Aviation Advisory Committee
October 20, 2010
The Aviation Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Chairman Carlos Diaz and members, Theodore Elbert, Mike Harris, Clay McCutchan, Chip Mapoles, and Wayne Nelms. County staff present: County Administrator (Hunter Walker), County Interim Attorney (Angie Jones), 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 July 21, 2010 meeting were approved unanimously.
Walker introduced County Interim Attorney, Angie Jones, and new committee member, Chip Mapoles.
Gulf Regional Airspace Strategic Initiative (GRASI) updates
Diaz gave an update on the GRASI meetings that he attended. The GRASI process is a very necessary process to the military particularly the Air Force at Eglin. The military personnel are very concerned with general aviation during this process; the military has a mission they have to accomplish and although we are all going to have to be inconvenienced somewhat nobody is trying to encroach on general aviation. The committee is trying to do this in a way that is least intrusive into our airspace and our operations. One of the difficulties where general aviation is involved is that there is a training procedure called Simulated Flameout (SFO) that requires a considerable amount of airspace and the airspace has to be closed during this procedure. They are trying to establish a hierarchy where commercial aircraft will have precedence over SFO and the SFO will have precedence over low performing general aviation. This committee has representation from Business Aviation and AOPA. Diaz stated he felt the Aviation Advisory Committee should stay informed and attend these meetings.
Nelms stated he just received his copy of the draft executive summary for the supplemental environmental impact statement from the F35 arrival and he will make it available to the committee members and staff. Nelms further stated they recognize Class D airspace at Choctaw because that was the only way the Navy was able to operate their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in and around Choctaw.
Selection of Vice-Chairman
Elbert moved motion for Nelms as Vice-Chairman; McCutchan seconded motion; motion carried unanimously.
Discussion of Proposal for Fixed Base Operator (FBO)
Diaz abstained from the discussion and vote because he is affiliated with the existing FBO (AMS). (Form 8B Memorandum of voting conflict in file)
Nelms confirmed the committee members had received and examined the RFP, the response, and all information that was provided by staff.
McCutchan stated he believes it will be unreasonably costly, burdensome, and impractical for more than one FBO to provide services at Peter Prince Field. Due to the current economic times, lack of resources and the short runways at Peter Prince there is not enough overall economic activity to support two competing FBO’s. The two FBO’s and their operations would physically get into each others way and cause unnecessary tension, strife, and will be a constant source of contention for the county. County staff and commissioners will expend a great deal of effort and resources sorting out issues that will arise between the two competing FBO’s. McCutchan stated the organizational structure is confusing with all the departments under the Director of Operations and he disagreed with the statement in the proposal “no other FBO in the Southeast has more talent and expertise than the MAP TEAM.”
Elbert expressed concern with the Commissioners accepting a proposal for a second FBO without the advisory of the Aviation Advisory Committee. Elbert stated this committee needs to provide guidance on this proposal to the Board of Commissioners before they enter into an agreement with MAP. Elbert expressed frustration with not getting answers to his questions from MAP. Elbert expressed his objection with each member writing their concerns and sending to county, it seems to destroy the theory of having a committee if we cannot hold discussion on this matter.
Walker, referring to the memo provided by Angie Jones, Interim Attorney, stated whether the RFP is unreasonably costly, burdensome, or impractical, that alone, is not a reason to waive acceptance of a second proposal for the FBO services. The question this committee has to answer is, “Is the proposal we received from MAP responsive”? The proposal indicates that it meets the minimum standards that are contained in the current FBO lease. Once the proposal is deemed responsive, the County will go through a process that will require MAP to exhibit they meet the minimum standards to the satisfaction of the Board of Commissioners. Once the Commissioners are satisfied they meet the minimum standards, the County will enter into an agreement with them for FBO services. The current lease we have with AMS is the minimum standard.
Harris stated he does not see a risk to the county if an individual is willing to put some money out for an additional FBO. Harris further stated you cannot get FBO certification without certification/licenses verification through the FAA.
Davis Glass, AMS, stated there are 39 airports in the State of Florida with runways of 4000’ or less and none of them have more than one FBO.
Michael R. Moody, Director of Operations with Milton Aviation Partners, questioned why the current FBO is for sale?
Nelms stated he evaluated the proposal as viable and partially responsive. He did not feel the proposal will be fully responsive until they prove they are financially liable, they are able to provide the services and facilities they proposed, and they have presented a viable business model including verification of certifications and qualifications for those individuals they intend to carry out their obligations. Nelms stated he agrees with the County Attorney in her assessment that there are no legal grounds for the county not to accept the proposal or in fact put a second FBO in place. Nelms stated it is not up to this committee to determine how well it is going to work; we will not know how it works until they are both in place. By law this proposal has to be considered, regardless if it is a good idea or not.
Walker stated the process will be the same as when the County entered into an agreement with AMS. Go through the proposal selection process, with the current FBO lease the Board determined AMS was the better of two proposals received, and then go through the due diligence of the business plan, financials, who are the principals, what is their backgrounds/experiences and then put together lease similar to any other business relationship.
Moody stated in keeping with FAA Airport Compliance Manual Order 5190.6B, both of the following conditions must be met: (1). It can be demonstrated that it would be unreasonably costly, burdensome, or impractical for more than one entity to provide the service, and (2). The sponsor would have to reduce the leased space that is currently being used for an aeronautical purpose by the existing provider in order to accommodate a second provider. In the case of denying additional providers, the sponsor must have adequate justification and documentation of the facts supporting its decision acceptable to the FAA. Advisory Circular 150/5190-6 states the same. Moody stated MAP has met the requirements of the RFP as solicited by the County.
Paxton Corwin stated the Airport Advisory Committee needs to evaluate the proposal from a business and aviation view point and give the commissioners their decisions based on those issues; this committee is not tasked with rendering legal opinions. The proposal from MAP seeks to duplicate the services provided by AMS but they cannot meet this standard since: 1. They do not offer avionic services; 2. They will not be able to open a physician office as the FAA has determined that an aviation medical examiner certificate, AME, is site specific and they will not award a certificate if an AME is in close proximately; and 3. AMS operates a Federal Aviation Regulations, F.A.R. Part 141 pilot school, obtaining such a certificate is difficult and time consuming, and is associated with close FAA supervision. Corwin stated the most important issue is that the market at Peter Prince will not support two FBO’s. Actual statistical data should be ascertained before the Board of County Commissioners considers this RFP.
Glass stated the airport cannot support two full-service FBO’s.
Ron Montgomery expressed his dissatisfaction with maintenance performed on his aircraft and the inability of AMS employees to provide certain required services. Montgomery further stated that AMS is not a full-service FBO.
Ryan Koontz, Director of Maintenance for AMS, stated when the chart issue came up, it was addressed and all linemen have been instructed on how to open charts. When dissatisfaction of maintenance is brought to our attention the issues are addressed as soon as possible.
Blake Avant, Media Director for MAP, stated MAP will enhance Peter Prince Field with an addition of services to include helicopter maintenance, helicopter rentals, helicopter flight instruction, and a full-service media division. He feels AMS will continue to do what they do best and MAP will take up where they leave off. AMS has a very good program for the Part 141, flight instruction school for military personnel; MAP is looking to broaden aviation in the community outside of military students. I feel the two FBO’s can hold up together because each one will have their own forte.
Elbert moved each committee member individually list your concerns/questions you feel the County needs to have answered concerning the proposal and submit them to Walker to utilize in their preparation during negotiations of the FBO lease with Milton Aviation Partners, LLC (MAP) before the November meeting; Harris seconded motion; motion carried with 4 approvals, 0 denies, and Mapoles abstaining because he has financial interest in AMS and MAP.. (Form 8B Memorandum of voting conflict in file)
Walker stated MAP’s proposal will be on the Board agenda at their next meeting with MAP presenting their proposal to the Board and then it will be referred to staff to go through the process to determine if it meets the minimum standards. The lease with AMS represents the minimum standards.
Glass stated REIL lights are operational, PAPI lights are operational, one runway light is burned out at the North end on the west side, taxiways lights do not show up in daylight, but appears most are working.
Pensacola Flight Watch, Inc., Issues
Blaylock stated we have 100 hangars with the near completion of the new ones coming on line. FDOT has issued a Joint Participation Agreement, JPA, for a Master Plan update. We will start the process with Post, Buckley, Schuh, and Jernigan, Inc., PBS&J. DOT request an update every five years, our current Master Plan is eight years old. We will be issuing a RFP for a consultant, the Commissioners will select a consultant, and then we will start the process of providing updates at during various stages to the Aviation Advisory Committee. Blaylock stated Whiting Aviation Park is going through a master plan process and is incorporating all of the Federal-Navy personnel. Working paper number 2 has just been released. Roger stated DOT has not provided any funding for resurfacing of the parking lot; they are focusing on safety issues.
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 November 17, 2010.
Meeting adjourned at 6:40 p.m.