Hemet Airport – Addressing Elimination of Soaring Operations

Ron Cozad – Aviation Attorney, and VP Region 5 of the California Pilots Association, is working closely with the Orange County Soaring Association to fight the inappropriate exclusion of glider operations from Hemt Airport, after operations for nearly 50 years. To read the letter click Read More.
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L A W   O F F I C E S O F

RONALD J. COZ AD


M C C LELL AN -P ALOMA R  A IR PORT ,  P REMIE R  J ET  B LD .

2100  P ALOMAR  A IRPO RT  R OA D ,  S UIT E  214

C ARLSBA D ,  CA  92011


September 17, 2009

Hon. Jeff Stone

County Supervisor, District III RIVERSIDE COUNTY
4080 Lemon St. 5th Floor
Riverside, CA 92501

RE: Glider Operations, Hemet-Ryan Airport

Dear Supervisor Stone:

I represent the Orange County Soaring Association, whose members and others have heavily utilized federally funded Hemet-Ryan Airport for glider operations for nearly 50 years.

On September 1, 2009, before an open session of the Board of Supervisors you announced that the County granted a 6 plus 3 month extension1 of the October 1, 2009 deadline for cessation of glider activities at Hemet-Ryan Airport.  This was to allow time for those previously ordered to vacate to meet with your office, the FAA and CalTrans to investigate whether the County is in violation of its federal obligations and to attempt in good faith to reach an amicable resolution less offensive to the aviation community.  On September 8, your Chief of Staff, Verne Lauritzen, confirmed that the 6 plus 3 month extension had been approved.  Thereafter, my client renewed its request to meet with airport management to implement appropriate operational guidelines and to coordinate discussions to mediate the long term status of glider operations.

Inexplicably, on September 4, 2009, EDA managers Chad Davies and Tom Turner confided to airport users that a) the glider runway will be permanently closed on October 1, 2009, and b) no reason exists for glider pilots  to enter the airfield after October 1, 2009, other than for the specific purpose of removing permanently equipment and aircraft.  We also received reports that Riverside EDA will immediately begin bulldozing the FBO facilities and other structures on October 1, 2009.  Likewise, on September 16, 2009, my client received the attached letter from Mr. Davies stating:

“You are reminded that all sailplane operations from Rwy 4-22 and sailplane departure operations from Rwy 5-23, will cease on October 1, 2009. OCSA must vacate the former Sailplane Enterprise Inc, leasehold by October 1, 2009.”

1                      The official record reflects you announced a 6 month extension of glider operations plus an additional 3 month discretionary extension that may be granted  based on demonstrated hardship.  The posted  Statement of Proceedings, however, reflects only a 3 month extension.

Page – 2 –

_____________________________

In our view, the County has not lived up to its obligations to the community and to my clients, has now reneged on its public expressions of good faith efforts and has engaged in a deliberate strategy to deny my client’s members their rights to access Hemet Ryan Airport for their aviation operations.  My clients have repeatedly sought your assistance with this problem but your office has ignored their requests and has miss-stated your intentions.  Regrettably, you have left us no option but to bring a formal complaint to the US Department of Transportation seeking to withhold from the County of Riverside all future federal funding for its transportation projects until the County complies with its federal obligations to make Hemet Ryan Airport reasonably available to all classes of aviation activities, including glider operations.

Sincerely,

 

Ronald Cozad

 

e-copies:
A. Garcia, FAA                                K. Haukohl, FAA                             G. Cathey, CalTrans                         J. Brown, CalTrans                         
P. Miller, CalTrans                            H. Oliver, EDA                                 E. Rosiak, CPA                                W. Dunn, AOPA                                
L. Tuohino, OCSA                           C. Mannion, OCSA                           B. Buster, BOS                                J. Tavaglione, BOS                          
Office of R. Wilson, BOS                 M. Ashley, BOS                                V. Lauritzen, BOS


Chris Mannion                                                                                           16 September 2009

Vice -President OCSA

32164 Zion Way

Winchester, CA 92596

RE: Public Records Act – Request for Documents

Dear Mr. Mannion,

In response to your two Public Records Act requests, both dated September 14, 2009, Riverside County has made available per the accompanying attached e-mail the “Records Request for the Real Property Conveyance of the Hemet-Ryan Airport” at no charge.

As to your request entitled “Records Request, Aeronautical Safety, Hemet-Ryan Airport,” this department was unable to locate any records, which would be responsive to those requests enumerated in numbers 1-6. We believe that this information is available per the NTSB and FAA accident/incident web database.

You are reminded that all sailplane operations from Rwy 4-22 and sailplane departure operations from Rwy 5-23, will cease on October 1, 2009.  OCSA must vacate the former Sailplane Enterprise Inc, leasehold by October 1, 2009.

If you have any questions please call me at (951) 955-9417.

Sincerely,

Chad Davies

Airports Development Specialist

cc:  Daryl Shippy, Airports Manager

Tom Turner, Airports Supervisor

Larry Howell, Sailplane Enterprises

Colby Cataldi, Assistant Director, EDA Aviation

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/MARKETING • REDEVELOPMENT• HOUSING • WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT • HOUSING AUTHORITY AVIATION • RIVERSIDE COUNTY FAIR & NATIONAL DATE FESTIVAL • EDWARD-DEAN MUSEUM & GARDENS • COMMUNITY SERVICES

37552 WINCHESTER ROAD • MURRIETA CALIFORNIA 92563

T 951.600.7297 • F 951.698.7920 • WWW.RIVCOEDA.ORG

 

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