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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Lease Pre-approved For Airport Operator

Fairhope, Alabama


STILL NEEDS FINAL APPROVAL

During a specially-called meeting last week, the Fairhope Airport Authority unanimously passed a Resolution approving a memorandum of understanding that could eventually lead to renewing the current operator's contract (Continental Motors Services Inc.) as the airport's FBO (fixed base operator) for the next 25 years: Their current lease expires in 2015.

(Teledyne Industries originally signed the lease in 1995; in 2011 AVIC International, a Chinese corporation, purchased the company and set up Technify Motors Inc. for its United States operations. Mobile-based Continental Services is still a subsidiary).

It includes "hangars, fuel farms, ramps, aprons, parking space, office space and other facilities owned by the authority."

The memorandum, negotiated by Chairman Zunk and Continental V.P. Rhet Ross, is only a first step to eventually signing a new contract that could become effective on Nov. 1st -- subject to FAA and ALDOT approval.

Chairman Zunk and other members called it a "good deal" for the airport that will raise lease income (to $12,750 per month) and the percentage of revenue the Authority gets from aviation fuel sales (from 4 to 7 cents per gallon).

Continental also agrees to spend $850,000 on capital improvements to the north hangar and adjacent hangar building.

Zunk said some property previously included in the lease would revert back to the airport and that could be used by the Authority to construct additional much-needed hangar space -- perhaps in a joint venture with Continental or some other  private company.

The two new 8 unit 'T-hangars' now operated by the AA itself would come under Continental's control however -- along with their current lease agreements (16 in all). Continental could decide to raise rents.

If a final agreement cannot be concluded, the AA may proceed with a RFP, request for proposals, from other bidders to operate the airport.



AIRPORT NOISE COMPLAINTS GROWING

T - 6 'Texan' (Air Force configuration)
Mayor Kant dropped by the meeting near its end and informed the Authority he has been getting more complaints lately about airplane noise -- particularly in the vicinity of Monk Rd. and on CR 24.

He specifically mentioned a house with a "red roof" on Monk and a" shop" on 24, aka Clarence Bishop Rd.

Kant said one of the main reasons for forming an independent Airport Authority was to take "politics" out of the daily decision-making.

The area around the airport is actually not in the city limits though: the county commission has jurisdiction there; citizens have so-far rejected adopting any form of zoning protection.

The "low-flying" military training and civilian flight-school aircraft are apparently "coming over the tree tops" to practice approaches, take-offs, landings and other maneuvers.

Chairman Zunk said planes should not normally be flying under 1000' (except during takeoff and landings) --  and practice has always be confined within the "south practice area."

Zunk said that since the airport is open to the public, anyone may use it -- as long as standard aviation rules are followed.

Referring to the military planes, he mentioned that the airport has received many grants from the federal government over the years, including one to lengthen its runway; a new one to improve taxiways and drainage for over $1 million was just awarded.

He said the new Navy T-6B trainers have been using local commercial civilian fields more because their older Navy Outlying Field (NOLF) runways were not long enough for the heavier planes (they need at least 5,000').

The Fairhope runway is 6,664' long.

After completing a controversial environmental study and seeking public input -- in 2010 the Navy decided to lengthen its runways at Summerdale and Foley/Elberta (click). The Silverhill field was not included.

Considerable opposition from the many new residential subdivisions (noise pollution concerns), particularly in the Eastern Shore area, was a factor in the decision. Older residents defended the military training as "the sound of freedom."

CONSTRUCTION IN PROGRESS

According to online satellite photos, the NOLF runways east of Summerdale have been lengthened but the Times could not determine if the Barin Field east of Foley has been yet. Those were to be the only ones lengthened, according to news reports at the time.

Summerdale runway extensions completed
A construction sign at the Summerdale facility says that project would be completed this year: the same company is to modify the Barin field as well, according to online documents..

The home base of the navy Flight Training Wing 5 (Fixed Wing Unit) is Whiting Field, near Milton, Fl.  It eventually expects to be operating about 156 of the new aircraft.

(The new planes have ejection seats, unlike its predecessor, which was notable for accidents in Baldwin County over the years.)

Pilots from all branches of the U.S. military, and from other "allied countries" train there:

Training Air Wing FIVE is located 5 miles north of Milton, Florida on board Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The wing is comprised of three primary fixed-wing and three advanced helicopter squadrons and trains aviators from the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and allied nations. TRAWING FIVE is responsible for an estimated 43 percent of the Chief of Naval Air Training Command's total flight time and over 11 percent of Navy and Marine Corps' flight time world-wide. Over 1,200 personnel complete their essential flight training here annually. We pride ourselves on producing the finest Naval Aviators in the world.


At least one civilian flight school, Zulu flight training, operates from the Fairhope airport, according to its advertising. It is not known if any of their planes are involved in any way.

Zunk advised citizens to get the tail numbers of the low-flying planes -- and report them to the governing authority: the Federal Aviation Administration.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

25 years ??? .......Insane......

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure we need a big airport here.

Anonymous said...

Chinese ownership you say? Actually Amic it is owned by the state, The People's Republic of China... not sure if its a good thing or not? time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Some people want the city to take it back over.

Anonymous said...

I live near the Fairhope Pier and hear planes practicing nearly everyday. The noise is extremely annoying.

Anonymous said...

Ok, again, you know there is an airport there, but yet you go and build develop? Airplane noise is going to be around wherever you live.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is so excited about Airbus and what it is going to do for us - ok - support it and whatever it takes to bring industry here. Oh yeah, they don't plant flowers right? This town is so beyond what it could do for the downtown merchants, etc, but won't allow any growth.

DrPatSr said...

What I find interesting is that a person would build or buy a home in the near vicinity of an airport, then complain about aircraft noise over their house. Isn't that like locating near a busy highway then whining about the noises made by the cars and trucks driving by. Maybe they should have thought of that before they located there.
Anybody old enough or heard about German subs in the Gulf or coming up the Mississippi River during WW II? We all may be very glad to have well trained Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force aviators again one of these days. I'd suggest we all try to make them feel welcome and appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Forget the planes it is the garbage trucks picking up at 4am that annoys us.

Anonymous said...

sure, lets turn Fairhope into another Detroit ....

Anonymous said...

AGREED

Anonymous said...

What a stupid remark, the point is the airport will be BIGGER , the pier is nowhere near the airport and if they are hearing it there imagine what neighborhoods closer are hearing

Anonymous said...

Fairhope is suppose to be a resort town ha ha

Anonymous said...

AGAIN the point is that when these people bought their homes it was just a private airport for puddle jumpers and now there are BIGGER ENGINES more noise, how dumb are you to not figure that out

Anonymous said...

and this happens what, once a week , we are talking everyday ALL DAY

Anonymous said...

The noise is a problem ....

Anonymous said...

I have lived here my entire life and when I was a kid, there might be only a couple of flights a day. My property and family property was already here. Only in the last few months, the noise from military aircraft has become quite annoying. They have made several passes tonight since I've been home and it's after 8:00 on a Friday night. We used to be able to make a peaceful walk in the woods but now it's rare that we aren't disturbed by some type of big engine noise. I hear rumbles and my house shakes and rattles on a regular basis.

Publisher said...

If these are military aircraft, you may consider contacting the President, your U.S. Senators and Congressman about it.

They have ultimate authority over the United States' armed forces training regimen ...

Anonymous said...

I live in Rock Creek Iwas told by City and County Officials that the planes would be out by April, that did not happen. The noise is very loud and annoying from 6AM until sunset and even later. I cannot stand it.Please Stop the Noise.

Anonymous said...

No it's the planes stop the noise

Wes Brown said...

The noise from the aircraft is daily and only started in the last year. I live in Daphne near the high school and hear small aircraft flying what appears to be training exercises every week now. They start early in the morning and continue until late at night. We moved to this area because it was quiet and peaceful. This noise constitutes a violation of my rights to peaceful habitation. Why can't the training be done over the bay rather than my neighborhood. I would appreciate some regulatory action to moderate this activity.

Anonymous said...

I thought I had moved to a beautiful, quaint community when I chose Fairhope as my new home. But for the last four months I have been listening to the plane whining every day, nearly all day. Please make the planes stop!

Anonymous said...

its an airport. they need to get over it,. you have no more rights to overhead space than you do to riparian waters in front of your bay front house. get over it. noise cancelling headphones and a stiff drink might help you. fair hope actively sought out and competed for this training, and even if the navy which only trains in the day during the week left, you would still have the commercial aircraft coming and going 24/7. every few years one of these movements surfaces and a lot of people have cocktail parties discussing it and then we forget about it for a fwe years.