Advice To Chatham Selectmen
My wife and I have just become residents of Chatham. We did so because Chatham is the quintessential quaint New England town and has been so for decades. We were aware when we moved that Chatham had a small, quaint, (we thought) daytime-use-only airport, which was consistent with the town’s beauty and character.
We have recently learned that the Chatham Airport Commission is preparing a new master plan which could enable the airport to meet a vision statement of becoming an “integral transportation component in Southeastern Massachusetts.” It proposes to make changes to the airport to accommodate larger, louder, high-speed commercial aircraft. The proposal is designed to further special interests and is inconsistent with the interests of most everybody living in Chatham.
The selectmen should ask themselves whether turning Chatham into a second Hyannis, which already has an airport that is an “integral transportation component in Southeastern Massachusetts,” is what its residents truly desire.
The board should also explore a second, important question: Is it true that the large twin-engine piston and turbine aircraft already using the Chatham airport day and night are in violation of the capabilities and FAA regulations for the airport?
If the founding fathers could speak to our board of selectmen today, they would tell you that laws and policies should, as the preamble to the Constitution makes clear, advance “the general welfare” of society, and not special interests.
I respectfully ask (the board), as one of Chatham’s newest residents, to protect the general welfare of the people of Chatham and exercise your authority to oppose and quash the airport commission’s proposed new master plan.
James A. Fulton
Remembering Cokie Roberts
With sadness I heard about the passing of another childhood friend. I grew up with Cokie, Barbara and Tommy. Their father’s office was right next to my dad’s office. I saw a lot of them. The one person above all others was their mother, Lindy. She was kind, brilliant, astute and a clever, clever politician and always a lady. Their father Hale Boggs was the majority leader in Congress who sadly died in a plane crash in Alaska. Lindy took his seat immediately and thrived. I heard it said Hale would never have been elected without Lindy.
Lindy and Hale took Cokie on all international business trips which gave her great ease with every type of person. She could schmooze with anyone and she did. I loved to hear her on the radio knowing she was probably at her kitchen table in her nighty at her Bradley Boulevard family home. Cokie was wise and wonderful. It is a great loss to the world of journalism and a great loss to America.
I tried to review one of her books at a book club since I knew there were two openings. Unfortunately the new member leader told me “No,” which made me even sadder.
Fleur Feighan Jones
Stop Updated Airport Management Plan
The airport manager/commissioners continue to blatantly disregard the objections of many Chatham residents/taxpayers. If we allow this to go unchallenged, the result will be 1) destruction of extensive public/private properties; 2) reduced safety and increased noise; and 3) reduced property values. Chatham deserves better, and we cannot allow a project of this scope to be approved.
What’s the real motive and driver of this conduct by the commission? Who is benefiting personally, financially, and/or professionally? Clearly, it’s not the vast majority of Chatham residents.
Overall the cost-benefit ratio is appallingly high. The benefit to Chatham residents is zero! Any small benefit goes to non-residents, including the airport manager, and businesses registered outside Chatham. The $10 million coming from your Logan Airport passenger fees, state and local property taxes would be much better spent for the benefit of many, rather than the purported benefit for a few.
Chatham airport has a short runway next to a hill, is surrounded by residential development, and does not have unoccupied safety runway protection zones or a control tower. Destroying Chatham’s environment/character cannot be allowed. Let the Chatham Airport manager/commissioners and their ilk use the Barnstable airport to solve their alleged safety concerns!
I urge all Chatham residents to demand the immediate withdrawal of this updated airport management plan, better called a self-serving sham!
Less Safe, Not More
Clearly full precision instrument landings in poor visibility at a properly qualified airport such as Barnstable are safer than visual landings under those conditions, but the same conclusion cannot be applied to Chatham Airport, despite duplicitous arguments by the airport commission.
Under visual flight rules, the minimum descent height above the runway is 600 feet. With a non-precision instrument landing in poor visibility, it is 250 feet or only 130 feet above the houses on Great Hill, which is obviously much less safe. Additionally the FAA writes, “Single-pilot operations can be much more challenging, because the pilot must continue to fly by the instruments, while attempting to acquire a visual reference for the runway” at over 100 mph.
Without a control tower, a straight-in flight cannot be sure that there are no other planes taking off or landing. This has already led to scary accident scenarios, namely a turbo-prop flying right underneath skydivers in the air and two planes approaching together and a third taking off flying toward them.
The five-ton commercial P-12 turboprop with nine passengers requires 2,602 feet of runway for takeoff, which is not much less than 3,000 feet. This plane carries 400 gallons of fuel, so a small over-shoot or undershoot would be disastrous for West Chatham center.
The FAA strongly urges maintaining Runway Protection Zones (RPZ) empty of people and buildings “to enhance the protection of people and property.” These zones extend 1,200 feet from the end of a visual runway and in Chatham are thickly populated with stores, offices, apartments and 20 residences. The FAA recommends 1,900 feet for the planned non-precision landings in poor visibility. These much larger RPZs would include restaurants, a medical center and 60 houses, and clearly show that the FAA regards the non-precision runway as much less safe. Hence it would be totally negligent to disregard the FAA directive, and put more people at risk by allowing such a runway.
The master plan shows a 30:1 slope for the approach surface, which is totally unrealistic because that surface is below the rooftops at the top of Great Hill! The commission then claims that this approach would use vertical guidance, but the FAA requires a 4,200 feet runway and a 34:1 approach slope for that. For the planned non-precision runway, the FAA requires a minimum 3,200 feet, but 3,000 feet would require a waiver, which would clearly compromise safety.
All instrument runways require wider and lower slope approaches, and the demands for 46 avigation easements, demonstrate that in bad weather planes would fly much lower, just a few feet over our houses, and much less safely than in a visual environment.
Hence for all these reasons, it is not safe to shoehorn unsuitable planes into an unsuitable airport, above all, in unsuitable weather, when Barnstable is so much safer for pilots and passengers. It is above reprehensible to spend $10 million for less safety, and in order to save a few taxi fares from Barnstable, when this money would be much better spent elsewhere.
Dr. Mike Tompsett
Consider Airport's Location
Is the town of Chatham government unaware of the Chatham Municipal Airport (CQX) location? As a Chatham homeowner adding an addition on my home, I had the following process to follow: pull a building permit, submit engineered stamped plans, submit property plot showing the new structure, inform all abutting neighbors, adhere to all zoning restrictions, road setbacks and abutting neighbors property lines and overall structure height, allow all subsequent building stage inspections to take place, and await the certificate of occupancy.
CQX, by FAA directive, has land designated at each runway end for Runway Protection Zones (RPZ). This area extends 1,200 feet beyond the runway terminations, flaring out wider than the runway itself. The RPZ is meant to be a dead zone, a safety area to protect from an aircraft overshoot or undershoot when landing. The FAA states that the primary purpose of the RPZ is the protection of people and property on the ground.
The Chatham Airport RPZ's, however, are occupied as follows: Old Queen Anne Road end (built 1962-1986): Agnes Lane (seven), Old Queen Anne Road (one), George Ryder Road (three); Route 28 end (built 1970-1990): Main Street (three), Ocean State Job Lot, Meservey's gas station, office/apartment building.
So, town of Chatham, because you have allowed unsafe usage of airport-intended land, you must halt all future airport development. So, airport commission and Gale Associates, the current RPZs are already a hazard. You must curtail and ground all high-risk aircraft (turboprops, jets) from operating at CQX.
Brian J. O'Leary, Sr.
Bone Spurs On The Brain
“Stay Out Of National Politics,” a letter by a South Chatham Trump fan, is a message she and he could take to heart, if they had our country at heart.
Trump suffers from BSOTB – Bone Spurs On The Brain. He pulled 1,000 US Special Forces troops out of Syria, played by Erdogan, a fellow dictator, narcissist. This is un-American, it’s “tail-between-the-legs” cowardice. We don’t abandon our allies, not ones who shed blood for us. Trump is deaf, dumb, and blind. “I am a stable genius,” “I know more than my generals.” No. BSOTB, he risks the air we breathe and destroys our interests and our “allies.”
Your “great leader” is Putin’s puppet, Erdogan’s lapdog, Kim Jung Il’s patsy, and China’s sweetie. The Donald projects what’s inside himself: corruption, lies, fake news, the deep state. He does craft a fine tale, is a mobilizer of simplistic thought and raw emotion.
Chatham letter writer, you are an enabler.
On national TV, a devastated Kurd: “God damn America.” No. God damn Trump.
Shameful Treatment Of Charter Group
The Chatham Board of Selectman realizes the town charter has to be reviewed. They discussed what to do on Sept. 16. A BOS member suggested that a member of the BOS should be on the charter review committee. (The town attorney advised against that action). Another selectman stated "it would be a short-term committee." How can you review the charter in a short time unless the BOS tells the CRC what to do and not do, which would not be democratic or in step with the CRC's mission? The BOS also said the CRC should be balanced. The original committee was perfectly balanced with a former teacher, a former federal employee, a town employee, a former selectman, and a respected town advocate. It is a shame, deceitful and arrogant the way the BOS has treated CRC members who worked for more than a year reviewing the charter. The BOS closed down the CRC in a hasty political action. This decision is not supported by many taxpayers in town.
Here We Go Again
In response to Mrs. B. Storer's letter "Stay Out Of National Politics," since taking office President Trump and his administration, to me, have been like dealing with a bad case of the flu. Eventually it will be over but in the meantime many trips to the bathroom will have been made to hurl.
Stripes Could Help Parking
We all know Chatham has an ongoing problem with a shortage of parking spaces around Main Street. Parking could be improved immediately by “striping” or marking individual parallel parking spaces along the sides of Main Street, thus avoiding having one vehicle parked where two could safely fit.
All that’s required is paint. Other towns have done this successfully (think Main Street, Orleans), and our own town lots all have marked spaces.
What’s the reason not to do this? Seems a no-brainer to me!
Country Needs A Free Press
I read a recent letter printed in this paper criticizing the press and news media. I wasn’t surprised, but it is disappointing to know that President Trump’s continued hyperbolic, often dishonest rants against the press are still a part of his schtick and that some people believe him. I follow political news by reading four newspapers and watching at least three different networks, often to see how consistent the information is and how much of it is based on fact. This is true of radio as well, from NPR to Rush Limbaugh. To be honest, it is very hard to watch much of the propaganda produced on Trump TV or to listen to Limbaugh for very long. But I think it’s important to try to understand positions other than my own. Unfortunately, a newsperson on Fox resigned this week because he demanded information be factual and the pressure to be biased was too much for him. Meanwhile the likes of Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity remain.
I am so thankful to live in a country with a free press. Were it not for dogged investigative journalists and tenacious reporters, I’m afraid we would have very little factual political information. It worries me to know the power of fake news promulgated online when that seems to be the only news source for so many. The Russian interference in our last presidential election went unchecked for a long time. And according to members of the intelligence community, this interference continues.
Were it not for the legitimate news sources who worked this past week, we would know very little or nothing at all about the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, or the corrupt dealings of Rudy Giuliani and his cohorts now under arrest after they tried to leave the country. The disgraceful treatment of an outstanding ambassador would have gone unnoticed without political news. I don’t know how many lies President Trump has told this week because I stopped counting. But I bet someone at the New York Times could tell me. And there are people at the Washington Post who are fair and objective in my judgment, particularly Ashley Parker and Aaron Blake. If I hadn’t been paying attention to the legitimate news this week, I would not have known that Trump had said "in my great and unmatched wisdom.” He wasn’t kidding. I guess that was to remind everyone that he recently threw his hands towards the heavens and proclaimed “I am the chosen one.” Or that he has said “I am a very stable genius.”
So it may be so that some readers of The Cape Cod Chronicle do not want coverage of national political news, that is their right to say so, but to demean the news media for reporting facts about a dishonest, corrupt and dangerous president is to blame the wrong people.
Judith S. Winters
Misstatements Riddle Airport Comments
The letter written last week by Mr. Wilson regarding Chatham Airport exemplifies an unfortunate situation in which negative statements are made based on false premises rather than verified research. To begin with, there is the statement that Chatham has always been a fair-weather airport. Nothing could be further from the truth, and “bad weather” instrument approaches have existed at Chatham Since at least the 1970s. Perhaps Mr. Wilson considers our nor’easter of last week to be fair weather, since several aircraft landed here during the storm. Next, the letter contains a false statement that I, as airport commissioner, have acknowledged that the proposed approaches to the airport would cause aircraft to fly lower over people’s homes than they currently do. To the contrary, I have stated that the proposed approaches have proven safety benefits and would also result in noise reduction for those living in proximity of the airport.
The whole subject of instrument approaches is inherently complex, and I welcome all the questions and concerns that have been raised. I just hope we can have a civil discourse based on fact rather than fiction. The removal of certain trees under the flight path is purely to provide an improved safety margin, and not to allow aircraft to fly lower over people’s houses. The proposed glide paths will guide aircraft straight in to the runway and thereby overfly far fewer homes than today. The letters and pamphlets that are being circulated are riddled with so many errors and misstatements that it is impossible to debunk them all in a short letter such as this but I hope that folks in Chatham will keep an open mind as all the facts come out.
Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Chatham Airport commission.
Chatham Airport Could Save Your Life
Lost in the hullabaloo about the Chatham Airport’s master plan is the fact that someday the airport could save your life. If you were to need to be medevaced to Boston by air, it is likely that the helicopter would depart from Chatham Airport. In order for the helicopter to be able to fly in to pick you up on a gray and foggy day, the proposed modern instrument landing system could mean the difference between your life and death.
Chatham Airport benefits Chatham and the surrounding communities in many ways. Saving your life could be one of them.
The Most Prudent Path
After reading the latest responses from people who attended the last Meeting regarding the COA location I seriously must ask, who benefits from moving the location down Main Street other than the landowner trying to sell? Considering current building concerns in Chatham, is someone trying to get the COA to relocate so they can develop its current location?
If you Google Map the current and proposed locations, they are five miles apart and almost equidistant from Chatham center. Why would you move from a known location when you are essentially "already there" at the cost of $1 million (now graciously decreased to $750,000)? I personally do not know any details about the current building, who owns the current property, etc., but staying put in a newly renovated or reasonably constructed building on currently in-use property seems a logical path. Dare I say prudent?