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Snippets from around the traps
Oops, almost slipped past me.
Todays Australian Business review by Sarah-Jane Tasker
"Rinehart urges cuts to red tape to make Australia great again"
The subject was supposed to be on mining, but the script could
almost have been written for CAsA.
Some little snippets from the article:

"Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart has warned that governments and
business leaders around the world "can't understand us" or see Australia
as "a joke"

Fits like a glove, CAsA is a bit of a joke around the world.

"Ms Rinehart argued that the levels of red tape and bureaucracy in
Australia created enormous costs and sovereign risks so people did not
want to invest"

Yup, thats sounds like CAsA as well.

"global leaders and significant investors see us as a high-taxing, high cost country
who has all the resources that they could ever dream of, but we keep messing up"

"Messing up" fits CAsA, most of the industry think their a humongous cluster...k.

"They can't believe how we could get things so wrong."

Neither can we.

"Australia's fourth-richest person, with an estimated wealth of $10.4 billion, (she must be doing something right)
said the country needed to Learn from SUCCESSFUL governments that had cut red tape, for the immense benefit
of their countrymen"

She mentions India and the US as examples, she missed New Zealand but, a prime example of what good governance can do for an industry like aviation.

A great article from a very savvy woman, Gina for PM says I.
Make Australia great again

Thorny, if I may indulge good sir. Gina although born into wealth, had a good grounding. She started out more or less as a shitkicker getting her hands dirty and earning her business stripes the hard way. That's why she is successful.

Today's modern bureaucrat is a product of University indoctrination, philosophies and good old fashioned corruption. Add to that most of them, like Malcolm 'Goldman Sachs' Turnbull have never worked a hard day in their life, and they sure as hell certainly wouldn't understand aviation. Can you imagine Jonathan Aleck, Pinocchio Gobson, 6D Chester or Mike Mudrack having actually worked a single day in their life? Let alone worked in the private aviation sector and understand a business structure. These poncing pen pushers only understand one thing - government salaries, government pensions and superannuation schemes, and free trough membership.

I agree with Gina, we need to make Australia great again, but it won't happen with the current mob of political deadshits.

Vote 1 Gina for PM
Not just Gina for PM Gobbles old mate.

That man Wagner in the news again.

The Australian todays inquirer page 11 by Sue Neales "Darling Downs on the up".

The article deals with the booming export driven rise in agricultural exports to China from the Darling Downs in QLD.

Mr Wagner says his long-term vision is starting to be realised.....wouldn't it be nice if our polli-wafflers had just a smidgeon of this mans vision?

"The Wellcamp airport and its freight terminal, shiny white passenger terminal and 2.87km runway is at its core.

Now Mr. Wagner is setting his sights on the inland Brisbane-Melbourne railway. He's prepared to stump up $60 mil of his own money to bring the rail line along the boundary of his new airport rather than its planned path 15Km to the west, turning Wellcamp into a major intermodal transport hub. He also envisions high speed passenger rail being built to parallel the inland freight route, connected to Wellcamp would make it truly BNE's second airport with travel times between BNE and Wellcamp down to 30 minutes.

From that man himself:

"This part of Queensland needs a long-term vision, not just for agriculture but tourism too. What I am talking about is a 50 to 100 year plan around getting the infrastructure right, for us, for Toowoomba, and for Australia"

"Absolutely it's about self-interest but its also about regional and national interest; we live in a world economy and if Australia wants to remain globally competitive, we have to have world-class infrastructure linking such a centrally important place as Toowoomba to the world."

With that sort of vision Mr. Wagner gets my vote, our current crop of Polli-wafflers can't see past the next election.
Thorny on a roll;

"Mr Wagner says his long-term vision is starting to be realised.....wouldn't it be nice if our polli-wafflers had just a smidgeon of this mans vision?"

Goodness me, now you're really bringing out the big guns mate. As if the politicians don't already look like big enough plonkers!!! Vision? Yes, business people like Wagner(s), Big Gina, even Twiggy Forrest think outside the box and above the weeds. They know and understand what it takes to be a visionary, take measured risk and work bloody hard.

Now compare Gina, Twiggy and Wagner(s) ability to, for example, - Turdball, Joyce and Morrison!! Ha ha. No wonder our country is rooted. Deary me, no comparison really.

P.S Malcolm 'Goldman Sachs' Turdball's decision to unload $1b of taxpayer dosh on the new snowy river hydro scheme was invented, promulgated and announced all within a 14 day period. That's correct, 2 weeks. What kind of businessman or proper fiscal leader from start to stop in 14 days on a $1b decision??? I rest my case....

Wagner(s), Gina and Twiggy for Parliament
New Generation Of Bombs Undetectable By Airport Scanners: What's The Solution?

Picked up this little article on Zerohedge regarding bombs on planes;

The funny thing is that the article is based around a thread on UP. Even funnier is how in response to the Zerohedge article someone had the following to say about UP;

"This whole laptop-ban is typical for the entire aviation industry: the tail is wagging the dog.
By the way, don't believe too much you read on PPRuNe. IMHO it's a propaganda website, where they actively censor anyone that is too critical of aviation, especially the total deterioration of working conditions. It used to be really good when it was still owned by the original founder (a British chap named Danny) and was full of lively discussions, but it was bought up by an American (NSA?CIA?) (shell)company a few years ago, and then they started throwing the book at anyone who was making too many waves.
A great example is the fact that any topics regarding a certain airline of the Middle East are stictly prohibited, because otherwise they immediately send in lawyers!
IMHO it's nothing more than another collection of IP addresses, disguised as a discussion platform, of people who are considered "troublemakers," a perfect tool for the big airlines to silence the messenger".

And for the record, no it wasn't me that wrote that comment. I read ZH but don't comment, and I haven't so much as glanced at that pitiful UP website in over 2 years so I can't speculate on anything posted in the apparent thread. It seems the entire globe realises what a shit show Tidy'bin and Stalewheel run on behalf of their employers at the commercialised and boring UP!

Aunt Pru rules - OK.
From the Torch newspaper at Bankstown.

"IT'S official. The new owners of Bankstown Airport have abandoned a plan for the development of a $161 million "business park and family leisure destination" off Milperra Road.
Bankstown Airport Limited (BAL) said its new owner, First State Super, had reviewed the proposal and had requested the withdrawal of the development application for the 41ha site in March."

Which begs the question?

First State Super is a superannuation fund, a trust. Do I recall reading that the airports act precludes a "Trust" from owning the lease for an airport?

"First State Super inherited the draft major development plan (dMDP) lodged by Leda Holdings in January 2016 with the Federal Government when they purchased both Bankstown and Camden airports in December 2015 for a reported $203 million."

Leda holdings is a development shark Company, doesn't the act also preclude a development company from owing a lease for an airport?

"The Government was considering a joint venture proposal by the previous owners of the airport to team up with property developer, Leda Holdings, for the "Bankstown Business Estate" on non-aviation land located in the south-west precinct of the airport. The proposal was to develop the area as a business park, including a factory outlet and restaurants."

Err scuse me, am I interpreting right? the government was considering tipping money into a joint venture with Leda??

Non aviation land??? It only became non aviation after they ripped up a runway, contrary to the terms of the lease and the intent of the Act, dumped asbestos contaminated fill on what was a flood plain already contaminated with live ammunition buried there after world war 11as well as contaminants from fire fighting foam and quite possibly radio active material and sewerage, all without EPA approval.

"In a statement, the airport said that while the various land uses proposed in the dMDP were supported by Bankstown Airport, there was the opportunity to further integrate the subject land with the broader airport including infrastructure.
"BAL is currently considering the optimal use and configuration for the subject land and will re-engage with all parties once this strategy has been further progressed," it said."

"Integrate the subject land with the broader airport"

Great! get rid of the contaminated fill, and restore the 18/36 runway complex. The airport will need that runway after Badgeries Creek is operational.
Found another interesting tit bit, also from the Torch newspaper.

"A PROPOSAL to build Bankstown's tallest buildings will require Federal Government approval as they would contravene safety height restriction imposed for aircraft.

The four high-rise buildings, ranging in height from 19 to 24 storeys, will replace Bankstown's Compass Centre and the former Bankstown library on North Terrace and The Mall, and include a residential and retail component. Developer, FS Property Group is seeking to increase the maximum building height limit from 53m to 83m.
A Canterbury Bankstown Council spokesperson said an aeronautical impact study was completed by the applicant, and concludes it would not adversely affect safety or regularity of aircraft using nearby Bankstown Airport.

FS Property Group has offered to enter into a voluntary planning agreement with the council, which would enable the redevelopment of the old Bankstown library site. The planning agreement would allow the developer to construct a new administration building and car park for the council, which could accommodate staff, and enable the leasing out of office space in the Civic Tower, which is owned by the council.

"This will generate more funds which can be channelled into frontline services," the spokesperson said. The proposal is on public exhibition until May 12."

"A Canterbury Bankstown Council spokesperson said an aeronautical impact study was completed by the applicant, and concludes it would not adversely affect safety or regularity of aircraft using nearby Bankstown Airport."

THE APPLICANT completed an aeronautical impact study?

OH my GAWD, here comes another Essendon, or a mini World Trade Centre.
Mate of mine sent me this snippet today from an article in a Perth newspaper from a few days ago. It seems to be the week for airport buggery!
CITY of Canning suburbs could be “noise bombed” by aircraft if Perth Airport’s cross-runway is removed, according to Councillor Jesse Jacobs.

The story is that the Perth airport CEO is the ex-Cairns airport CEO. While in Cairns he shut down both the Cairns and Mackay airport cross runways so he could drive out General Aviation as well as reduce maintenance costs on those pesky smaller runways that only minor revenue earning aircraft use. Now this fool is in Perth and up to his old tricks and gunning to shut down Perth's cross runway. Nice one asshole. He had a shit reputation in FNQ and has apparently missed off a number of players in Perth, including the Rat. Seriously, how do these shitbag CEO's continue to get away with this stuff? Perhaps the EPA should classify airports as an endangered species and list them on its website?

The story continues;
My mate also reckons the owner of Cairns and Mackay airports, an entity that goes under the name of NQA and is owned by Auckland airport, JP Morgan and Hastings, is setting up the two airports for re-sale after only 6 years ownership. So I did a bit of research and found this article;

More workers made redundant in Cairns Airport staffing shake-up

What is interesting is that 14 managers have been sacked or took VR's in 3 or so months since the new CEO started. So I did a little more research and found a stack of controversy about the airport, to much to list here. But it would seem that the Cairns and Mackay airports were sold off by the state Government to the sharks, have been gutted and milked for all they are worth, and will soon have a 'For Sale' sign placed out the front and sold for a tidy profit that will be sent offshore! So yep, the airports once again get used and abused like a $10 street walker and the pimps are the governments and then hedge funds who f#ck every last breath out of the airport. TICK TOCK

'Endangered airport species for all'
What chance for Australian Industry??

Be regulated out of business before they even started.

Adding next-generation aircraft capabilities and seeking new information technology (IT) systems to improve efficiency are two common activities MROs in Eastern Europe and Russia are undertaking as the region, like many others, deals with an aging workforce and new aircraft types.

One example is Aeroplex of Central Europe, which aims to add Boeing 777 base maintenance capability by September 2017, Arpad Demeny, managing director, told Inside MRO on the sidelines of Aviation Week Network’s MRO Baltics, Eastern Europe and Russia conference in May. “I’m working on a long-term contract for widebodies,” said Demeny. If the Budapest-based MRO wins the contract, it could build a widebody hangar that might be ready in three years. That one-bay hangar would supplement its two hangars that include six bays.

Aeroplex also is soliciting quotes for new IT systems to target key performance-indicator advances, he says.

Mirjana Tratnjek-Ceh, deputy CEO of Adria Airways Tehnika, is also advocating new IT for efficiencies. “Especially when we do complete packages, we need to give customers full data that can transfer into their systems. No question we need to adopt this,” she says.

Adria Tehnika
Adria Tehnika’s expanding modification work includes its recent installation of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress connectivity system, in conjunction with a combined regular aircraft check, on 16 Germanwings/Eurowings aircraft.
Adria Tehnika’s expanding modification work includes its recent installation of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress connectivity system, in conjunction with a combined regular aircraft check, on 16 Germanwings/Eurowings aircraft.

Magnetic MRO in Estonia “puts a lot of emphasis on innovation” and is capitalizing on the vibrant startup environment (there are 400 startups in Estonia) that surrounds it, says CEO Risto Maeots. The MRO provider, which uses 3D printing for interior cabin parts to support base maintenance activities and generate revenue, also “developed a 3D visioning tool to show customers interior designs virtually,” says Maeots. “In 2013, we started looking at what else we could do besides sell labor,” and Magnetic is now “looking for a hungry software provider that we can partner with . . . to help prepare for new things coming,” he says.

Adding new digital tools is fitting for a region that seems to be on the verge of transition as it considers adding next-gen capabilities and expanding beyond airframe-related work, as well.

Boris Ryback, director of Infomost Consulting, believes there is aftermarket undercapacity in Russia and says 97% of engine MRO, 70% of component maintenance and 100% of widebody overhauls are done outside the country.

Igor Panshin, deputy CEO for sales and planning at Engineering Holding, agrees there is room for MRO expansion in Russia because about half of the market goes to MROs elsewhere. But he cautions that seasonality and other factors need to be considered because simply adding hangars to keep work in-country is not efficient. Engineering Holding is the parent company of two Russian MROs, S7 Engineering and Sibir Technics.

In line with its global MRO forecast, Oliver Wyman predicts that next-generation aircraft in Eastern Europe will comprise more than half of the region’s fleet in 2027—52%, up from 11% today, says Robbie Bourke, a principal with Cavok, a division of  Oliver Wyman. This means MROs will need to ramp up—from training to tooling.

Panshin thinks many MROs from Eastern Europe and Russia are not on track to deliver aftermarket support capabilities for the next generation of aircraft such as the Airbus A350 or Boeing 787. “The OEMs are delivering the product, so MROs need to be more prepared for the future,” says Panshin, “or else we’ll have a technology gap.”

Bourke encourages MROs and suppliers in Eastern Euopre and Russia to “be thinking outside of the region,” such as looking to Asia-Pacific, where the fleet will nearly double over the period. “Developing mature value propositions for non-Eastern European operators will be a key to attracting additional business,” he says, suggesting that MRO providers in this region consider “tapping into some of the $456 million MRO market that is carried out in Asia-Pacific and in China.”

Oliver Wyman’s data forecasts little growth in Eastern Europe, with the fleet growing only to 1,130 in 2027, from 1,144 aircraft this year. “This $3.5 billion market today will only grow 0.6% per year, to $3.7 billion by 2027,” says Bourke, who adds that airframe MRO in the region will basically be stagnant because higher engine costs are driving that modest growth forecast.

Asia-Pacific is Australia's balliwick, but no chance of us competing with one hand tied behind our backs shackled by over-regulation

From the busy world of aviation regulation.

They should be so lucky. Compared with the convoluted Clap Trap what's left of the MRO industry in Australia has to put up with.

Aircraft maintenance may face some regulatory challenges in 2017, especially from the EU.
Henry Canaday | Dec 23, 2016

As 2016 ended, the FAA was working on the final rule for aviation maintenance-technician schools. The agency aims to modernize their curriculums and make it easier to change them in the future.

The FAA also wants to issue a rule for drug and alcohol testing of employees at foreign repair stations, required by 2012 legislation. It seeks to issue a proposed rule in May 2017 and close comments in August.

By July 2017, the FAA intends to publish a proposed rule standardizing regulations and guidance for safety assessments of transport airplanes, harmonizing with the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) approach. By May the agency wants to amend regulations on maintenance of fuel tanks to prevent lightning-induced accidents.

Transport Canada is working on two regulations that might affect aircraft modification. The first would increase the duration of cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recordings to 2 hr., physically separate the CVR from the flight data recorder and require a dedicated, independent power supply for the CVR and cockpit microphone for 10 min. if normal power is lost. The second would ensure that emergency locator transmitters transmit at 406 MHz, in conformity with international standards.

Industry Reactions

Airlines for America (A4A) and 13 other aviation and technical-education organizations object to the direction the FAA is apparently taking in its rulemaking for technician schools. The objectors want, “competency-based guidelines that allow institutions to design programs that match employer needs.” The FAA’s proposed rule mandates course time for each subject, specifies passing norms and student-teacher ratios and requires FAA approval of instructors and any additional instruction. This approach continues the old, unreformed process, wastes time and increases costs, A4A and others say. They would like a flexible program that allows students to progress as they master subjects, regardless of time, place or pace of learning.

Sarah MacLeod executive director of the U.S.’s Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA), is one of the skeptics of the FAA’s training approach. “Rather than specifying compliance, we need to ensure we have the people who can actually do repairs safely in shops and who can turn wrenches,” MacLeod says.

The new regulations would require two years to acquire an aviation maintenance technician certificate. “We do not need to teach to certificate, we need to teach competence,” she says.

MacLeod does not expect the FAA’s final drug-testing rule to come out in 2017. ARSA and others added a qualification to the mandating legislation, that drug tests must be consistent with the laws of each country. “But some countries do not allow their citizens to be tested,” she says. We are not afraid of this rule, but we would like to understand how the FAA is going to split the baby if a country does not allow testing.”

ARSA often focuses on how regulations and rules are interpreted and enforced. On this front, one major focus for the last year and a half has been on aligning the bilateral maintenance agreement the U.S. has with the EU. The bilateral is supposed to avoid unnecessary inspections. “In theory, they want to identify similarities in plain regulatory language, then identify differences and work out special conditions,” says McLeod. “But that is not happening.”
She maintains one reason is that regulators of production, operation and maintenance of aircraft are not working together. “These parts are like arms and hands; you cannot separate them.” This disengagement has caused major inconsistencies and problems in treatment of Form 8130s.

ARSA would prefer such difficulties be straightened out before the U.S. negotiates bilateral maintenance agreements with nations such as Brazil, China or Singapore. The aim is  to reduce Part 145 certificates to fewer than the 91 certificates some ARSA members must now acquire.

ARSA is also concerned with the FAA’s Safety Assessment System, “which was not supposed to change the rules of the game,” McLeod emphasizes. “But it has changed the game for approval and surveillance of certificates.”

The FAA’s preference now is to avoid enforcement actions at the outset, but inspectors use FAA guidance materials, rather than FAA regulations, to determine whether a shop is in compliance. “If you change the guidance materials while training inspectors, they will become more critical,” McLeod says. “You cannot go into a Safety Assessment blind and rearrange the deck chairs. We have a good system.”

She says Canadian regulations are fairly stable and affect a small population of shops. She expects more movement from EASA once its reorganization and reassignment of staff are complete.

EASA Busy In 2017

EASA appears headed for a busy year in 2017. Juan Anton, who manages the agency’s maintenance regulations, says it will be working on several rules related to safety management requirements. These include a Phase 1 rule on introducing such requirements for Continuing Airworthiness Management Organizations (CAMO) and a Phase 2 rule on Safety Management requirements for non-CAMOs that may cover Part 145 production companies.

EASA will also be looking at rules to facilitate cross-border transfers of aircraft. These will include amendments to Part 21 and Part M to guarantee consistency in issuance of a Certificate of Airworthiness and an Airworthiness Review Certificate for aircraft imported into the EU. In addition, EASA will consider amendments to Part M and Part 145 regarding technical records and electronic maintenance records. Finally, Part M will be amended to strengthen the airworthiness review process.

A third area requiring EASA effort in 2017 will be simplifying the licensing of maintenance personnel, especially for new technologies. Licensing requirements will be adapted to the new training and teaching technologies, and EASA will undertake a full review of Part 66 and Part 147 requirements.

EASA also wants to clarify responsibilities of different parties in ensuring the Continuing Airworthiness of aircraft. One rule would clarify the responsibilities of certifying staff, support staff and maintenance personnel, while another would clarify responsibilities of CAMOs and Part 145 maintenance organizations.

Anton stresses that EASA will be working in all these areas in 2017, but final rules will only be issued according to a schedule published on the EASA website by the end of 2016.
There is a petition organised on to be sent to the government. I know some think such things are a waste of time, but hey, nothing else has worked. Just a few moments to sign the petition, can't do any harm, might do some good. 12 months on in the Aviation Hall of Bureaucratic Doom

Alexander Reith
JUN 3, 2017 — To all supporters:-

We have reached 2500 signatures which shows to the outside world that the issue is serious and deserves notice.

If only it could be reported that improvements have been made during the last twelve months.

The truth is that General Aviation (GA) is still staggering under the load of the new rules (2014), in particular Part 61 licensing and Parts 141, 142 training. The ongoing transition to the most convoluted, impractical and complex rules ever devised in Australia is proving to be so expensive and unworkable that even more flying businesses and jobs are certain to be lost.

The Aviation Safety Regulatory Review recommendations have not been implemented except by lip service and some corrective changes to prevent total industry stalling.

Director of Air Safety (a unique & farcical title) Mark Skidmore left suddenly for no apparent reason.

Dept. of Infrastructure senior employee Shane Carmody took over as temporary DAS/CEO with the stated intention, to industry reps at Avalon 2017, to bed down the rules pretty much as is. These criminal sanction rules of strict liability are completely over the top, excessive, and many provisions wouldn't even rate a mention in the USA air rules.

While the USA, home of GA, has legislated to relieve the onerous, expensive and unnecessary medical regime for private flying, our government is "considering" the results of yet another survey.

Minister Darren Chester has issued another anaemic, cut and pasted Statement of Expectations, full of the usual motherhood statements.

The 'independent' Commonwealth Corporate body of CASA needs Ministerial 'Directions', not 'Expectations'.

A suitable start would be to require, by changing the Act, to require CASA to regulate within reasonable parameters of industry health, to simplify, and have adherence to the ICAO model. We could fully adopt the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Treaty thus giving the option to properly integrate with New Zealand.

Instead of action, extraordinarily, he has decided to conduct yet another time and money wasting review as to why GA is in such decline.

Mr. Skidmore was reportedly on about $600,000 p.a. Chairman of the Board of CASA is on $100,000. Many hundreds of $millions and near 30 years down the drain by the regulator, perhaps the longest rewrite of any rule set and still not finished. A futile make work program coupled with GA industry fee extortion at unprecedented levels.

One example:- a nearby flying school was vacated as the principal went to work for CASA. A senior instructor attempts to gain a new flying school certificate (AOC) and pays $8000 upfront to have the CASA model Operators Manual accepted. More than 12 months still not done. USA? AOC and fees not required for independent instructors. No wonder we have lost hundreds of flying schools which are the indispensable foundation of aviation.

We are fully entitled to ask does the current governance model work? Is it value for money? Could GA be a valuable and growing industry employing many more thousands of Australians in productive work?

The lack of flight recency, loss of experienced personnel and the Big Brother fear and stress factors are counterproductive to safety. Rising costs are attributable to a shrinking market base.

Your support to reinvigorate this petition will give weight to our voice for a fair go for GA and demonstrate that we will not give up.

We demand reform, not simply a return to the past, but the freedom to rebuild and enjoy aviation for business and recreation to the betterment of Australia...
"If I may, your honour, please refer to Item #1 in your bundle". Which, I say, proves, categorically that oft history repeated does not teach the lesson, but rather reinforces Einstein’s theory of insanity; the defence rests…
Well K, I guess its a tad like beating a big base drum against playing the spoons. Old Einstein was correct, he was a genius after all, but I can't help thinking every bit of noise, even if its a whisper, falls on an ear somewhere and may just reinforce that straw that broke the camels back.
Interesting article from BCA Magazine digest.
It highlights the difference between the USA and Australia. In the US airports are considered very valuable pieces of public infrastructure. In Australia airports are considered greenfield undeveloped land ripe for exploit by development sharks to build shopping centres on.

Sometimes you come upon a physical construct of such wrongheadedness the question that naturally follows is, “What were they thinking?”

Examples I’ve seen include new housing going up at a military base soon to be closed forever; the chilling J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington; or a Pontiac Aztec, anywhere, among others. You have your own examples, I’m sure.

That question came to mind when I considered the placement of the campus of the Ridgeland-Hardeeville High and Ridgeland Elementary schools. The facilities are less than two miles up Grays Highway from downtown Ridgeland, South Carolina, which is certainly convenient for the teachers, students and their families. But the buildings, which opened to classes five years ago, sit a half mile or less from the north end of and directly in line with Ridgeland-Claude Dean Airport’s Runway 3/21.

Considering that, statistically, takeoffs and landings are the most hazardous phases of flight, why put school kids in the danger zone?  I don’t know what circumstances and considerations were involved at the time of site selection, but I do know one consequence: 3J1 is moving its runway. And for reasons beyond the schools’ nearby location.

First off, at 2,692 feet in length, the single runway is inadequate for most business aircraft. However, the runway is constrained by the highway to the north and a so-called “Great Swamp” to the south, so it has no way to grow. Secondly, there’s the tree. It continues to grow on an airport neighbor’s property and juts into the approach/departure plane. All requests to cut the thing have been spurned; the owner considers it a natural protector of his house from errant aircraft.

When all factors were considered, those things resulted in the decision to build a new 4,200 foot runway, oriented directly north and south, thus keeping aircraft well away from the schools. Once Runway 18/36 is completed in 2018, Runway 3/21 will be closed permanently.

According to James Stephens, the executive director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, that years-long project has involved “soft costs” such as surveying, title research, land valuations, etc., and “hard costs” including land acquisition, grading, construction and such. By the time Runway 18/36 is fully open for business, roughly $20 million will have been invested in it.  

Now, Ridgeland is a fine small town, the proud seat of Jasper County, located off Interstate 95 about 30 mi. northeast of Savannah, Georgia. It has some 4,000 of the county’s 27,000 residents, is the birthplace of Gen. Lloyd “Fig” Newton, the first African-American pilot in the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, houses a medium-security state prison, and is home to the estimable Lowcountry Soaring Association.

All that notwithstanding, the county, which owns the airport, doesn’t have a spare $20 million to spend on a new runway at the general aviation facility. Fortunately, the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP) does, mostly.

Although created in 1982, the AIP traces it roots back to 1946 when the federal government embarked on a program to develop and improve public-use airports across the country. Today’s program, funded through user fees, fuel taxes and other revenue sources, continues that tradition and for that same purpose.

Basically the program reimburses eligible, public-use airports for capital expenditures, including runways, taxiways, ramps, fencing, signage, lighting, tree clearing, airline passenger terminals and such, and associated costs. The feds underwrite 90% of the bill, with the proviso that the airport then must maintain the improvements for the next 20 years.

Further, in South Carolina and elsewhere, the state will pony up for 5% of the cost, which means the airport owner gets a 95% discount on the final tab. Thus Jasper Countians’ new $20 million airport improvement will cost them $1 million. A pretty good deal by any measure.

The AIP outlays some $3.35 billion in grants annually, a figure Mark Kimberling, president and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials, would like to see increased, as would South Carolina’s Stephens.

President Donald Trump has promoted the idea of investing $1 trillion in transportation infrastructure improvements, including airports. However, he’s tied that to public/private partnerships. Maybe high-traffic ports like LaGuardia, Atlanta-Hartsfield and LAX can deliver the returns hedge funders might demand, but 3J1? I think not.

Kimberling describes such facilities as “the heart” of our national airports system and their sustenance relies on traditional funding through the AIP, which both he and Stephens say the FAA manages with competence.

So, what were those government planners thinking so many years ago? That airports are valuable transportation assets and deserve a national support system. Good thinking, indeed.
This one tickled my fancy:

WELCOME to 2017
� Our Phones - Wireless
� Cooking - Fireless
� Cars - Keyless
� Food - Fatless
� Tires -Tubeless
� Dress - Sleeveless
� Youth -  Jobless
� Leaders - Shameless
� Relationships - Meaningless
� Attitudes - Careless
� Babies - Fatherless
� Feelings -  Heartless
� Education - Valueless
� Children – Mannerless

Government-is CLUELESS,
And our Politicians-are WORTHLESS!

I'm  scared – Shitless

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