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Airport rules, regulations revised

By Staff
New sections address parachute jumping, ultra-light aircraft
By MIKE VOSS
Contributing Editor
The rules and regulations for Warren Field Airport, owned by the city, have been revised.
The Washington City Council adopted the modified rules and regulations earlier this month.
New activities such as parachute jumping at the airport prompted the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation to recommend the city’s rules and regulations regarding the airport be revised to reduce the city’s liability for activities at the airport.
Major changes to the airport’s rules and regulations include new definitions of airport-related items, revision of the fueling-operations section, modifications of the fire-regulations section, a new section pertaining to ultra-light aircraft, a new section regarding parachute jumping/skydiving and a new section governing hangar rentals.
The revised document contains 19 sections and 29 pages.
The rules and regulations are intended to be the threshold entry requirements, minimum standards for those wishing to use and/or provide aeronautical services and to insure that those who have undertaken to use and/or provide commodities and services as approved are not exposed to unfair or irresponsible practices,” reads the first section. “These rules and regulation were developed taking into consideration the aviation role of the Warren Field Airport facilities that currently exist at the airport, services being offered at the airport, the future development planned for the airport and to promote fair use at the airport.”
The section on parachute jumping and skydiving states the airport manager will designate a drop zone “as the point of intended landing” for all parachute jumps “onto or intended to be onto the airport.”
The city is working to make the airport as self-sufficient, if not profitable, as possible. The airport, operated by the city as an enterprise fund, lost $1,317 during fiscal year 2006-2007, which ran from July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007, according to an audit report. In fiscal year 2005-2006, the airport lost $262,338, according to an audit report.
The city also has a five-year plan to implement improvements at the airport. That plan has been submitted to the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation. The plan addresses improvements needed to meet DOA’s minimum standards. Such plans are used by DOT to allocate state funds to airports and federal funds DOA receives for airport projects in the state.
The proposed plan for 2009-2013 calls for spending up to $7.72 million during the five-year period. The plan does not commit local money to pay for the recommended improvements.
The council has instructed city staff to aggressively seek funding sources such as grants and low-interest loans to help pay for airport improvements
The city’s plan will be reviewed and used by the Division of Aviation as it allocates state funds and federally funded grants to airports in the state.
For more than a year, the Division of Aviation has recommended the city pursue projects that total $3.34 million, which would be phased in during the next several years time frame. The division would like to see an additional $4.485 million in “requested” projects, also to be accomplished in phases, come to fruition in that same period of time.
The recommended projects include lengthening the main runway by 500 feet, acquiring land for runway protection zones and lighting for approaches, taxiways and apron edges. The requested projects include building T-hangars and corporate hangars, acquiring a runway sweeper and runway repairs.
The proposed plan includes many recommended improvements included in a report presented to the council by John Massey with Talbert &Bright, the city’s airport engineers, in December 2006. According to Talbert &Bright, many grants the city may obtain to make improvements at the airport would cover 90 percent of costs associated with a project, with the city having to provide revenues to cover the remaining 10 percent of a project’s cost.