Airport candidates in their own words: Al Turner
Would you support the construction of another runway as detailed in the Master Plan, and why?I would support it … as a noise abatement issue. There is one group that would like you to believe that the runway is going to add more traffic. Well, the airport is going to add more traffic as more and more houses come to the area anyway. But the whole idea behind that other short runway is for training purposes. It is to get the training aircraft out and away from The Meadows, which is where they are making the noise. To say that it is not a good idea is ludicrous. If you want to address the noise issue head on, then you’ve got to build that other runway. And it is not long enough for jet aircraft and it is not going to be built heavy enough for jet aircraft. It’s only going to be 3,200 or 3,500 feet, and I know a lot of light airplanes that can’t get out of 3,500 feet at this altitude. … So yeah, I would support the other runway for that reason for the noise abatement issue alone. Not in the i.e.. that it’s going to increase traffic at the airport, because that is not what it is going to do.Would you support the construction of a de-icing facility, and why?The way that comes across is, the information I am getting from the airport manager, is he is going out for federal funding, trying to get the FAA to pay for it. If I can get somebody else to pick up the bill, and have a facility like that, I sure as hell would do it. Yes. If the district is picking up the bill, then I am against it.Do you see that adding more aircraft traffic to the airport?It’s purely a safety issue. What happens now is you get snow and ice on your aircraft and there’s a couple ways to handle it. You could run out there with a leafblower with a heater on it and try to melt the snow off of it, which is kind of stupid. Or you can try to keep it indoors at night and hope that it melts off. The other side of it is we are only talking about four months out of the year. What is the building going to be used for for the other eight months? Well if we get a free building, and the FAA paid for it out of the federal funds, by the way that money comes from the taxes that the aviation community pays on our gasoline like aviation trust funds. So the whole idea behind that money is you go in and you ask for a grant and you can justify it, and you can in this case from a safety standpoint. I would push it from a safety issue, because without it you are running on the margin. With it you are well within the boundaries of safety.Would you support the construction of a new terminal building, and why?My answer would be no. I think that the terminal building we’ve got now is perfectly adequate. I would rather see them take that ramp space that they are setting aside for the terminal building, that borders the industrial area over there, and put tilt-up warehouses on it and use it for commercial rental for the community. You know, support small businesses. As opposed to using it for jet aircraft; a revenue-generating thing so we can make the airport self-supporting. The whole idea is to make the nut that the community has to carry as small as possible. The only way that you can do that is use that space. I am not for putting buildings on the north side of the field. To me that is an environmental issue over there. Again, it is defensible space and habitat. That’s where the deer herd hangs out.What are the major goals an airport district resident could count on you working for if you were elected to the airport board?Better community relations first of all. What has happened under the current administration, we’ve got one candidate who says on his campaign sign, “vote for airport leadership.” Well, he’s been there for eight years and I thought we voted for leadership the last two times. But what we’ve gotten is, we’ve got people on the board that are so busy fighting among themselves. We’ve got this little friction going, and one group has controlled the board and the other groups hasn’t had a chance to come up to bat. So you really don’t know what kind of job they can do. … That’s kind of the way that I feel about Connie [Stevens]. She’s been there, but she hasn’t had a chance to come up to bat so you really don’t know where she is. I do, in a sense, when you talk to her. But to reward the existing administration, who has disenfranchised the community during the last eight years. The reason there is eight people running for the board, is everybody sees the big picture, and that is that the community is up in arms. Part of that is because the CARE group inciting discord over the noise issue. And you can point to the traffic study that the airport just got through that says we had 787 noise complaints last year and 45 percent of them were generated by ten people or five people. And they all belong to CARE by the way. To me what CARE has done is they have created a need and tried to fill it rather than find a need and try to fill it.What specific things would you do differently than the current airport board?Let’s go MBA 101. How do you measure performance? You measure performance by setting goals. And what you need to do it is you lay out as a director to the airport manager, “this is what we expect you to do.” And the only way that you can measure performance is to see how he achieves those goals. … It’s tasks and goals. Basically they are interchangeable. And I don’t see that happening. I am a graduate of the Air Force NCO Academy. I went to advanced management school in the Air Force … The nice thing about the Air Force, whether you are an officer or an enlisted guy, once a year you get this document. It’s called a performance report. And on this performance report there are ten items that are listed. The airport needs to do the same thing. In order to tell how well the individual is doing as his particular job. Each assigned area within the airport should have a job description. If it doesn’t, it should have. How well did he achieve the goals that are outlined in that job description? The other thing is you look at the Master Plan. You’re writing a business plan for a start-up company. How long is that business plan good for? The ink isn’t even dry and it is invalid. The same thing applies to the Master Plan at the airport. What you’re saying is, “we would like to achieve these goals.” Well, if you don’t include the community and bring them in to the goal-setting process, but if you look at the people who sat on the board, who actually edited and were the authors of the Master Plan, you will see the Town of Truckee was represented. They might have got voted down, but they were there. Since you are jumping ahead to the Master Plan we have a Master Plan question. Would you support revising the airport Master Plan before the trigger set by the board of 61,600 annual operations, or jet traffic exceeding 15 percent of the total aircraft operations?The CLUP is flawed in the sense that the CLUP and the Master directly mesh with each other. What happens is the growth of the airport is based on figures that say general aviation is going to grow at a particular rate. So when they generate a 100,000 plus operations at the airport within so many years, I think it is pie in the sky a lot if it. I think probably the percentage of jet aircraft in relationship to propellor-driven aircraft is going to change, unless you drive the jet aircraft away. As far as the Master Plan itself is concerned, the issues that are on there as far as the runway is concerned, I am in favor of that, as far as the terminal building is concerned, I am not in favor of that, the de-icing hangars, as long as I don’t have to pay for it I will take it… So what we are saying is yes the Master Plan does have to be revised. And I would jump in there and do that if I had the opportunity. If you were elected would you shoot for that right away?Yes, I would make that an issue within the first six months of my tenure. That is a promise to the voter…Do you believe that the Truckee Tahoe Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan should undergo an Environmental Impact Report or include mitigation in its environmental report?No, and I’ll tell you why. The airport has been there since 1962 or 1963, the time of the Olympics anyway. … There’s always been space around the airport that would be better off used for golf courses, industrial parks, the kinds of things that don’t conflict with airport noise and traffic from a safety standpoint. The thing that has brought this issue to a head on the CLUP is the Town of Truckee Master Plan was initiated and all of the sudden the airport boards says, “Wait a minute, it is not our responsibility to generate the CLUP, it’s the Foothill Land Use Commission.” And the Foothill Land Use Commission says, “we haven’t got any money so we can’t do this.” So the airport says, “OK we’ll put the money on the table because it needs to be done, so that we can show the community that these are areas that are noise sensitive and you don’t want to build in here.” But let’s go to another item. Have you … ever looked at a real estate disclosure form that’s standard California? If you look at line item 11 it says, “are there any noise related issues in regard to this property?” And that form has been in existence now for 10 years. It is mandatory for the state of California. Do you want to know why? How many real estate agents will fill in that line item and say “Yeah the airport is over here and you are in the traffic area.” If you go back and read those I bet you nine times out of ten that the real estate (agent) just glosses over that… The noise issues are not self-mitigating. Everybody is saying the Stage I, Stage II guys are going to disappear. And they are are. They are getting long in the tooth, too hard to maintain and as of June of next year they are changing the air space [regulations]. … They are changing the separation rules. Right now it is a 2,000-foot separation between aircraft above 29,000 feet. They are going to change that to a thousand feet. So what it means is the altitude-reporting system has to be very precise, a lot more sophisticated than it is now. So this piece of equipment that locks up on the auto pilot and the rest of that stuff, is going to cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000. And when you start throwing that on the table for an older LEER or Citation, a lot of guys are going to say I am going to opt not to do that…Would you support noise monitoring outside of the airport property?What do you plan to do with it? You are going to gather information, what do you plan to do with it? If the airport or the Town of Truckee has no authority when it comes to noisy aircraft, it’s an issue that belongs to the Federal Aviation Administration… If you had an enforcement authority, as far as noise was concerned, which I don’t see happening, I would be for noise monitoring. Otherwise it is a waste of money… I am not for discouraging or encouraging anybody to use this airport. It falls in the category of personal liberties… and that is one of the reasons I am running. I fought 20 years in the United State Air Force because I believed in personal liberty. And the reason I am running for the airport board is exactly the same reason. I see a section of the community wants to infringe on another section of the community’s personal liberties. Next thing you know they are going to say, “Well wait a minute, we are going to outlaw dirt bikes or ATVs or SUVs,” that kind of thing…Despite repeated public comments by the Community Airport Restoration Effort candidates saying that they will not close the airport, you have suggested that if a CARE slate is elected the airport could close and be paved over. Do you believe that the CARE candidates intend to close the airport?If they had the opportunity they would do it. Absolutely. What happens is you want to think of the airport as a regional resource. Originally the constituents within Nevada County and Placer County said, “Look we want an airport badly enough that we are willing to take so many mils (sic) of our tax dollars and direct it towards the airport. When you’ve got three candidates that are not looking out for the welfare of the counties outside of the Town of Truckee, but are looking out for the Town of Truckee, I think it becomes too focused as to what their goals are. What is the easiest solution for them? The Master Plan for the Town of Truckee and the CLUP are in direct confrontation with each other. You see the Town of Truckee building underneath the airport traffic area as we speak. Look at all the subdivisions they have put out here on old 267, along that corridor, which are on the downwind leg for [runway] 28. And they know as well as you and I know that the airport is there. But they still approve the subdivision… I wouldn’t trust the CARE group any further than I could throw them… And the whole CARE group’s mission in life, when you read their website, is inciting community discord over the noise issue, and then stepping forward and saying, “hey if you elect us we’ll fix this problem that we’ve created.” It really sticks in my craw. The other thing that they are trying to do is create an impression in the community that pilots are not capable of chewing bubble gum and tying their shoes at the same time. And what you’ll find with just about every one of the pilot candidates is that we all own businesses. Flying airplanes is secondary to what we do as a living…Are jets appropriate for this small town airport in regard to the positive economic impacts and the negative noise impacts that they bring?I think that it is a balancing act. I hate to say this, from a safety issue the jets are safer than the propellor-driven aircraft. If you are going to have an airplane fall on your house, it is not going to be a jet. Take my word for it. The general aviation community is shrinking in the sense of the number of pilots that are out there… What I see happening, I don’t have a crystal ball, but with Northstar doing what it is doing in the village and creating a climate of a destination resort, “Come spend a week or two with us and you will never have to leave the facility.” Squaw Valley basically doing the same thing. As those facilities come on line, I think the demand for the airport will increase as far as the jets are concerned. The other thing is you are building [Old] Greenwood and Lahontan. Look at the development up in [state Route] 89 as more houses come on line and they are absentee owners. These people need to get transported in here, how are they going to do it? Do I see commercial airline service coming to Truckee? It’s not going to happen. The reason it is not going to happen is the runway is not built strong enough to handle the impact loads that the jet puts on the runway. The runway is not long enough to at this density altitude to handle heavy aircraft, and the other side of it you would have to fence the entire airport in to meet the security requirement since 9/11…
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