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"Little room to maneuver over airport access"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Little room to maneuver over airport access
The Yuma (AZ) Sun

General aviation users at Yuma's airport have been granted a reprieve from
plans to keep private vehicles off the airfield, but it is likely to be only
a temporary exception.

Currently, owners of private aircraft can drive their vehicles to hangars to
transport passengers, baggage and equipment they need for their airplanes. A
new policy to eliminate that practice was scheduled to go into effect
Thursday, but was postponed by airport authorities while negotiations
continue with military officials at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.

The airfield is jointly used for civil aviation and military aviation. The
proposed requirement to keep private vehicles off the airfield is due to
security concerns related to the pending arrival of the nation's newest
fighter aircraft, the F-35 Joint Strike Force Fighter, at MCAS.

The debate is apparently not over whether this will happen or not - Marine
officials insist security policies require it - but whether there can be
some accommodation to allow limited access to general aviation areas where
private pilots keep their aircraft.

One possibility is fencing in the area to prevent vehicle access to military
areas of the airport, but paying for the project is an issue. Another
suggestion has been allowing use of golf cart type vehicles, but many
general aviation users don't see that as a satisfactory option.

For now, a review of the issue is continuing. Within the next few months a
policy will likely be developed and implemented.

The reality, however, is we live in a different world today where security
is a much higher priority than convenience. We have all learned that lesson
in our air travels.

So, finding a resolution that satisfies private pilots may be difficult.

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