Airport safety committee makes first recommendations
by Matt Shinall
Apr 03, 2013 | 692 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Cartersville-Bartow County Airport Authority, the newly formed safety committee presented its first recommendations to the board regarding opportunities for safety improvement.

Recommendations made Tuesday range from minor alterations in current practices or communication language to suggestions for long-term improvement to be incorporated into the airport’s master plan.

After meeting with the Georgia Department of Transportation for an ongoing project, the airport authority was asked to form a safety committee. Although the safety committee has been meeting to begin its review of current safety issues, the authority formally approved the committee’s formation Tuesday before receiving the first suggestions. The newly formed committee is chaired by authority member Hans Lutjens and comprised of himself, two representatives from Phoenix Air, an airport business owner and a private pilot.

“As Bob mentioned, we formed a safety committee and we’ve had two meetings. The DOT was present for both meetings,” Lutjens said. “The safety committee is not trying to design the airport, all we’re saying is, ‘Here’s an issue. We’re all aware of it. Let’s not miss it on the [Airport Layout Plan]’ — and when construction is done, we’ll take care of it.”

Lutjens made the committee’s first recommendations Tuesday, which will now be used as formally documented suggestions in the authority’s meeting minutes. Initial recommendations include revisions to the procedure for dissemination of information to pilots, replacement of a runway boundary sign and the addition of a new wind gauge.

Airport Authority Chairman Bob Hite also had a review of current airport conditions following a regular biennial inspection. Despite the areas of improvement noted by the safety committee, the inspector found no areas in need of immediate remediation.

“We had our airport inspection in March,” Hite said. “These are biennial inspections, and this is the first one I’ve seen where there’s not a single corrective action. In fact, he commended Henry [Floyd] for taking care of vegetation north of the field. This man has experience working for a [fixed base operator] and he commented that there wasn’t a single runway or taxi light out and we owe that to Phoenix Air — he was just shocked that we didn’t have a single corrective action.”

The authority also approved Tuesday $675 toward a matching grant fund to secure full funding of an engineering contract to study drainage connected to the proposed GDOT project at Old Alabama Road. The study will cost a total of $51,336 with 2 percent from local funds. The authority and city of Cartersville discussed funding options. Debate was had over who would be responsible for the matching funds as government budgets remain tight. The authority approved the expense from its account despite members vocalizing a reluctance to set a precedence. The authority warned its revenue from hanger lease may be needed in the case of unforeseen emergencies.

Before adjourning, Assistant City Attorney Keith Lovell asked the new safety committee to review and make recommendations for an update of the airport operation and procedure manual.

Lastly, Hite informed those present that new signage should be going up in the coming weeks designating names for each entrance to ease communication and directions. Signs designating each entrance will be added on Ga. Highway 61 and Old Alabama Road.