Saturday, September 25, 2004
FAA praises Monterey airport response on runway
By LARRY PARSONS
The Monterey (CA) Herald
A federal aviation safety team inspected Monterey Peninsula Airport on Friday and gave the airport high marks. The tour by a Federal Aviation Administration “runway safety action team” came three months after an FAA safety official ordered the airport to repaint faded runway and taxiway markings that apparently had generated complaints from some pilots.
An airport official said the markings will be repainted under a maintenance project starting next week and funded by a $400,000 federal grant.
The repainting would have occurred earlier but there were delays in securing the project money from the aviation agency, said airport general manager Thomas Greer.
“We were already planning to do it,” he said.
On Friday, seven FAA officials toured the airfield and tower, and recommended several ways to improve directional signs and ground markings that help pilots and other airport users and keep them from possible trouble.
“I think they are doing a very commendable job,” said retired Marine Col. Dave Kurner, the FAA’s regional runway safety program manager. “They respond rapidly and appear to have excellent communication.”
The five-hour inspection was the first by such an FAA unit in Monterey, though the airport receives annual FAA inspections as a commercial airport that cover some of the same issues, Kurner said.
A FAA spokesman in Los Angeles said the inspection was routine and not prompted by any problems at the Monterey airport.
“It’s pretty standard stuff visiting airports,” FAA spokesman Donn Walker said.
Only two “runway incursions” — when a plane, vehicle or pedestrian create a possible collision on a runway — occurred at the Monterey airport from 2000 to 2003, Walker said. Both happened in 2000.
“This airport has a very good record,” Walker said.
Some suggestions from Friday’s inspection will be folded into the upcoming maintenance project, Greer said. Others will be done as soon as possible, he said.
Recommendations included adding or modifying signs and paint markings at ramps, taxiways and “runway safety areas.” The FAA officials also recommended improvements to the airport’s driver-education program.
The FAA team also met with pilots and other airport users, but didn’t hear any major complaints from them, Kurner said.
Greer said he was “very pleased” by the the federal team’s assessment. “It’s a reflection of the people we have here,” he said.