It’s time for the airport badge audit. The airport is required to audit them every 12 months, and every 24 month they actually rebadge. Emails have been going out to let everyone know it is time and that you can stop by the fire station and show your badge. You must present your badge for audit by September 30. The audited badges will be good until October 2017.
The new FAA policy on hangers has been released. Each hangar must contain at least an airworthy aircraft or an aircraft actively being built or repaired. If a qualifying aircraft is present, then the hangar may also contain other items. The policy applies to both publicly and privately owned hangars. FNL plans to be in compliance by July 2017. So the airport will be reaching out to you to verify that there is an aircraft or a project associated with each hangar. If it’s a project aircraft you need to provide occasional picture updates to show progress. Because FNL is a federally supported airport, if we do not comply we will lose our funding. Around 70% of our funding comes from the FAA and that goes for runways, taxiways, lights, nav aids, and everything associated with that. So all of you that have boats or RVs without planes will no longer be approved.
Elite Airways is still flying scheduled service out of here. They just extended their schedule through October 31st. They are still going into Rockford and we are still talking with them about other locations, hopefully someplace warm or someplace fun in the winter.
Also, you might hear airport operations talking on Unicom frequency when Elite Airways is coming in and out. We did have an incident a few weeks ago with a local plane that cut off the airline on final so we are working with the airline to assure them so they will continue to operate out of here as the economic benefits are tremendous. Please be courteous to Elite Airways and give them space when they’re coming in on final.
There is a new giant garage next to the fire station that will be the airport’s snow removal equipment building as well as some of the lawn care stuff. Twelve different locations will be combined into one space which will free up some hangar space. This will vacate a box hangar near Trans Arrow that is 42 x 50 hangar. The bid request has gone out, and bids must be received by September 29. If you’re interested, contact airport staff at the fire station.
With the last FAA reauthorization bill signed into law last month, our airport won the FAA lottery, which means that we were able to obtain a $1,000,000 grant for 2017 for airport capital improvement projects. Because the qualifications are so weird, FNL is actually the only airport in Colorado that is qualified. So they plan to move a lot of 2018 work into 2017, including preservation to the runways, taxiways, and ramp, and hopefully will bring that into the hanger area. The airport staff would like to partner with hangar groups in order to maximize the effectiveness of the project. Hopefully next summer. Right now the cost of sealcoat is $1.00 – $1.50 a square yard.
As you know our name has been changed to Northern Colorado Regional Airport. Jason has submitted an application to the FAA so they can begin to change the charts which is a very long process. Jeffco changed it’s name to Rocky Mountain Metro ten years ago and we are going through the same process. We will probably hear Ft. Collins – Loveland or Fort Love or other variations on the radio for about 25 more years. Changing the charts is about a six month process so we are hopeful that about the first of the year we can make it official and encourage everyone to use “Noco Traffic” when you’re in the pattern. We will email everyone when the time comes. For now continue to use our legacy name on the radio.
The remote tower project has been handed over to the FAA NextGen division. The NextGen division is running the show and CDOT is funding the project. Currently they are working on obtaining a vendor. What that means is finding a company that has the technology and the understanding of how to implement that technology that is able to pull off what the state and the FAA have envisioned for what a remote tower will be. So instead of just cameras they want to put together a system that is track based which is essentially a radar screen in front of a controller (who could be located remotely) in able to monitor aircraft that are coming and going at our airport, and then supplement that with cameras. Right now there is one other airport, Leesburg, Virginia, that has an all camera based system but it is not FAA sanctioned. The FAA is watching but doesn’t believe that the system will be able to work everywhere and they think the system they are putting in here will be reproducible. The timeline has been pushed out about six months since our last update, to December 2018. They are looking at November 2016 to be able to select the vendor. Hopefully by this time next year there will be some things installed. The idea is to put up an antenna type tower midfield which will have a radar on top and then some cameras, as well as a camera at each end of the run way. Then a cable to a to-be-determined location to where we will have a controller. If you would like to look at any of the details it is on the airport website.
There was language in the proposed FAA refunding bill allowing the FAA to include our remote tower in the Contract Tower Program, but it was stripped from the short-term reauthorization bill that finally passed. If we have to pay for the controllers, it will cost the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland about $600,000 per year for staffing. So if anyone here has the ear of your Congressman or Senator, Jason would love to discuss the details with you so you can lobby Congress to restore that part of the FAA bill next time around.