Questions About Airport Plans
Don’t be deceived by the letter last week from a local pilot who is amazed that a minority group can impede the “improvements” at the airport. Perhaps it is the pilots and the airport commission who are the minority.
At a time when the town wants to create a people-friendly West Chatham neighborhood center, which happens to be in an airport runway protection safety zone, a few pilots want to be able to land in the fog anyway, increasing the possibility of putting people on the ground in harm’s way. FAA policy calls for a clear RPZ in order to protect people on the ground from errant aircraft.
At a time when everyone is worried about the protecting the Cape’s water supply, the airport commission wants to put in a 10,000 gallon Jet A fuel tank on top of our aquifer to lower the delivery costs to one person, the airport manager, and pass on the savings to a few pilots.
At a time when the town is struggling to find funds for affordable housing, the AC wants millions of dollars for “improvements” and a new admin building that benefit a few pilots.
At a time when public and private groups are seeking to protect open space and natural habitats, the AC is going to trash a good number of acres so a few pilots can land in the fog.
Residents are going to be “asked” to give up their property rights with easements so a few pilots can land when the fog rolls in.
The economic study? So convenient that MassDOT destroyed the data for that study so no one can review it.
Pilots and the airport commission constantly ask why people chose to live near the airport. “The airport was here first,” they say. Well, fog and foul weather (and people) have been here in Chatham long before there was an airport. Knowing this, why did pilots choose Chatham as their home base when there is always going to be the risk of bad weather rolling in and changing their plans? Perhaps the pilots should find a fair weather airport and stop haranguing the people who live in West Chatham.
Entrance Change Should Be Rethought
What were the design engineers thinking? By now some of you have seen, driven, or tried to drive into the new entrance to the West Chatham Post Office and Kream N’ Kone. What used to be a nice wide entrance – 75 feet narrowing down to about 40 feet – is now estimated to be about 25 feet wide. It is also a sharp right turn in and a tough right turn coming out because of the high curbs and the angle. They have the space, so why did not they make it nice and wide for easy in and out? Also, the sharp angles should be removed, as cars turning in or out will hit the curbs. The other day I was coming out hugging the right, and a car wanted to turn in and did not feel comfortable to do it until I was out of the way. Thus, they stopped traffic coming from the left which upset some of the drivers until I was able to go to pull out. So, I think this entrance should be reviewed by someone before the curbs are permanently installed.
Further Communication Breakdowns
As the one-time, self-elected president of the West Chatham Business Association (twice shamed, once impeached) , I believe we experienced the same communication breakdown this past spring during road work as the “downtown” businesses are now feeling!
As no one knew what, when and where work would be done, several business owners reached out to the select board. After speaking personally to two, I was assured the town manager would reach out and call me personally. I gave up waiting for the call.
So I believe the breakdown of communication is somewhere between the select board and the town manager.
West Chatham Access Problem
I would like to address the access to and from George Ryder South. With the new curb cut, the width at the exit is virtually down to a car. There is no way that someone can enter off of Route 28 when someone is trying to exit George Ryder South. We have to stop and allow that vehicle to exit before we can enter. This is stopping traffic on Route 28 and has been the cause of many close calls/laying on the horn and other actions by drivers having to stop. I realize that after the construction, George Ryder South will most likely be right turn only to get on Route 28. Even then we will have to stop to allow vehicles to exit before we enter.
I ask you to drive the area, and see for yourself before the final coat of pavement goes in. If there is ever any type of accident here, the whole road/rotary will blocked.
Shadow Presidency Solution
Trump knows he is out of a job in early January, but true to his mendicant personality and twisted ego, he is now preparing to stay secretly connected to otherwise sensitive operations and classified files of our government's military, commercial and international functions. He is replacing key people at the Pentagon (and soon other agencies at well) with individuals selected by him personally, largely for their allegiance to him – the man, the soon-to-be-former president – not to the Constitution. Once in place, these toadies can communicate secrets, pass on certain information, and pave the way for Trump to be a professional agnostic and informed critic of the man who beat him, Joe Biden. A shadow president, with a new shadow MAGA hat to boot. His rallies will become political circuses, with bitterness at their core, and the spreading of false information as their essence.
During my own military service, one of my assignments was a five-year assignment in the USAR, at the Pentagon. It was part-time and specific to one worldwide operational function of the U.S. Army. When I finally retired (after 25 years), I was required to sign an oath that I would not disclose the details of my various assignments, signed under penalty of law. Because I was subject to the requirements of the the US Code of Military Jurisprudence law, I willingly and gladly signed it. Apparently, however, Trump, whose service to the country was as a civilian, does not have to sign the kind of cautionary document that I had to sign.
Therefore, with no such controls over his post-presidential life, he apparently is free to "salt the federal mine" with loyal toadies (currently in process) who, having benefited from his appointing them to key positions in informational sensitive roles, which have oversight into personnel matters, military and international operations and other functions that are otherwise hidden from view from civilians, Trump is current creating his own internal watchdog cabal.
Hopefully the Congress and the new White House will take notice of this con and take actions to neutralize Trump's attempts to establish a secondary "shadow" presidency as he begins his civilian life once more.
Thomas P. Johnson
Pilot Responds To Airport Critic
I have written one, and only one, letter to the editor in my entire life, about a year ago titled “Chatham Airport Safety.” It was in response to the Chatham Airport Commission’s attempt to increase the safety of all aircraft approaching the airport as well as the citizens of the town below.
After recently reading Mr. Michael Tompsett’s missive titled “Airport Com Not Acting In Good Faith” (Nov. 12), I felt compelled not only to wonder if he had even read my letter to the editor concerning safety at the airport, but to set the record straight about his recent misleading and uninformed comments concerning airport safety.
I come from a 27-year background as a USAF military pilot as well as a 33-plus year career as an international airline captain for Delta Airlines. I do not want to regurgitate my letter. I’m not sure it would be read anyway. But, I do feel some corrections need to be made.
Contrary to Mr. Tompsett's letter, the FAA is not an organization designed to “strip” the aviation world of all safety requirements. Its charge is quite the opposite. The FAA demands that safety requirements must be met in the design of every instrument approach in the United States, or the approach would never be approved.
Mr. Tompsett states that a “straight-in approach, which is regarded by airline association pilots as dangerous” is just not true. In my previous letter, I clearly stated that the preferred approach to any airport in the world is a “straight-in” approach (especially in low-visibility weather). But don’t take my word for it. Talk to any airline pilot, or any airline CEO for that matter, and ask them why the present circling approach procedure at Chatham Airport is not only antiquated but is a “last resort” under all low-visibility conditions, even for airline pilots. I have flown one of these circling instrument approaches in 33,000 hours in the cockpit. It requires a more complex set of flight skills to fly the current circling approach in Chatham, regardless of whether a control tower is on the field or not. Pilots fly airplanes, not control towers.
A straight-in approach is, by far, a safer, more efficient, quieter, and simpler approach to make into any airport, whether it is Chatham Municipal Airport, or LAX, Tokyo, or Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. I know. I’ve been to them all. Many times.
I have reached out to the Chatham community on numerous occasions to fly with me and/or talk to me. To date, no one has reached out for more information. I don’t claim to be an expert on everything aviation-related, but I have flown the mileage equivalent of 33 trips to the moon – and back.
What is your aviation experience Mr. Tompsett?
Dana S. Quinn
Brief And To The Point
What "shows an ignorance" is moving next to an airport when you hate the airport.