Their own words: Airport candidates speak – Adrian Howes
Would you support the construction of construction of a another runway as detailed in the master plan?Actually there are two detailed in the Master Plan. One for gliders and then the second, short 28 runway. Right now, no. There is no need for it. The airport operates at maybe 25 percent capacity at its busiest. And on a day like today it is probably operating at five percent capacity. So in terms of satisfying aviation demand, aircraft demand, it is totally unnecessary. And I think the only reason for that second runaway would be for noise abatement on training flights. And I’ve seen the declaration by the board that the Town of Truckee has that call. So it is really up to the Town of Truckee, but personally I don’t support it. I don’t see any need for it.Do you think [the second runway] would be effective to reduce noise?It may be. It’s a short runway, only 3,000 feet long and it could be located more towards Truckee. One of the problems with it is, well there are two. One is that the gliders and tow planes use runway 19 and so aircraft using this second runway would have to be flying on the east side of the runway, they would be conflicting with tow planes and gliders landing on 19, so that’s a concern. The other is the hill, the mountain, at the end of that runway would be in the way, and I haven’t flown that right-hand pattern for 28 but I intend to do it to find out how significant that hill is. But I’ve been told that it is not comfortable to fly with that hill and especially at night.Would you support the construction of a de-icing facility, and why?Yes, and the de-icing facility has a bit of a spin on it in that we’ve heard of people being scared of the Glycol spray like you might see at a major airline airport. In fact the de-ice facility is no more than a heated hangar, and I have used those de-ice facilities … when I’ve gone to Sun Valley to go skiing. I leave my plane outside, or there is no place inside to put it, so it is outside for maybe a week. And when I am ready to leave I call up, they put it in this heated hangar for about four hours and then it is free of frost and ice and I can fly away … so it is a normal thing to have at a ski resort-type of an airport, somewhere where you are going to get snow and ice. I think that it will be a great asset for the people flying here to go skiing, and it would also be a revenue-generator for the airport. And it is just a heated hangar, but if we call it a heated hangar we have to pay for it locally. If we call it a de-ice facility the FAA pays 95 percent of it. The federal government pays for it. And that is a tremendous return on investment for the local owners of this airport.Would you support the construction of a new terminal building, and why?We really don’t need it. I think that it should stay in the master plan. The offices that the airport staff occupy are kind of run down, and the existing terminal building is a bit dowdy, but again there has been spin put on this terminal building terminology that make people think it is like an airline terminal, which is totally not the case. It is just offices and restrooms and a flight-planning facility. The one that I think went as far as the design stage or maybe the request for proposal stage was way too elaborate and too expensive, and I would not support spending that kind of money on a terminal building. I’ve heard that it is considered the existing terminal building is too close to the active runway. I am not sure that’s the case, but it may be . So I think it would need more study, but right now the existing terminal building is doing fine and I certainly would not want to build a Taj Mahal out there at the taxpayers’ expense.Do you believe that by improving facilities at the airport, the airport will attract more usage and increased aircraft traffic?I don’t. People fly here to access their homes, tourism, recreation, all the things that make this a tourist town. That’s what the economy of this community, this town and the North Lake Tahoe area, that’s what the economy is based on. And I have seen other places, like Reed Hillview Airport that was allowed to deteriorate by a hostile board, a hostile ownership, but people continued to use it because that is where they needed to get to. And I think that if you spent more money on improving, though I don’t know what you would, I think that this is a very fine facility as it is. I don’t see a lot of improvements needed. But it certainly needs good maintenance. But people aren’t coming because there is an airport here. I can cite Castle, down by Merced. This is a 12,000-foot runway with wonderful facilities and very easy to use and nobody goes there because there is no reason to. So it is not the facility that attracts aircraft and pilots, it is where they are going to.Do you believe if the facilities deteriorate that the airport will eventually close?That would not be the cause of closing. The cause of closing, if it was to close, I suspect it may be because of economic reasons excessive landing fees, excessive fuel prices, excessive hangar rents would drive people away perhaps … I think that if there were weeds coming through the taxiway, people would still keep coming to access their homes. I know I would. What are the major goals an airport district resident could count on you working for if you were elected to the board?Well I’m concerned about the noise situation, very concerned about it. I know that it came out last week, I think, that 45 percent of the noise complaints are five people, and if you double the amount of people, I think, you increase the percentage of noise complaints. There are a lot of people that are irritated by the noise and don’t call in. And I live in a neighborhood where that exists, where my neighbors that I interface with are concerned about the noise, they don’t like it particularly. So I would want to work on that. And, I think, because of my management and aviation qualifications, I would be well equipped to research what other airport have done, to spend time at Santa Monica … San Carlos …. Carlsbad. Other airports, most airports, have a noise problem, where the urban area has grown around the airport, where it was once remote and is no longer remote. And so there are other places that are facing this same problem and I think that working with those other airports we could perhaps come up with some solutions to alleviate the noise problem. Unfortunately airplanes have to get close to the ground to land, and they make noise. So it is not going to go away completely.Besides noise?Well, noise is the main irritation in terms of the neighborhood impact of the airport. Besides noise, again, I have management experience and skills, I have aviation experience and skills. In terms of maintenance of the airport, in terms of keeping it up as a first quality facility, in terms of being of service to the users of the airport, I just think that I would be very capable of being on the board and doing that.What specific things would you do differently that the current airport board?I think that current airport board has done a lot of good things that they don’t get credit for. And part of that is they have not sold themselves or the airport to the public, and by sold I mean publicized what they are doing, what they are trying to do. Most people have no idea what is going on at that airport. And they have not idea what is happening to alleviate. And I think that noise problems are much less that they were and certainly a lot has already been done. I think that there could be more outreach both to the community around the airport, and to the pilot community coming in. And that is starting to happen. This week Ken Foster is down at the NBAA, National Business Aircraft Association, spreading the word about noise abatement and noise sensitivity. And the people that go to that are primarily jet operators, they are not the piston people. So they are reaching out to that group of operators which seems to cause a disproportionate amount of the noise complaints, to make them aware of the noise sensitivity here. And I would want to keep up that effort and expand that effort, and expand the effort of a newsletter, which I know came up in the board meeting last week and it was deemed to be inappropriate timing because it would seem that the airport was defending itself. I Personally am not sure that it was inappropriate timing, but anyway, I think that it is very, very important that the airport has a hospital-style newsletter, or maybe space in your newspaper periodically to explain itself to its constituents around the airport.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?I am not sure. I don’t know what you mean by mitigation. What find of mitigation would there be?For zoning changes in the area, other impacts?I have had a briefing on the impacted areas and the different zones around the airport. Whether it should have an EIR, I don’t know. I need to be more educated on that.Would you support noise monitoring outside of the airport property?I wouldn’t have a problem with that. I think it’s probably most appropriate at the perimeter of the airport. A lot of pilots practice noise abatement by using full power to take off so we can get as high as we can before we get to the airport boundary and then reduce power at the boundary, because reducing power reduces noise. And that’s what I do. So inside the airport boundary you wouldn’t get accurate readings because that is a legitimate place to be making noise to get airborne. And then once you are past the airport boundary you can pull back and fly as quietly as you possibly can. Sometimes that is difficult with the high temperatures and the high altitude situation, but that is certainly what I try to do, is right at the airport boundary I reduce power and many other people do to.Members of your group, the Friends of the Truckee Tahoe Airport, have publicly suggested that if a Community Airport Restoration Effort slate is elected, the airport will close. Do you believe that the CARE group intends to close the airport?All three CARE candidates have stated in public that they would keep the airport, they do not want to close the airport. I hope that that is true. But I know that there are CARE supporters, not the candidates, but people who are supporting those candidates, who would like to see the airport close, because they have said so, in public. But the CARE candidates have said that they want to keep the airport open and I certainly hope that is the truth.Are jets appropriate for this small-town airport in regard to the positive economic impacts and the negative noise impacts that they bring?Yes. Jets are appropriate because many people that are very wealthy have built homes and purchased homes within this airport district, and they are not going to spend six hours driving from San Jose on Friday night and six hours on Sunday night driving back, or whatever it is, if they can afford to come in their jet. Like everybody else I want to see those noisy jets gone, and that is something that I would certainly work hard toward if I am on the board, is getting those noisy jets out of here. But I think, and this is where we differ from CARE, I think that quiet Citations, the Challengers, the hush jets, are just fine. They don’t make near as much noise as the older ones, and they are out of here in seconds. The noise lasts for 30 seconds and they are gone. Do you believe the effort to eliminate Stage I and Stage II business jets will satisfactorily solve the noise problems associated with jets?For most people yes. But for some people if there is an airplane in the sky over their house they are not going to be happy. But I think for most people it would. The very noisy ones irritate even me. There are times that you have to suspend your conversation because of them. But there are lots of jets using this airport where you and I could carry on a conversation beside the runway that they are taking off on. And so I think, the noise complaints would abate but I think that there are some people that will never be happy.Would you support revising the Airport Master Plan before the trigger set up by the airport board, which is when aircraft operations surpass 61,600 annual operations, or if jet traffic exceeds 15 percent of total operations?I think the Master Plan is a business plan, and I have owned a business for many years very successfully and grew it very successfully, and we reviewed our business plan on a regular basis. And I see no reason why the Master Plan should not be reviewed every couple of years anyway. I don’t think a trigger of a certain number of operations is necessarily appropriate. The board only meets once a month, so to do it annually would perhaps be quite a burden and quite an expense, so that may be too much. But I certainly believe that any business plan should be under constant review.
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