: The Park is getting quite a bit of business and in this day and age there are a lot of young people being exposed to aviation that would not otherwise. We feel this has been a real worth-while project and it deserves support.
The next meeting will be at 5:00 p.m. on August 19, 2009.
Meeting adjourned at 5:50 p.m.