October 12, 2006



PRESENT:       Bergstein, Pollack, and Janson


EXCUSED:      Woodruff and Siemer


OTHERS:        James Branson, J.T. Raraigh, Steve Bile’, Jack Hallet, Jim Reike, Jim Dobbin, Tim Michalski, 5 others in attendance


REPORTED BY:  Bradd Maki                                   


Commissioner Pollack called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. from the EAA building.


Pollack began by announcing that the purpose of the special meeting was to review and receive input on the revised draft airport rules recently provided to them.  Also, further revisions as recent as the afternoon of October 12th have been made and will be discussed.  The rules will be reviewed by section with the idea of moving forward in a focused and productive manner.


7:05 p.m.  Pollack introduced City Attorney Jim Branson for brief discussion on the City’s legal perspective.  Branson indicated that the rules cannot be just rules.  They need to also be enforceable and rational.  The current rules have been in place for some time and it is time to update.  Revising the rules ended-up being a major project, not simple as originally thought.  Branson’s role was to take the current rules and first determine what to do about decriminalizing them.  It is easier to amend current rules than create new rules.  Second, is when to enforce or when to start.  Enforcement of the revised rules is tentatively scheduled to begin on January 1, 2007.  Third, is to make sure the rules are in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and standards.


7:10 p.m.  Pollack introduced Airport Manager/City Engineer Brian McManus to present a brief overview of the major revisions to the airport rules.  A PowerPoint presentation originally scheduled was not available due to equipment malfunction.  Point by point changes were presented orally.  McManus thanked the EAA for use of their facility and those in attendance for being present.


McManus indicated that the format now includes Articles and other format changes for clarification as recommended per Branson.  A paragraph was added in Section II (2), regarding Ultralight aircraft.  The consensus at previous meetings was to eliminate these rules.  Also in Section II (3-6), parking rules changed some, with the basic intent of allowing parking if it does not interrupt airport operations.  Sections IV and V were related to aircraft use and storing aircraft.  The changes were important clarifications.  For grant assurances, these sections must be followed.  The FAA is taking tours of airports and making sure they are operating as airports.  Grant assurances can be removed if the airport is not in compliance with FAA regulations.  The City does not want to compromise the large contributions (95%) current received from the FAA.


Section V (10), was added by Bradd and J.T. based on review of rules from other airports.  It was developed to help clarify what non-commercial activities can occur in private airport hangars.  Section VII (4), describes skydiving requirements.


Article 2, Commercial Operations, is the major area of changes.  In Section I (1d), the current rules are more difficult to have flight school operations.  Building sizes, locations, FBO essential, and other factors reduced the likelihood of having a flight school.  The changes loosen these requirements some.


Article 3, Rates:  Bradd and J.T. revised some of the rates, such as the fuel flowage rate suggested at $0.10/gallon, based on research of other airports in the area.


7:20 p.m.  Pollack began seeking comments section by section.  Article I, Section I:  No comments. 


Article I, Section II, Aircraft:  Pollack read a change made the afternoon of this meeting to Section II (2), basically adding “or be a licensed pilot” at the end of the first statement and adding the word “applicable” between “all” and “general” in the second statement.  Jim Reike suggested that “Ultralight pilots, instructors” be taken out as they are not associated with this section and to start with “Aircraft”.  After some discussion, this change will be taken under advisement.  Jack Hallet suggested removing the first statement in Section II (1), as it is redundant.  After some explanation from J.T. and further discussion, the change will be taken under advisement.  Hallet added that Section VII (4), regarding skydiving should be eliminated.  It was mentioned to possibly create another location for skydiving rules (will be discussed further in the order of review).  Back to Section II, Janson asked whether sport aircraft should be included.  Bergstein indicated that it was not necessary.


Article I, Section III:  No comments.


Article I, Section IV:  Janson wondered whether trailers, etc. should be included.  Hallet wondered whether his glider trailer could be stored.  McManus indicated this section was related to motorized vehicles, but indicated this could be addressed or clarified elsewhere. Branson agreed.  Bergstein indicated that he thought the proposed version was adequate.


Article I, Section V:  Pollack indicated that J.T. had a change to 4c in that the FAA Form 7460-1 should be sent to MDOT, not the FAA, as MDOT has authority in this regard.  Bergstein asked whether Section V (3) will be enforced.  McManus indicated this section will be enforced, and that the rules in general are being revised to be enforceable.  A question was asked from the audience whether this section applied to City owned hangars or all hangars.  McManus indicated the rules applied to all hangars. Section V (10) is a new section to clarify non-commercial private hangar use, as mentioned earlier.  Pollack indicated changes that were made during the afternoon prior to this meeting.  Section V, (10a) now reads “Tenants who are the owner of an experimental class aircraft may maintain and repair their aircraft in their hangar to the extent allowed by the FAA.  Pollack also indicated Section V (10b) includes “on their own hangar” between the words “maintenance” and “in”.  Tim Michalski wondered why experimental crafts could do what they want to, but if he has a registered aircraft, he is subject to more requirements.  J.T. explained that experimental crafts are exempt from many requirements and owners can pretty much do what they want in their own hangars to experimental crafts.  Hallet wondered what constitutes an FBO (definition) as stated in Section V (10e).  After discussion, “FBO” was tentatively changed to “commercial operation”.  In Section V (10d), Michalski indicated that as an owner of a hangar and plane, he should be able to anyone he want work in his hangar.  J.T. explained that if someone in his situation is hiring someone else to do work, it will be considered a commercial operation, and therefore subject to the state laws and related requirements for commercial operations.  J.T. also indicated that the liability on the freelance mechanic is great and that the City’s airport insurer could cancel the current city airport insurance if they found out commercial activity like this was occurring.  However, the rules are set-up so that work can occur in emergency situations to get the aircraft flyable.  Janson wondered if a mechanic passes an inspection without working on a plane, is it considered commercial.  Bergstein indicated “Yes” because they are taking responsibility.  Reike indicated that if they are located on the airport, why can’t they operate.  Hallet wondered whether revisions should be made to the required size of buildings needed, since a smaller space may be all that is required.  Branson clarified comments by indicating this is city owned property, subject to City requirements.  It is not as easy as it could be on privately owned properties and may need to go through a drawn-out process to get necessary approvals.  Reike indicated times are changing and suggested that the rules be reviewed and changed in this regard.  Branson added that liability issues would be difficult to address.  Bergstein was concerned that those in attendance were losing sight of the fact that the City is providing this airport and that hangars are there because of the City.  City rules are different than private.  Person in attendance asked what would happen if the FBO closes.  McManus responds by first agreeing with Reike that times are changing.  The intent is not to undermine the FBO.  The approach is set-up as a model of fairness to the FBO.  McManus also reiterated J.T.’s earlier comments that we could lose our grant assurances if the City is not operating under FAA guidelines.  J.T. added by reiterating the liability issue and fact that we must follow state rules.  In 10e, Janson wondered if a mechanic could pay the $25 fee do what they wish on an aircraft.  The response was that any work is subject to a temporary commercial operating agreement with the City.  Specifics can be defined in the agreement.  Branson described the civil infraction fines as described by city ordinance.


8:12 p.m. Article 1, Section VI (5), Branson indicated that this item was written to clarify that grills could be used, but was open to better ways of writing this item.  Janson asked whether a brazing torch could be used.  The response was no, unless the airport manager authorizes the use.  Branson indicated he will revise this section item to clarify the issue.


Article 1, Section VII (4):  McManus indicated that both skydiving and ultralights will be written as separate sections.  He also suggested that adding a Table of Contents may be helpful.   Bergstein asked J.T. whether there is a current list of all pilots with flying clubs.  J.T. indicated that he does not have a current list yet but is working on it.


Article 2, Section I:  Janson suggested removing the word “Commercial” in Section I (1c), as he indicates it is redundant.  Removal of this word will be taken under advisement.  Pollack indicated the Section I (1d) was revised to state “Flight Schools are exempt from other commercial requirements of these rules.”.  Steve Bile’, the only airport FBO, indicates that flight schools are commercial operations and meant to fully operate under one building, not be broken up so the office is in one building and the restrooms located in another building.  Bile’ questioned how his current insurance will be offset if the flight school requirements were relaxed as proposed.  McManus responded by indicating the proposal is to lighten the restrictions and promote this activity, and the current situation does not allow any flight training at the airport.  Janson added that the proposed changes would lift the current building requirements, but still require a commercial operation agreement.  J.T. provided his interpretation of the FAA requirements regarding flight schools.  He indicated they include having an airplane, having records on airport grounds, having a sit-down location and rest rooms.  He did not believe the rules to specify the requirement that all requirements need to be met in one office building, and indicated the terminal building could be used as a sit-down location and for restrooms as long as the building is not being used commercially.  Jim Dobbins asked why mechanics couldn’t get similar breaks as the flight schools.  Branson explained that the City is being accommodating based on previous meetings.  Flight schools were changed. The line was drawn there.  Some will win and some will lose with the proposal.  Bile’ indicated that nobody wants to get into business for themselves and are “skimming off the top”.  He added that instructors should get together.  Branson indicated that there must be a base line of understanding.  Reike asked whether Bile’ could get a tax break to help compensate him due to the proposed changes. Janson added that the rules for flight schools are not changed other than building and restroom requirements and that an agreement is still required.  Branson clarified the difference in logic between flight schools (basically is a community activity with community involvement) and mechanic (basically for private gain only).


Article 2, Section X:  Pollack indicated a change in 1d adding the words “or mobile” between the words “fixed” and “dispensing”.  Bergstein asked for a clarification of the FBO flowage fees, which was discussed briefly between Bile’ and the commission. 


Article 3, Rates and Fees.  McManus indicated that the contract and the rules are tied together, and changes to the rules may constitute changes in the agreement.  Bile’ disagreed.  McManus also pointed out that the contract allows selling to the public.  Bile’ added that the proposed $.10/gallon fuel flowage fees are too large and promote unfair competition.  Janson indicated that fees are standard at every airport.  McManus added that the proposed rates could change if necessary.  Branson indicated that he added a note at the end of this section indicating the tentative effective date for enforcement of the new rules is January 1, 2007.  Janson indicated he was against any terminal building fee as ridiculous, whether used for non-airport or airport services.  Bergstein indicated he did not agree.  He added that the airport should be used as an airport, and that the terminal building is a city facility.  Other city facilities require fees for use.  Branson added that the intent is to have some control over the use of the facility.  There may be some kind of folks wishing to use the terminal building other than what would be expected.  McManus indicated that the $50 fee may be high and will review whether adjustments are necessary. 


Pollack adjourned the meeting at 8:58 p.m.