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Aerobatic Plane Denied Fuel: Hammonton, NJ

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Aerobatic Plane Denied Fuel: Hammonton, NJ

Unread postby jjbaker » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:10 pm

I have a friend who, in addition to being a talented acro pilot, is a fledgling instructor and coach. He recently opened an Aerobatic Practice Area that borders the runway at Hammonton, NJ (N81), very underutilized airport. How underutilized you ask? Yesterday was a clear, crystal blue Sunday (Father's Day as a matter of fact) and during the 4 hours we were there, the only operation was a single helicopter that was based on the field. This box had been opened years before but was the subject of an unfortunate event that forced its closure. The airport was happy to see it go. They don't like aerobatics. And they don't seem to really like airplanes. They DO seem to like--and certainly accept--state and federal funds for improvements but only so long as those improvements don't interfere with the post-apocolyptic ambiance of the place.

Anyway my friend NOTAM'd his box and provided two spotters, once on box freq and one on unicom. I dove into the box and got some very solid, badly needed coaching. But having flown far to get there, after three stabs at the sequence I needed gas and a break before converting anymore carbon into noise. I asked the fueler for gas and was directed to his boss who I initially took to be the airport owner. He was not--the town owns the airport. Nor was he the manager. He ran the FBO and the local MX facility and therefore seemed to enjoy the power to deny fuel for my Pitts. He also denied fuel for my friend. An argument ensued where he was reminded that these planes don't carry much gas to begin with and he might share at least a portion of the responsibility should anything happen when we fly to the 20 miles to the next airport for fuel. He allowed us TWO gallons. (We took a little more than that). My friend has the support of the IAC and the FAA. He's got the situation covered and I believe he will soon have this whole thing resolved and our tyrannical mechanic will just have to suck it up. But I thought I would throw this out there as yet another example of how threatened our sport is by such little minds.

——————

Jason Flood, who has reopened the practice box at Hammonton has already informed the FAA of the event and also the IAC through Bill Finegan. I think they will contact AOPA as well. When the box was last opened 4 or 5 years ago, there was an accident where a Yak in the box was T-boned by a Lancair. The Lancair pilot, a good friend of the Floods, was killed and the Yak pilot was severely injured by his loosely secured parachute harness. The box was closed and the airport suddenly took on a sullen, closed off aspect. Joe was denied access to his shop and most of the GA users relocated.

There was a town meeting last night and Mayor Steve DiDonato stated that, had he been there Sunday, He would have said, “Here’s five gallons! No get off my airport!”


Source: Via Email - AcroMailer
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Re: Aerobatic Plane Denied Fuel: Hammonton, NJ

Unread postby TriPacer » Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:30 am

I don't understand at all - why on earth would the FBO owner prefer not to have sales... This is really weird...
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Re: Aerobatic Plane Denied Fuel: Hammonton, NJ

Unread postby RKittine » Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:36 pm

You don't know this airport. Nothing there would surprise me. The Feds have been known in the past to keep an eye on the aerobatic area, so make sure if you use it, you have the required equipment and are doing maneuvers authorized for your aircraft.

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Re: Aerobatic Plane Denied Fuel: Hammonton, NJ

Unread postby TriPacer » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:25 am

How would that affect the FBO, though? If someone broke the regs, does the FAA punish the airport and, indirectly, the FBO?
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Re: Aerobatic Plane Denied Fuel: Hammonton, NJ

Unread postby jjbaker » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:59 am

The airport seems to have taken a harsh anti aerobatics stand upon a crash in which an aerobatic airplane flying in a NOTAM'd box was hit by a Lancair, which barreled into the final credits of his own movie at 190 kts. The Lanceair pilot perished in the episode, the aerobatic box was closed. There seems to be an established box again, much to the dismay of the airport.

Some of the higher ups at the IAC have apparently started to throw their weight around. Seems to have become a well groomed association only topic and since the associations have started to play not many useful news have leaked. I am sure there will be legal repercussions for the act of discrimination.

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA468B
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 20, 2011 in Hammonton, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/26/2012
Aircraft: YAKOVLEV YAK-55M, registration: N521BC
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The Lancair pilot told a witness that he was going to fly the high-performance airplane to a nearby airport to visit a friend. The pilot was aware that the nearby airport had occasional aerobatic activity near the runway, within an "aerobatic box." The box was active on the day of the accident, with a Notice to Airmen issued for aerobatic activity at 3,500 feet and below. The airplane approached the airport about 3,500 feet; however, the exact altitude could not be determined due to the fidelity of the radar/encoder data. As the airplane approached the airport at a high airspeed, likely about 190 knots, it collided with an aerobatic airplane that had just completed a hammerhead stall and was observed in a dive. The pilot's airplane cut through the aerobatic airplane's fuselage just aft of the cockpit, top to bottom, and lost about 4 feet of its left wing. The pilot's airplane then crashed into nearby woods, and the pilot of the aerobatic airplane parachuted into the same woods.

The aerobatic pilot and an observer stated that clearing turns were conducted prior to the aerobatic maneuver. However, the sun’s position and the airspeed of the oncoming airplane would have made it highly unlikely that the aerobatic pilot would have seen it. It is unknown what the inbound pilot's intentions were at the time of the accident. A relative of the inbound pilot, another pilot who had flown with him often, surmised that the pilot's approach to the airport at such a high altitude may have been an exploratory overflight, which is supported by the airplane's high airspeed at the time. Radar indicated that the pilot's airplane did not perform any standoff maneuvering prior to approaching the airport, and other pilots in the air at the time heard no advisory radio transmissions from him. During flight in visual meteorological conditions, the tenets of "see and avoid" apply. With the inbound pilot's knowledge of potential aerobatic activity at the airport, it is not known why he did not use advocated collision avoidance strategies.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The Lancair pilot's failure to see and avoid the aerobatic airplane. Contributing to the accident was the Lancair pilot's inadequate use of collision avoidance strategies while inbound to an area of known potential aerobatic activity.


http://www.faa.gov/airports/airport_com ... /overview/
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Re: Aerobatic Plane Denied Fuel: Hammonton, NJ

Unread postby RKittine » Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:28 pm

Take a look how close the "BOX" is to the airport and runway. When NOTAMs are in effect, it adversly affects the FBO by creating a situation where less traffic will come in to land and use the airport facilities. There was a similar issue years ago at Lincoln Park Airport in New Jersey and Clow International in Plainfield, Illionois. I instructed at both of those airports during the time that here was a Aerobatic Box.

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Re: Aerobatic Plane Denied Fuel: Hammonton, NJ

Unread postby jjbaker » Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:55 pm

The place seems deserted and dead. Airnav lists 44 movements per day on average. Considering that this happened on a perfect VFR day (Holiday no less) and there was one movement during a 4 hour time-span of this particular event, it seems as if the people should be happy to have a plane in the sky at all... certainly to sell fuel?
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