E-mail letters, June 23 2011

Authorities should investigate
application for airport fence

Another fence at Walker Field — oops, I meant Grand Junction Regional Airport — what’s the point?

I am a general aviation pilot and I have the privilege of owning my own airplane and hanger and leasing a small patch of dirt at the airport.

To oversimplify, general aviation is everything except scheduled airlines and government aircraft. It includes all aircraft from the smallest ultralight to the high-end private jets of movie stars and corporate executives, and the people who fly them, service them, sell them etc. It includes aircraft businesses such as air ambulances, flight instruction, search and rescue, aircraft sales and rentals as well as repair and inspection and FBOs, which are like airport service stations that sell fuel, arrange rental cars, provide hangar and ramp space. For the most part, most of our activities, when we’re not flying, are centered on the buildings you see on your right as you approach the terminal building at the airport.

Rex Tippets is the airport manager at what many of us still call Walker Field. A couple of years ago general aviation folks were told that everyone with access inside the airport fence had to either have a badge or
be accompanied by someone with a badge. We got it; TSA was mandating this new requirement for security purposes. It now seems, according to Tippets, that TSA has mandated that the airport authority spend a bunch of money building another fence that will at least be an inconvenience and an unnecessary cost to taxpayers and at most a fatal blow to some airport enterprises.

Recently, we have discovered that the fence wasn’t even suggested by the TSA and that it was actually pitched as a wildlife fence to get the funding. Further, how effective would that fence be as the entire north side of the
airport will continue to be enclosed with only four-wire fence? Do the foxes and coyotes only come from the town side? It might be helpful in keeping the wildlife from exiting the airport on the south side and getting into town.

It seems clear to me that someone has a hidden agenda and we’ve been sold an expensive and unnecessary bag of feathers. I suggest that we demand an immediate halt to this boondoggle and ask the funding agencies to
investigate the entire application, approval and implementation process and that the questions from the general aviation community and taxpayers be addressed.
Andrew W. Armstrong
Palisade


Tippets needs to admit
mistake on airport fence

The clock ticks on for the manager at Grand Junction Regional Airport. Will Rex Tippets do the right thing and admit he made a mistake with his “wildlife” fence project or will he single-handedly destroy general aviation in Grand Junction?

It is not too late to stop work on the contract and minimize wasted money. Time to “cowboy up,” Mr. Tippets.
Bruce Verstraete
Grand Junction

 


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