Airport advisory panel to be created

Published 11:16 am Friday, December 16, 2011

Would counsel commission on airpark operation


CHESAPEAKE — An airport advisory committee is expected to be named next week by the Lawrence County Commission to study a possible new management plan for the Lawrence County Airpark.

Earlier in the month the Tri-State Pilots’ Association (TSPA) contacted the commissioners about its plan to start taking over the daily operation of the airport. That decision occurred after Attitude Aviation ceased to be the director of daily operations at the Chesapeake site in 2009.

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“This decision was hastened by, among other things, the lack of delineation of the role of Attitude Aviation and the Commission in the day-to-day operations of the airport,” according to a Dec. 14, 2009, letter from the association’s lawyer Daniel Yon.

“Attitude Aviation was named in a lawsuit involving an accident that occurred on the property during a skydiving event. The plaintiff contends that Attitude Aviation had a role in governing the affairs of the skydiving operation.

It is our contention that Attitude had no management authority over the operations of the skydiving business. This is just one example of the confusion of which entity owns and maintains the airport, the hangars and has ultimate responsibility for the liability.”

The lawsuit, filed in July 2010, by Ashley Washburn, focuses on injuries Washburn received when a hangar door at the airport became detached, airborne and hit the woman.

The incident happened on July 20, 2008, as Washburn was putting away tents and other equipment that had been used that day during parachuting activities that she had participated in earlier. A jury trial is set for September 2012 in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.

In April 2010 the pilots association submitted its plan for the division of duties between it and the commission.

Among the responsibilities it wanted the commission to assume were to negotiate contracts for hangers and tie downs; collect renters’ fees; pay all airport expenses; maintain liability insurance and a special fund for excess airport-generated revenues.

The TSPA would provide labor for office, training room and grounds; monitor airport safety and report to the commission; act as the FAA’s contact in distributing notices to airmen; and handle public relations for community field trips.

“We on the commission are not authorities (on airport-related issues),” Commission President Les Boggs said. “We elected to form a committee of people who have knowledge of such things.”

Boggs expects the 5-person committee to work as a permanent advisory panel.

“It is not going to take control and change everything,” he said.