Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, November 17, 2011

Town Talk: UPDATE: Kasold to be fully open by Wed.; Budding business hopes to teach people how to live green; new master plan includes millions for Lawrence airport; parachutists vs. pilots

November 17, 2011, 9:56 a.m. Updated November 17, 2011, 11:02 a.m.

Advertisement

Subscribe to the Town Talk email edition

Subscribe to the email edition of Town Talk and we'll deliver you the latest city news and notes every weekday at noon.

News and notes from around town:

• UPDATE: The construction cones are about to come down on Kasold Drive between Clinton Parkway and 31st Street.

The city will have the road completely open to all traffic by Wednesday. The rebuilding of Kasold Drive has been underway since December 2010, and has included one-way traffic and multiple turning restrictions.

Motorists should start noticing a difference on Friday. Crews will open both northbound and southbound lanes to traffic, but the will still be intermittent lane closures until Wednesday. Crews also will be back next spring for a short period of time to apply permanent striping to the road, which can not be done now due to cold temperatures.

• I believe it was Kermit The Frog who said, “It ain’t easy being green.” Well, there’s an area entrepreneur who is building a business around the idea of helping people learn how to be green. Tamara Fairbanks-Ishmael has filed for the necessary permits to open Good Earth Gatherings on her rural property that is just south of Haskell Avenue extended and Wells Overlook Road. The business will offer evening classes on a variety of healthy and sustainable living topics, such as safe and easy food preservation, nature printing, fung shui for the home, natural fiber dying, freeing creativity with art journaling, holiday decorating with natural products, and gifts from the garden. (If she can figure out how to make a weed a gift, I’m set for several Christmases to come.) Fairbanks-Ishmael got the idea for the business after recently starting the Kaw Valley Herbs Study Group. She said interest in that group that meets once a month has been strong, with nearly 50 people showing up for some meetings.

“I think there is just a groundswell of interest in how to empower yourself to live more holistically,” said Fairbanks-Ishmael, who used to be a teacher in the Lawrence Public School system.

Fairbanks-Ishmael needs to win approval from both the Planning Commission and the Douglas County Commission before she can open her business at her home at 858 E. 1500 Road. She hopes to begin offering classes by fall 2012.

• On Wednesday, I wrote about how boring documents such as area plans — like the one for the apartment area near Clinton Parkway and Crossgate — can have real-life implications. Same goes for master plans. City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting approved a master plan that technically puts the city on track to spend $2.2 million worth of local funds on airport improvements over the next five years. The city’s new airport master plan calls for an extended taxiway, an extended runway, extended parking areas for airplanes and several other projects. Now, whether the city does all those projects is highly debatable. But they might. The city’s airport may not land big commercial jets, but it does land a lot of federal dollars. The Federal Aviation Administration will provide grants for many airport improvements, and the feds will pay for upwards of 90 percent of the project’s cost. But you can’t apply for the grants unless you have a master plan, thus this new master plan. During the next 20 years, the master plan calls for about $35 million worth of projects at the airport — with about $6 million of that coming from the city. Projects include everything from more T-hangars to an expansion of the airport’s terminal. The master plan also sets aside several lots on the airport property itself to be used for businesses that want to locate at the airport. We’ve previously reported that an area helicopter company and a aviation design firm both have interest in locating at the airport. The city even has spent significant money extending city water service to the airport. But the last I heard, the economy had slowed interest from both those companies for the time being.

The master plan also predicts future activity at the airport. Currently there are 60 aircraft based at the airport. By 2030, planners predict there will be 90, including three business jets, up from one today. The total number of operations — things such as takeoffs and landings — are expected to grow from about 32,000 today to about 45,000 in 2030.

• Planes vs. parachutes — I know which one I would rather use. But there is quite a debate going on regarding whether a parachute company should be allowed to use the Lawrence Municipal Airport as a landing zone. An area businessman by the name of William McCauley wants to use the airport for a business where he takes up parachute enthusiasts who then do what parachute enthusiasts do — jump out of a plane. (My wife has been trying to get me to take up that hobby for years. She would even pack my parachute for me.) But McCauley also wants to use the airport property as a landing zone for the parachutists. City airport leaders have balked at the idea, which has really made McCauley mad. He says that since the city accepts all this federal grant money to improve the airport, it can’t discriminate against legitimate aviation activities at the airport. A consulting firm hired by the city to create the master plan said this week that McCauley is right about that. But the consultants also said the FAA gives airports the ability to make reasonable rules and regulations. The consultants said they had concerns about a parachute company regularly using the airport as a landing zone. The airport property is small enough that any place a parachutists lands will be pretty close to a runway. That means that aircraft in the area will have to be notified not to use the airport during those specific time periods. Because the Lawrence airport operates without an air traffic control tower, that communication becomes a bit more difficult. The consultants said the city may need to consider setting aside a few days a year where the parachute activity could take place, but likely wouldn’t be required to allow it on a regular basis. McCauley thinks the city is being unreasonable, and has filed a complaint with the FAA. The city has responded to the complaint, but a timeline hasn’t been determined for when the FAA may weigh in on the issue.

Comments

ljwhirled 3 years, 1 month ago

The new street looks great and should stand up for years to come.

Thanks to Chuck and his crew for getting this done.

LogicMan 3 years, 1 month ago

"an extended taxiway, an extended runway, extended parking areas for airplanes and several other projects. Now, whether the city does all those projects is highly debatable. But they might. The city’s airport may not land big commercial jets"

Would these improvements make it more feasible for basketball teams to fly in and out of Lawrence? Or football teams? I remember Penn State had to improve its airport as part of the deal to join the Big 10.

Chad Lawhorn 3 years, 1 month ago

My understanding is that none of the improvements would make it very feasible for large commercial jets to land at the airport. But I think it would do more to help the largest of business jets use the airport. The master plan ultimately calls for the main runway to be extended to 7,000 feet. So some aviation folks that read this might be able to shed some light on what type of aircraft that would handle. Thanks, Chad

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

"The city has responded to the complaint, but a timeline hasn’t been determined for when the FAA may weigh in on the issue."

BTW, not correct reporting Chad, I have a safety study that was conducted by the FAA and that states, clearly & very well, we could operate safely on that airport and every reason the city claimed why we couldn't was bogus.

The city then choose to try to tell the FAA, based on a handful of lies by Richard Haig to the city, that they (the FAA) don't know what their talking about in the safety study, and the city refuses to comply with FAA regulations on airport compliance of federal funded airports. The FAA has gone on to investigate these additional acts of non compliance in more detail and those findings are what is pending in the part 13 informal complaint process.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

All you need is a 5,000 foot runway to very safely take off and land with a jumbo jet.

In 1984, the airport at Lincoln, Nebraska had a runway that was 5,000 feet long, and that was considered to be a very long runway. In fact, that very long runway was why we were flight testing the Gulfstream III business jet there.

Jumbo jets full of passengers were taking off and landing all day long on that 5,000 foot runway.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

This was cool! I wasn't on the jet for this, but with a very light load and a full power takeoff, the Gulfstream III was at 5,000 feet at the end of the 5,000 foot runway!

Of course, a jumbo jet can't possibly do such a thing, that's like comparing a school bus to a Corvette.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

With a 7,000 foot runway, the problem with jumbo jets using the airport would not be limited by the runway's length, but rather due to the services available here, such as fueling, ground crew, and aviation mechanics available to do the last moment checkups to ensure that there are no possible problems with the jet before takeoff.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

I need to qualify those runway length numbers:

A Boeing 747 requires a 10,466 foot runway at maximum capacity.
That allows for emergency factors. Actual takeoff distance will normally be considerably shorter than that.

So, no 747 Boeings will be landing at or taking off from the Lawrence airport anytime soon.

The Boeing 727 requires a 4,500 foot runway.

A short-field design package is available for the 737-600, -700, and -800, allowing operators to fly increased payload to and from airports with runways under 5,000 feet.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

I don't think we need the Boeing 747 here anyway. How often do 524 passengers fly out of Lawrence at the same time?

gatekeeper 3 years, 1 month ago

I've done a few jumps and we've always landed back at the airport where the plane took off. I live not too far from the airport and there isn't that much plane traffic there. I'd be thrilled if I could start doing jumps locally by my house. For those who have ever thought of jumping, go do it! Best rush ever.

d_prowess 3 years, 1 month ago

I feel stupid asking this question, but I don't think I understand the usage of the airport. If there are 32,000 operations a year, does that mean then on average there are about 87 take-offs or landings at the Lawrence airport every day?! That number seems huge, so I feel like I am not understanding this properly.

gatekeeper 3 years, 1 month ago

Since there is no control tower, do all the aircraft taking off and landing just communicate with each other to make sure there are no crashes? Somehow, all the aircraft have to communicate to make sure two planes aren't going to come in too close to each other. Well, since you go up in a plane to parachute from it, why couldn't the pilot inform other planes via his radio that he has people ready to jump? Once you jump (around here, about 10K is normal), it only takes about 4-5 to be back on the ground. So, it would be an inconvenience for other pilots for a few minutes here and there when someone jumps? Right now, you have to go to KC to jump. Wouldn't it be nice to have people bring that money here instead of going to KC? Jumping isn't cheap.

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

See Advisory Circular 90-66a operating at an uncontrolled airport and appendix # 3 (last page)

Advisory Circular - AC 90-66A
AC Number: 90-66A Date: 08/26/1993

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/74c9017c9457e4ab862569d800780551/$FILE/AC90-66A.pdf

Subject: Recommended Standards Traffic Patterns for Aeronautical Operations at Airports without Operating Control Towers

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

"there is quite a debate going on regarding whether a parachute company should be allowed to use the Lawrence Municipal Airport as a landing zone"

I don't see any problem with that at all, provided the parachute company meets this one single requirement:

They must purchase and keep current a $100 million blanket liability insurance policy that covers 100% of any injuries to anyone or any incident that results in property damage, and a $1 million dollar payout to the family for the death of anyone that is killed, including any parachutist, regardless of circumstances.

A few years back, the City of Lawrence's insurance company had to pay $1 million for an incident that was obviously due to the negligence of a City employee. There was no possible defense for his actions. (I personally know the family involved, and the amount was published in the Lawrence Journal World at the time.)

After that, the City of Lawrence had to self insure, meaning that if there had been another similar incident, the property owners in Lawrence would have been the ones to pay, by having their property taxes raised.

That one incident is why the City of Lawrence was unable to buy liability insurance at any price from anyone in the past, but I don't know if that is still the case. It is possible that today there is an insurance company that is willing to take on the liability risk of the City of Lawrence.

Should the City of Lawrence expose itself to such a liability risk again?

That's the question.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

If jumping is safe, that policy would be cheap, right?

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

$10 million won't nearly cut it, because that would not even be close to the cost of a business jet, if one were to be lost due to jumping activities.

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

Gee Ron, just how many times in the last 92 years has that happened any where in the world?

ZERO!

Might want to check your facts there Ron....

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

NICE try Ron, now how about you go find one of those crashed business jet's your talking about and not a jump aircraft accident.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

That does not mean it can never happen. Of course, if it does ever happen, I'm sure the property owners will understand why they suddenly have to pay so much in taxes for a few years.

Because it had never happened before.

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

Yea airplanes crash they carry hull insurance, cover the PAX inside in the event of a crash, what is your point other then talk smack and dream up some nutcase over the top insurance crap that is not any place close to the real world everyone else lives in and has nothing to do with those two crashes your linking.

But again, nice try.

So instead of dodging the question, where are all those business jet crashes caused by skydivers at anytime in the last 92 years. You can't because there are no cases of any commercial jets or business jets crashing from skydivers flying in the air.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

Then, insurance will be free! What's the problem?

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

The City of Lawrence has already been hit with $1,000,000 once. That's enough.

I don't think the taxpayers want to have their money gambled with, even though the odds appear to be good.

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

The only problem you seem to ignorant to understand Ron, there is no coverage for the act of jumping out of a plane, there is coverage in the airplane ride and while on the ground it's self and for any event such as some one were to hit your parked car or airplane or land in your corn field should that happen.

You on the other hand seem to want to demand some unreasonable and unobtainable insurance requirement that is beyond aviation industry standards.... your so well informed, better hot foot it on down to Cromwells and get you a seat on the LAAB, you'll fit right in.

And as for wasting tax payer monies, how about losing the 13.5 million in FAA funding because you and your airport buddies want to be play ground bullies and pick and choose who can use a public funded airport and now that you get call on it you want call foul ball.... If the city of Lawrence dose not want to play by the rules for all aviation users, then repay the US tax payers/AIP funding grants, 11.5 million plus interest and also don't ask for another 13.5 in tax payer monies and then you can have a big R on the sectional map and have the little private country club airport, where only the select few are welcome that you all seem to want.

Also what part of federal funding don't you seem to understand Ron? It's of the people, by the people, for the people..... RON.... not, of the people, by the people, but only for some of the people, some of the time!

It's called discrimination.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

City of Lawrence Insurance Policies

The Risk Management Division manages a portfolio of insurance coverages to protect City property and operations from a variety of potential loss exposures. The program is intended to secure insurance coverage that will minimize the adverse effects of accidental and operational losses on the City of Lawrence. Such insurance coverages include:

Airport Operation Liability Boiler/Machinery Breakage Excess Workers' Compensation Property Fire and Casualty Public Entity Liability

The above clipped from: http://lawrenceks.org/risk_management


The City of Lawrence is taking on the risk for the airport operations. But as far as I know of, there has been only one large claim that was successfully made made against the city, and that was for $1 million.

But that's pocket change, because the city will just raise property taxes if there's a problem.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

I think that the Vinland airport would be much more suitable for skydiving. It's only a few miles away, and if it was used the City of Lawrence would be shielded from any liability at all.

The only problem with it is that it's a turf runway.

pace 3 years, 1 month ago

I like the idea of an incubator for green and holistic life style and businesses. I wish her luck.

Shaunsmith_99 3 years, 1 month ago

Without a control Tower, Airman use radios to communicate intentions in the area. Skydivers use the same general rules for airspace that an aircraft uses. For example, when a pilot begins approach and decent to land, he/she will radio into the local frequency and communicate with all other aircraft. Skydiving is no different. Jump pilots communicate with other traffic in the area and announce before allowing the skydivers to clilmb out of the aircraft. Parachutists deploy their parachutes and enter a traffic pattern just as a pilot would: Crosswind leg, downwind leg, baseleg, final approach. It's false to assume that skydiving and aircraft cannot coexist. For example, many large and successful dropzones operate on public airport with aviation school and see general aviation traffic far heavier than Lawrence will. Why the city assumes that they must 'Shut down' a few times a year to allow jumpers is beyond me, because skydivers follow the same rules of everyone else. Airports do not 'shut down' because skydivers are in the air, and Skydivers/Pilots share responsibility for communicating who is in the pattern. If an aircraft needs to land, parachutists will circle until the airspace is empty. If an aircraft comes in after the jumpers have left the plane but before they have landed, the pilot will do a go-around, just as they would if another aircraft was taking off or landing. By the same token, Lawrence does recieve Federal Funding to Maintain that airport, and in doing so has agreed not to discriminate against legitimte aviation activites. By refusing to allow parachutes to land at the airport, they have broken their contract. Why the City of Lawrence is fighting this makes no sense at all.....

pilotjumper 3 years, 1 month ago

It's obvious that Lawrence City officials illegally denying parachuting activity at Lawrence Municipal Airport has deep roots in dirty politics. I believe a rational public servant, with a mind towards the future, would undoubtedly come to a different conclusion than exhibited in the past. Unfortunately, it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

Skydiving, with all the associated risks, is safer today than ever. The US Parachute Association (http://www.uspa.org/), has gained international respect for their licensing and safety programs dating back to 1946. Skydivers today come from all walks of life; professionals, students, public servants, aviators, and the like. They follow the rules, they train, they practice safety, the mitigate the risks. In fact, nothing comes without risk. Working on a car, playing golf, jogging, bicycling, flying, etc all have risks. Mr. Holzwarth's suggested minimum insurance is ludicrous; using his logic, I'd unrealistically suggest that all bicycles operated in Lawrence be equipped with anti-lock brakes, air-bags, and a force field that prevents one from hitting a stationary object. Might I suggest a review of this Ally Bank commercial (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suBGbef5p3g) for further inspiration.

For the record, among many other things, I am an instructor pilot, an aircraft owner, a skydiver, a father, and a husband. I enjoy safely living life to its fullest, which does not include locking myself in the basement away from all the world has to offer in the name of safety; nor does it include being reckless and endangering others. I don’t drink and drive, I don’t text and drive, and I don’t stifle other’s desire to pursue recreational activities.

However, if a Lawrence city official asked me what they could do for their city and constituents, I would tell them to promote activity in Lawrence. I would welcome people to visit Lawrence, visit the airport, buy gas, lunch, and lodging from local businesses. I would promote new start-up businesses who will have to hire mechanics, fuel distributors, parachute packers, advertisers, and bankers. I would not inhibit progress in the name of insurance requirements or unfounded risks of aircraft colliding with parachutists in the landing pattern. Again, as an active pilot, I have no fears about flying near parachutists and I teach my students the same; however I do have a fear of having a head-on collision with a 16-year old texting while we travel towards each other at 120 mph only separated by a few feet on each side of that yellow line.

Thank you for reading thus far. Rather than making up reasons defending the unfounded historical no, my suggestion is for everyone involved to take another approach and spend efforts on getting to a solution.

-The Pilot Jumper

Jump_a_random_dz 3 years, 1 month ago

Here's my take on the situation:

You don't need a control tower to operate a safe and productive drop zone.  Most airports without a control tower would welcome the possibility of bringing in a small turbine aircraft that has the potential to add 30-60 total take offs and landings a day, which could almost double the airports current statistics.

http://www.skydivemilwaukee.com/ -doesn't have a tower, operates a pac750 turbine all summer and a Cessna 182 all winter.

http://www.skydivecsc.com/ - owner Douglas Smith just recently relocated to Rochelle IL / Koritz Field.  The community provided overwhelming suport and the airport welcomes the two turbines (Twin Otter& pac750) which will be hangered in a new state of the art hanger and facilities that will make it a top rated drop zone!

I still like our (Seven Hills Skydivers of Madison WI) short grass runway and two Cessna 182s!!  We are just a few miles from kmsn and they provide suport!  Skydiving is an amazing sport with a safety record that is better than any non-skydiver would ever believe.  Please visit the USPA website for their great resources and information!!

Thanks for your time, Gene

DBSwooper 3 years, 1 month ago

Modern skydiving is far removed from what is and has been depicted in the movies and media. It is a sporting activity that many people across the world enjoy. An added benefit is the increased funding. Each parachute activity counts as an aviation activity. Each aviation activity counts towards increased funding. With a small dropzone that runs a single 182, it is possible to have on the upwards of 10,000 reported landings (each parachutist counts as a landing) over the course of a year. That is 10,000 landings on airports that would only count 1,000 to 2,000 landings with out a dropzone. That increased activity means there is a higher possibility for increased funding. Increased funding means more improvements for an airport, which can bring more pilots, more planes and more opportunities to increase the local tax base.

Shaunsmith_99 3 years, 1 month ago

To Ron ~ if your logic is correct, than any user of the Lawrence should carry the same liability Insurance. Any pilot that takes off, lands, or enters the airspace of Larwrence much purchase $100 Million blanket Liability Insurance and pay $1,000,000 immediatly to the family of any person injured in a flight to/from Lawrence.

Why would you put this constrait on one business an not on the other? What's the difference between flying an aircraft and exiting one with a certified parachute? According to the FAA, nothing. They are both classified as legitimate aviation activites. Why you would even suggest that one be required to purchase an unattainable insurance policy (not a single one of the 250+ dropzones in the US carry this insurance....) is discrimination. Lets require ALL aerospace activities to carry $100,000,000 Insurance policy.

BoeingDiver 3 years, 1 month ago

In this economy all small airports need all the business they can get. Skydivers tend to have disposable income that is spent skydiving. A typical modern skydiving "rig" has the harness and container $2000, main parachute $2000, reserve parachute $1200, automatic activation device on the reserve $1500, misc. jumpsuits helmets altimeters and other gear about $1000. Some skydivers have multiple rigs, suits, helmets, etc. Skydivers travel from great distances in many cases to get to a dropzone and spend their weekends there. Many of those people bring a lot of money to local businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and any activities that their families may enjoy while the jump is at the dropzone. As mentioned by others, there is also a boost in the numbers of landings and takeoffs far beyond what those 60 aircraft that spend most of their time in hangers or on their tie downs. All that activity is good to get extra money from the FAA to support the airport. One person seems to believe that skydiving is super dangerous and wants outlandish insurance carried. Sorry but that is a red herring that no other aviation activity is required to carry. Learn to share the airspace Ron. It will provide you with a far better facility in the long run.

tsunamisky 3 years, 1 month ago

When an airport sponsor accepts federal funding, they are held to certain standards in the FAA Airport Compliance Handbook. These laws cover all aspects of aeronautical activities, which skydiving is included along with other users such as flight schools and aircraft mechanical services. This cover many issues called Grant Assurances. One of them is Grant Assurance 22 that discusses economic discrimination and airport access. To deny access by a skydiving company, the airport sponsor actually is breaking the federal laws regarding the operation of the airport. Public funding means just that, it is open to the public for all types of aeronuatical users. An FAA ruling was just done in California where the airport sponsor tried to require soimething that doesn't exist, a large insurance policy to cover skydiving. The airport sponsor denied access on this basis and lost a Part 16 FAA process. The skydiving company prevailed. There are about 240 United States Parachute Association Group member Drop Zones in America. Most of them are on public airports. All of these drop zones operate according to known industry standards for safety. Participants all sign hold harmless agreements. There is a USPA third party insurance that covers damage done by a jumper to private or public property, there is an entire Part 105 section in the FAA FAR's that cover skydiving. For an airport sponsor to deny access based on safety issues, it must get that ruling from the FAA. Skydiving at an airport is the safest place to jump. This has been proven many times over. For a sponsor to deny access or make it difficult for a businessman is ludicrous. The sponsor will benefit, the surrounding business community will benefit, the local jumpers will benefit, the local FBO will benefit. Government needs to stop interferring with business.

obx_mike 3 years, 1 month ago

I was going to jump on the bandwagon to comment on how the City of Lawrence and the Airport would benefit financially by allowing skydiving operations at the airport, but if you have read this far in the thread and still think it is a bad idea, you aren't interested in factual information. I am a pilot and a skydiver. The activities go together well especially at a small uncontrolled airport. As a group, skydivers and pilots are extremely safety conscience and show each other mutual respect. A skydiving operation brings in much needed cash to the local economy, and as it has been mentioned already, the airport or FBO definitely benefits. The best comment I've read so far is, "Learn to share the airspace Ron. It will provide you with a far better facility in the long run." I couldn't have said it better myself.

pmcx 3 years, 1 month ago

I don't see any reason to try to stop someone from opening a new business. Let the owner work with the FAA and the city to show how parachuting can be integrated into airport operations. It is done at plenty of other airports around the country. One just has to see whether there is enough space on this airport property to separate aircraft and parachutes. While anyone can ask that question, it should be answered by those who have experience with such operations.

billvon 3 years, 1 month ago

A few comments on the airport issue:

One of the requirements for safe separation between skydivers and pilots is a separate pattern. Right now all four runway patterns at Lawrence are left fraffic (i.e. pilots always make left turns in the pattern.) By changing the pattern to right traffic for 1/33 and left traffic for 15/19 - and keeping the jump runs and parachute patterns on the left side of the airport - you would achieve separation of patterns between both activities. No need to shut anything down.

Skydiving peacefully coexists with general aviation at dozens of airfields across the country. It does take some effort to do this safely, but it takes effort to make any two aviation activities compatible; if a twin engine business jet can share an airport with a Cessna 152, both can share it with skydivers.

eyewingsuit 3 years, 1 month ago

It's unfortunate the headline reads "Parachutists vs Pilots" as many parachutists ARE pilots. Parachutists and pilots share the air at over 200 dropzones in the USA, some of them very busy airports with many takeoffs/landings every day. Not only can parachutists and pilots coexist, they can provide economical benefit. A well-run skydiving operation becomes a tourist destination and offers a place for residents to view a fun and mainstream activity. Skydivers certainly understand safety.

The FBO benefits from fuel sales, ramp fees, and safe operations of parachuting businesses may be easily demonstrated through statistics over the past 50 years. The community benefits from an exciting, interesting activity.

bliddel 3 years, 1 month ago

The problem with big commercial airliners is not so much the length of the longer runway (15/33), but rather the thickness and strength of the concrete. The big airliners weigh too much, and their landings would dramatically shorten the life of our Lawrence Runways.

The problem with Mr. McCauley is not so much parachuting per se, though the additional operations he would bring to the airport would all occur on weekends, such as race weekends and KU sports weekends, when traffic is already very high.

Another problem is that once skydivers are in the air, they pretty much own the sky. If LifeFlight helicopters gets a dispatch during that time, they must wait until the canopies are on the ground before they leave the ground. No big deal? Yeah, if you aren’t the wounded car accident victim who might DIE due to the delay. Active skydiving at Lawrence would probably drive LifeFlight (a valued airport tenant) away.

The real problem with Mr. McCauley is that he is trying to catch flies with hydrofluoric acid, instead of honey.

You can fix ignorance. You cannot fix stupid, and I don’t think you can fix persistent blatant open hostility either. Mr. McCauley seems to have come here to start a war, and not to promote safe skydiving.

Starting a new business in Lawrence is difficult. Educating government types about risks and rewards is sometimes difficult, and often frustrating. But trying to do that by means of harassment, insults, and lawsuits against government officials, well… Mr. McCauley is simply not welcome in Lawrence, and never will be, unless he has a sea-change of heart.

I hope he finds a better way.

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

(quote) You can fix ignorance. You cannot fix stupid, and I don’t think you can fix persistent blatant open hostility either. (quote)

You mean like having Richard Haig lie about speaking to the FAA and they told him there was no useable airspace in all of Douglas County for skydiving operations, or then lying to the city about his meeting with FAA inspector Joe Behrends on 4-20-10, where Richard claims this inspector told him verbally and not in writing information that was to have reversed of the safety study Mr. Behrends had done. According to the Letter from manger of the Wichita FSDO, this claim Mr. Haig is making and advising the city on as fact is a lie.... I have that in writing, I have the safety study in writing, Richard Haig on the other had has nothing in writing and only the lies that come out of his mouth.

Or how about the conflict of interest of one Richard Bryant, who on May 6th 2009 was not only the chairman of the LAAB, but an employee of ADG the airport consulting firm, who made claims skydivers can't land in an OFA or RSA, yet a quick check of AC 105-2D states other wise. You would think a guy who's job it is to advise the city and is employed as a airport consultant in matters of airport compliance would be well versed in airport compliance, yet clearly based on his public statements it is clear he is 1. without a clue or 2, playing the good old boy club and hoping I would go away, just like how they ran off skydive KS in 2005.

(quote) Mr. McCauley seems to have come here to start a war, and not to promote safe skydiving. (quote)

And you want to point the finger at me and claim I came here for a fight, I'm not the one who held a KKK like meeting on May 6th 2009, pretty hard to have a factual talk to city advisory members and the airport manger, about how to safely promote skydiving with people like that running the show, these are the same people who want to tell the FAA I can't land in the grass because the under ground power lines. I'm not the one spreading lie and misinformation like every member of the airport advisory board and Chuck Soules to the city commissioners.

I'm not the one using repeated lies and misinformation to advise the city on federal aviation laws and matters of grant funding contracts, if in your eyes me exercising my legal rights to contact the ADO and file a complaint, as choosing to pick a fight, well then that is your point of view. I have made a number of reasonable attempts to be cordial in my dealing with the city. The fact of the matter is the FAA agrees with me and has stated so in writing, your advisory board members however on the other hand hand have done nothing but pick a fight and tell lies to the city, I can not help it that their actions have lead to the FAA being forced to take action on behalf of all aviation activities under the AIP funding contract grant assurances. You might try reading them sometime.

pmcx 3 years, 1 month ago

Biddell wrote: "Another problem is that once skydivers are in the air, they pretty much own the sky." In that case, we might as well keep private cars off roads. They just clog the roads during rush hour, and when I need an ambulance, I don't want the slightest delay. It really still comes down to having procedures where skydivers and pilots (including of any air ambulance) can be using different areas of the airport property simultaneously.

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

Bilddel, in case you missed it: http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentID/1019204

"(2) Parachute Landings on Airports. Airports may designate suitable parachute landing areas. While skydivers attempt to land in such areas, at times there may be inadvertent landings in other grass or hard-surfaced areas. This could include landings on runways, taxiways, and other hard-surfaced areas. Areas such as runways, taxiways, clearways, and obstacle-free zones are not prohibited areas but should not be designated as a primary landing area and should be vacated as soon as practical. Flying a parachute over runways at low altitudes should be avoided where possible. The FAA recommends that airport management work with parachute operators to develop standard operating procedures (SOP) for activities conducted by parachutists."

Do you see where it says we can land in OFA's, Taxiways, runways, clearways, are not PROHIBITED areas! and that little but at the end about " THE FAA recommends that airport management work with parachute operators to develop standard operating procedures (SOP) for activities conducted by parachutists." Dose that say anything holding a public hearing ran by the airport board?

TheBigW 3 years, 1 month ago

While we are at it Bilddel'

Also: http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/3df9402e6cae52048625725d00699cb2/$FILE/150_5190_6.pdf

a. Exclusive Rights Violations "1. Restrictions Based on Safety and Efficiency. An airport sponsor can deny a prospective aeronautical service provider the right to engage in an on-airport aeronautical activity for reasons of safety and efficiency. A denial based on safety must be based on evidence demonstrating that airport safety will be compromised if the applicant is allowed to engage in the proposed aeronautical activity. Airport sponsors should carefully scrutinize the safety reasons for denying an aeronautical service provider the opportunity to engage in an aeronautical activity if the denial has the possible effect of limiting competition. The FAA is the final authority in determining what, in fact, constitutes a compromise of safety. As such, an airport sponsor that is contemplating the denial of a proposed on-airport aeronautical activity is encouraged to contact the local Airports District Office (ADO) or the Regional Airports Office. Those offices will then seek assistance from FAA Flight Standards (FS) and Air Traffic (AT) to assess the reasonableness of the proposed action and whether unjust discrimination results from the proposed restrictions on aeronautical activities because of safety and efficiency. 3"

Do you see that part where it says: "The FAA is the final authority in determining what, in fact, constitutes a compromise of safety." That means Richard Bryant & Richard Haig are not the ones who get to decide if skydivers can conduct operations on KLWC.

In fact you think Mr. Bryant employee of airport development group would understand the fiduciary obligation to follow the FAA rules:

"an airport sponsor that is contemplating the denial of a proposed on-airport aeronautical activity is encouraged to contact the local Airports District Office (ADO) or the Regional Airports Office. Those offices will then seek assistance from FAA Flight Standards (FS) and Air Traffic (AT) to assess the reasonableness of the proposed action and whether unjust discrimination results from the proposed restrictions on aeronautical activities because of safety and efficiency."

So as you can see, the city should have contacted the ADO not me, but seeing how they want to play games, I will take care of it on behalf of all aviation users.

tsunamisky 3 years, 1 month ago

Skydivers don't own the sky. They share the sky with other aeronautical users. A medical helicopter would never be delayed because parachutes are in the sky.

Many of the biggest drop zones in the US have multiple aircraft flying In harmony with other aircraft at non towered airports on very busy weekends. That is a non issue.

SStewart 3 years, 1 month ago

In Utah we have the largest commercial skydiving operation in the state operating on the Ogden-Hinkley airport. This is the second largest commercial airport in the entire state second only to Salt Lake International. We are right next door to Hill air Force base which is one of the most active US Air Force bases in the country. Our skydiving operation flies about 25 loads of skydivers in a cessna grand caravan every day in a class B airspace. We have no problem co-existing with the other traffic in the area. We have been doing this since 1993.

In addition to this the United States Forest Service has it's regional hub located just two hangars down from our hangar and they maintain and operate multiple large aircraft during the summer months for their firefighting operations. Smokejumper aircraft, lead planes, helicopters, you name it.

Our airport also has multiple flight schools, helicopter operations, and it is a big source to our local economy. This is a very busy airport and skydivers are a big asset to the local economy

Mr Holzwarth seems to be very mis-informed and totally ignorant of the subject matter being discussed here. Federal law dictates that all federally funded airports provide EQUAL access to all, not just the ones he likes or approves of.

By putting unreasonable and un-obtainable restrictions on certain airport users based on nothing that is justifiable you will be in direct violation of federal law. Plain and simple.

The smart thing to do here is to cooperate, follow the law, and be reasonable.

Scott Stewart USPA Safety and Training Advisor

Commenting has been disabled for this item.