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"FAA official suggests change in airport's license"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 28 Mar 2004 02:06:38 -0600
Friday, March 26, 2004
FAA official suggests change in airport's license
By JOHN C. SCATTERGOOD
The Mt. Vernon (IL) Register News
MT. VERNON - Unhappy at the lack of follow-up to letters of correction,
and with a past airport manager who blocked its inspectors, the Federal
Aviation Administration has suggested the airport surrender its license
to handle regularly scheduled commercial air traffic.
The letters of correction dealt with the "ponding" or puddling of water
where the two airport runways come together and faded signage which
directs aircraft traffic, acting airport manager Steve Martin said
Thursday at a special airport board meeting.
The board held a conference call with Birke Rhodes of the FAA's Great
Lakes office. Rhodes' department deals with airport safety inspections.
Rhodes said the department hadn't been notified of the departure this
year of airport manager Jerry Nicholson and wanted assurances that the
airport, if it wants to keep its current license, would actively manage
"You have no operational need for the certification," said Rhodes, who
recommended the airport return to being licensed to handle general
He also had doubts about the airport's need for a full-time manager, but
said someone should be employed part time to handle issues as they
With some tougher regulations taking effect, Rhodes also said it was
possible the airport would lose its current license since it wasn't
He gave assurances, however, that funding for the airport's instrument
landing capabilities and other functions would continue, to the surprise
of board members. Rhodes acknowledged his department's primary concern
Rhodes was given assurances by board members that they are actively
seeking a new manager, plus have board member Martin and chairman Rodger
Coatney serving as acting managers in the meantime.
The board also assured Rhodes that the runway safety issue concerning
the water is being dealt with and that the signage had been corrected.
Rhodes reassured the board that the airport could change its license, if
needed, in the future. He indicated he could see no particular problem
with the airport being able to continue handling cargo flights if the
license is changed.
There was a mention of the Mt. Vernon airport's former manager, Vince
Waters, perhaps getting back into airport management; Rhodes said he
The airport, Rhodes said, "has taken a nosedive since Vince has left."
There was discussion about the FAA not being allowed to conduct
inspections at the airport while Jim Zimmerman was the manager. One
woman refused to return to conduct inspections, even though Nicholson
had since taken over as manager.
Martin later said he favors the FAA suggestion that the airport change
its license classification.
He said a different license would change the airport from, perhaps,
having to follow through in future years on controversial proposals for
runway changes that could result in the rerouting of old Fairfield Road.
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