Friday, April 25, 2008

Politics may be local but it's seldom predictable

AT TWB we have recieved a number of e-mails from people who live near areas directly affected by the final tanker award outcome. Not suprisingly we are finding that residents from the same areas do not have the same reactions. The follwing message was forwarded to us and comes from a Mobile resident who does not support Airbus being in his city:

Why I Am Against The Airbus Plant in Mobile - (Brookley BFM)

I was born and raised in Mobile. In fact, I was born at Brookley AFB Hospital. Ever since my attendance at the Mertz Elementary school, which is on the approach path of RWY 14 BFM, I have been fascinated and could not wait to learn to fly. Heads up - a flyby - love it! You name an aircraft and I can pretty much tell you what it is, sometimes by sound. I spent 33 months in Army Aviation and returned to graduate from the University of South Alabama while expanding my knowledge and skills as an aviator (USA had a flight program & team at the time).

Upon graduation from USA, I worked for a local company, involved in aviation, located at Brookley for over twenty years. Unfortuantely, the business is not as stable as you would hope (2nd layoff for me) and along with hundreds of other loyal employees were let go for bottom line, egotistical, self interest thinking. But that is not my point. 'I Love Aviation' even though I have not been working in the industry for several years, I do stay watchful.

My concern with this project is the wholesale givaway of the designated property for this envisioned plant. Brookley has two major Runways (RWY). RWY 14/32 (SE/NW), and RWY 36/18 (N/S). The U.S. AIR FORCE also had a NE/SW RWY that is currently used as a taxiway and miscellaneous operations at BFM.

In order to get this contract, the Airport Authority in their wisdom deemed the North/South RWY 36/18 as the area over which this planned plant will be built, even though BFM has vast acreage this plant could be located. I suppose its so the Airbus employees working in the newly constructed engineering building can look at the plant across Broad Street.

I would like to question what will happen when RWY 14/32 is shut down for any reason (such as it was for many months for resurfacing/repairs) or if the wind component is too strong for aircraft to utilize? What if there is an emergency where one of the large (or even small) aircraft cannot make it to RWY 14/32, but could have to RWY 18/36). Example: Accident occurred at BFM Thursday, April 24, 2003, of a SOCATA TBM 700B, registration: N705QD, unfortunately fatal.

What if the pilot had to extend to attempt the emergency landing on the only other runway; likely involving others on the ground.

By the way, I live on one of the approach paths of RWY 14/32, and I enjoy watching the flight path of various aircraft. RWY 36/18 is also highly utilize not only for normal operations but for training by civil as well as military, Coast Guard especially. It is also usefull to have two active runways where landing and take off is expedited since the runways were designed for just that reason, to not interfere with each other, and to compensate for varying wind components of differing aircraft.

Anyone who flies knows that a runway is your best friend, and if the need arose to reach one in an emergency, well, you cannot have too many. Or is this just a case where we will let the chips (sic) fall where they may, that the income is worth more than the forethought of safety first . . . Bottom Line Management?

You know, high paying jobs may be good for the goose, but most of us will never see any real benefit from any of these jobs, in reality, they will INCREASE cost of living for the area.

Fortunately my home is paid for, but I could ill aford what new homes costs these days. My property tax continues to rise.

If you wish to review federal grant money spent on varies airports including BFM use the following link to view these expenditures.

I would be more comfortable to support the plant if they would logically not destroy RWY 18/32.

If the planned course of action continues, it would not bother me for Boeing prevailing and winning the contract. I will see it as a victory.

Bo Ayer


Anonymous said...

We don't like closing a runway. But, the choice was to have the runway or the KC-45A tanker facility and associated supppliers and the economic benefits they bring to Mobile. Those were the only options.

Marc Pelham
Director, Brookley Complex

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we got to pave the whole US to get a suitable airstrip for the A380 in case of a emergency :-)

Anonymous said...

If you look at an aerial view of Brookley Field you will notice the "vast acreage" is in the middle of the runways. I am not a polit and do not work in aviation and I know locating it there would violate FAA standards. So the choices are to either dislocate other business and build the facility in the their place, or close the smaller runway to accomdate the facility.