Important Information About The Georgetown
October 24, 2002
I'm responding to a brief article in the Georgetown Gazette dated October 24th by Supervisor Chairman, Dave Solaro. It is obvious from Chairman Solaro's statement the Board of Supervisors do not understand why the citizens and voters of the Divide are concerned regarding the Board's failure to renew the lease of the current Georgetown Airport operator. The Board continues to repeat their statement that a fueling person will be on hand to provide fueling service and security. That is not the issue! The issue is the current FBO provides services well beyond the scope of anything the County can provide.
Services such as:
1. Safety in the event of an emergency: I personally know of three emergencies at the Airport where Steve Cimmarusti intervened. By taking an airplane up and flying alongside the pilots in distress, he then guided them to a safe landing. Had it not been for Mr. Cimmarusti's experience as a Certified Flight Instructor and Aircraft Mechanic, (and his willingness to get involved in the emergencies), I believe the endings could have been tragic. I also know of a pilot rescue by Mr. Cimmarusti and others at the Airport where the pilot would certainly have perished had it not been for the ON Airport availability of Mr. Cimmarusti. I also know that while at home, the Cimmarusti's keep an aircraft radio on and listen for potential problems pilots may be having at, or near, the Airport. Steve in many cases has gone to the Airport, long after business hours, to help a pilot with a problem.
2. Aircraft Maintenance: For pilots, having Steve's services available are invaluable. I know because I have been stuck at another airport, and had to call Steve to drop what he was doing and come to my assistance. I know of other cases where after business hours, Steve has been called on to fly off to another airport to assist one of Georgetown Airports pilots in need of an aircraft mechanic. It is very difficult to place a dollar value on this type of service.
3. Aircraft Rentals
4. Charter Flights
5. A place to purchase aviation supplies, study aids, maps, snacks, and a place to meet and exchange aviation and safety information with out-of-town pilots.
6. Radio Communication: Steve & Trish provide a source of Airport and weather conditions necessary for safe flight by manning the Airport Unicom.
7. A place for the public to meet: Many non-aviation local citizens come to the FBO office, affectionately called the "shack", just to visit and chat with Trish & Steve and other friends.
8. Seven day a week manning of the Airport: Steve and Trish are normally at the Airport Monday through Saturday. They pay someone to man the Airport on Sundays.
With all the above said, tell me again what services the County is going to provide after Steve and Trish are gone?
I know that the Supervisors have said they will put the Airport operation out for bid for a replacement Fixed Base Operator. How long do you suppose the bid process will take, that is, if you can even find a replacement? Even if you do find a replacement a year or two from now, I don't believe the citizens of the Divide will ever get the EXTRA service that we get from the current operators.
And, by the way, where is the County going to get the $45,000 dollar plus annual expense of the County provided Fueling Person? I hope the Georgetown Airport, that you say is currently losing money, is not charged for this service.
In reading the above, I can only hope that you will reconsider your recent vote, and reinstate the lease of the current FBO, (Mr. Steve Cimmarusti), of the Georgetown Airport.
Patrick H. Leeds