Multiple Agencies Supported Creation of Wall
2013-11-09T01:20:00Z Wall of Honor for military members dedicated at airportBen Milleremail@example.com Santa Maria Times
Every month, about 8,000 people come through the Santa Maria Public Airport. Many of them include military members, some of whom are coming back home. All of them will now walk by a tribute to the nation’s military men and women.
A gathering of about 30 people watched on Friday as community leaders dedicated the airport’s new Wall of Honor, which sits just inside the front entrance to the terminal. The wall features eight flags on poles representing each branch of the military, prisoners of war and those missing in action, the state of California and the United States. All eight flagpoles are in front of a large American flag backdrop.
Hugh Rafferty, a member of the Marine Corps League, originally came up with the idea. “As I walked through this terminal one day, with the general manager of the airport, (I saw a banner) … up here that said ‘Welcome Home,’” Rafferty said. “When I looked at it, I thought that wasn’t good enough for what these people do.” Rafferty, the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and other community leaders helped to make the wall a reality.
“This will just give (returning service members) an awesome place to take some pictures, enjoy the moment with their family,” said Chris Hastert, the airport’s general manager, during the dedication.
Jack Pellerin, whose only brother died while serving on a Merchant Marine ammunition ship in World War II, gave an invocation during the ceremony. “I have great respect for all veterans,” Pellerin said.
Rafferty said the airport services quite a few returning military members because of its proximity to Vandenberg Air Force Base, but that the wall will exist for all people coming into the region through the airport. “This is really a tribute to all military men and women, past, present and future,” he said. “This is not a memorial, this is (an) everyday (way) to say ‘thank you.’”
November 9, 2013 1:20 a.m. • Ben Millerfirstname.lastname@example.org
Interest Being Shown in Long-Desired Development
The Santa Maria Airport Business Park, a long-sought development at the Public Airport, is up for discussion when the Board of Directors meets today at 7:00 p.m.
The plan for the park, which began life decades ago as the Santa Maria Research Park, is attracting enough attention lately that the board will discuss forming an ad hoc committee to meet with interested business people, General Manager Chris Hastert said.
“We’re at a point where we need to start figuring out how we’re going to move forward with the business park,” Hastert said. “(A committee) allows us to have some division of the board and staff that can meet with businesses that are interested in coming here.” The committee would consist of two members of the Board of Directors and staff, and would allow it to gauge interest of potential investors without violating the state’s open meetings law, or Brown Act.
The plan for the Research Park was approved in 1995 and updated, revised and renamed the Airport Business Park Specific Plan in 2008. It is a 20- to 30-year development for 740 of the airport’s 2,598 acres that would include light industrial, manufacturing and commercial businesses. Retail businesses, office development and an 18-hole golf course were also a part of the plan.
Hastert said he couldn’t identify any businesses that have contacted him, but added that forming a committee to meet with prospective tenants would be a good idea. “There’s nobody who wants to go public because they’re looking at other opportunities throughout the city,” he said. “But we’re close enough that I think we should get some things going.”
Development of the park has been slowed to a salamander’s pace because of environmental concerns over endangered species found on the property. The Airport District is working with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to get approval to develop the park.
Approximately 100 acres will be set aside for California Tiger Salamander habitat and nearly 70 percent of the property will be left as open space.
The board will also get a report on its 2012-13 independent financial audit, consider a contract with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to replace parking lot lighting, and award a pavement repair contract.
The pavement project will repair cracks in the terminal ramp and replace a section of taxiway. Nine local companies provided bids that ranged from $93,273.08 to $169,738.10. T. Simmons Co. provided the low bid which was $19,000 less than the engineer’s estimate.
October 24, 2013 Brian Bullockemail@example.com
First Responders Flex Their Disaster Plans in FAA Exercise
A simulated passenger plane crashed Monday at Santa Maria Public Airport left between 40 and 50 dead or injured and emergency services personnel scrambling.
The fiery crash was an exercise required every three years by the Federal Aviation Administration to test local emergency response. It utilized a full-size mockup of an airplane fuselage. The wall of flames, fueled by propane inside and outside of the fuselage, proved the biggest test for firefighters and their new $1 million fire truck.
The Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) truck, which the Santa Maria Public Airport District bought with help from an FAA grant, was designed for such a disaster. It has the capability to punch a hole in the fuselage of an airplane and spray water or foam inside to extinguish a blaze.
“We’re exercising the whole Santa Barbara County (Mass Casualty Incident) protocol,” said Battalion Chief Rick Bertram. “We have a brand new crash rig, Rescue 61, so it’s been exciting for us to be able to operate that.”
As if both interior and exterior fires weren’t enough to handle, firefighters did their work to the chilling recorded screams of crash victims pleading for help.
For local emergency responders, it’s a chance to exercise all of their training under live fire conditions. “Usually, when we train we do it in pieces. This gives us a chance to put all of those pieces together,” said Santa Maria Fire Chief Dan Orr, who had an entire shift of firefighters working the drill.
In addition to city firefighters — Station 6 is at the Airport — Santa Barbara County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments, Guadalupe Fire, American Medical Response ambulances, Cal Star helicopters, Marian Regional Medical Center and even agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were part of the drill.
“Communication is a big part of every incident and it actually will determine if the incident went well or not,” Bertram said.
General Manager Chris Hastert, who ran the airport’s emergency response center on the opposite side of the airport, said he thought the drill and communication went well. He said the Red Cross also helped out, setting up a mock family response center in the Santa Maria Radisson. “Personally I’ve learned a few things I could do better in my response,” he said. “I don’t have as much experience operating an emergency response center as some managers.” Hastert said he’d be scheduling some additional training soon.
PCPA costume and make-up artists also played a big role in the drill, decorating approximately 50 college students and other volunteers with a variety of gruesome injuries ranging from cuts and burns to torso impalement. Following the crash, bodies littered a field near the drill site.
Bertram said it’s the job of emergency responders to limit the numbers of casualties. “It’s really about life safety for the victims and also the rescuers,” Bertram said. “We learn something new each time.”
10/8/13 • By Brian Bullock/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Maria Public Airport District requests your help in gathering the travel needs of businesses in this area.
Please participate in this survey in the link below:
Armed with More Incentives, Information District Seeks Meeting with United and Other Carriers
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2013-09-22T01:00:00Z Santa Maria Public Airport aims for Denver flightsBrian Bullockemail@example.com Santa Maria Times
Santa Maria Public Airport has long desired to be able to offer a home to an airline with passenger service to a Midwest hub.
Armed with a new sweeter support package and information gathered from a new survey being compiled by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission, airport General Manager Chris Hastert is hoping the latest effort will pay off.
“We’re trying to schedule a headquarters meeting with United in November,” Hastert said last week. “We want to go back to them with our increased airline support program along with some additional information on our community and our travel habits.”
Last year, the airport got a Small Community Air Service Development Program grant from the Federal Aviation Administration that will allow it to seek better service from commercial carriers.
In July, the Airport District’s Board of Directors approved a request to increase the incentives it’s offering to airlines. Santa Maria can now offer roughly $1.1 million in what Hastert calls “support” to an airlines that would provide service to a Midwest hub, which would open routes to the East Coast. The revenue guarantee includes $490,000 from the air services grant, $510,000 from the airport district, $100,000 in marketing and an additional contribution in in-kind marketing through the Chamber of Commerce. The incentives package includes waivers for landing fees, terminal space rental and fuel flowage.
The Chamber and Economic Development Commission is boosting the effort by rallying local businesses with a business travel survey. “We want to continue to add support especially from the business community to show airlines that we have businesses and companies that would use additional flights regularly, especially to Denver and other destinations,” said Dave Cross, director of the Economic Development Commission.
Airport District representatives have had several meetings with United, Skywest and Frontier airlines over the past year. Hastert said United Airlines is the main target because it operates out of Denver. United Air Express already operates commuter flights between Santa Maria and Los Angeles.
September 22, 2013 • Brian Bullockfirstname.lastname@example.org
Military members and others returning to the Central Coast will be greeted by a patriotic presentation at the Santa Maria Public Airport. The addition will show returning veterans that their service is appreciated, according to Bob Hatch, president/CEO of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. Hatch is a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War.
An American flag, 8 feet by 10 feet, now hangs on the wall where arriving passengers enter the terminal building. Additionally, flags of the military branches are on display along with a POW/MIA flag, to remember prisoners of war and those listed as missing in action.
Hatch said the project was undertaken by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce at the suggestion of Hugh Rafferty, former airport board member and chairman of the Committee to Improve North County.
Rafferty approached Hatch, Dave Cross, Economic Development Commission Director, and Airport General Manager Chris Hastert about the addition.
“His idea was to have a place of honor for those members of the armed forces returning to the Central Coast, demonstrating that the community recognizes and appreciates their service and sacrifices,” Hatch said. “The idea was quickly embraced by all concerned and a plan was undertaken. The idea of a large American flag as a backdrop, along with standing flags representing all the branches of the armed forces, along with the POW/MIA flag was settled on.”
While the Chamber of Commerce paid for the supplies, donations to help with the expenses came from Rafferty and Leadership Santa Maria Valley.
September 19, 2013 • Santa Maria Times Staff report
Event Was to be Held This Weekend; Organizers Vow to Bring it Back in 2014
2013-08-24T01:00:00Z Thunder silenced at SMXNiki Cervantesemail@example.com Santa Maria Times
The skies over the Santa Maria Airport were set to play host to vintage and modern-day warbirds this weekend, part of the biggest Thunder Over the Valley air show ever. But with the popular show canceled earlier this summer, the event’s organizers instead are spending the weekend retrenching.
“It’s a downer,” said Dick Mininger, a volunteer who is also the president of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight.
But Mike Geddry Sr., the show’s head organizer, said he is determined to bring Thunder Over the Valley back for 2014. “We’re doing reconnaissance and evaluating our assets,” said Geddry.
The museum’s board grounded the air show due to financial problems. But Geddry said he is determined that the show take flight again, even if it means splitting from the museum board, its sponsor, and putting together a special nonprofit organization to produce the show.
“I’m taking no prisoners,” said Geddry, who instead of heading up the air show spent the weekend on a trip to Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, a journey meant to thank all the personnel there who participated in Thunder Over the Valley throughout the years.
He also hoped to rally the troops there, he said. “I just want them to know how much we appreciate them,” said Geddry, who was making the long drive with his wife, Cathy, and service dog Kayla, an Alaskan malamute/wolf hybrid.
Many of the participants from Camp Pendleton and other military bases, as well as the show’s estimated 200 volunteers, were upset over the cancellation of the show, he said.
The air show would have been 26 years old this year.
Geddry announced in late July that the air show had been canceled, a victim of federal budget cuts and, to an extent, its own success. “The cancellation of the show was like leaving a wounded brother or sister on the home front battlefield,” Geddry said at the time, in a letter explaining the decision.
The show had been increasing in popularity, attracting about 8,000 visitors regionwide last year — up from 5,000 in 2005, Geddry said.
Its future had been up in the air ever since the federal government failed to stop midyear budget cuts, which seriously curtailed operations of the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Armed Forces. Those cuts have delivered a one-two punch to air shows all over the country.
FAA inspectors are required to approve airports, airplanes and pilots for air shows held throughout the country. At the same time, the military provides equipment and personnel for public outreach at the shows.
Despite the odds, supporters went ahead with planning the event, trying to find enough funding. They aimed to put together an event with at least three or more warbird acts at a cost of more than $40,000.
It had $15,000 provided by the Santa Maria Public Airport, but after going to the show’s 30 sponsors, Geddry said organizers could only raise another $12,000.
Geddry said the economy — still rocky here as elsewhere in the country — made it hard to get the funding it needed from the private corporations that are usually helpful. But he said he was confident that as times improve, so will the chances of getting adequate financing.
The sponsors, he said, truly want to help. “Our sponsors have spirits as big as Alaska and Texas combined,” he said.
August 24, 2013 • Niki Cervantesfirstname.lastname@example.org
Airport Board to Discuss Participation in Program
The Santa Maria Public Airport Board of Directors will consider partnering with two other airports in a program that could eventually lead to unmanned drones launching here.
The board will discuss working with the Ventura County Department of Airports and Indian Wells Valley Airport District when it meets Thursday night, to be an alternate launch and recovery site if those airports are chosen for an Unmanned Aircraft Systems program being instituted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The board meets at 7 p.m. at the airport administration building.
The two airports are among 24 facilities in 25 states that have applied to be part of the program that is in the early stages of working unmanned drones into the county’s National Airspace System.
While that may sound ominous and eventually lead to drones flying around the country, Santa Maria Airport General Manager Chris Hastert said it won’t be happening any time soon.
“We are not putting in to be one of the test sites. Ventura and Indian Wells both are. They listed us as a potential launch or recovery site,” he explained. “(The FAA) is looking for ways to integrate them into regular air space.”
Only six test sites will be chosen throughout the country. Hastert said Indian Wells’ proximity to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, and Ventura’s proximity to Point Mugu Naval Air Station are reasons those facilities chose to apply for the program.
Hastert said law enforcement and fire fighting agencies have been looking for ways to integrate the remote-controlled aircraft into their activities. He said they could be very useful in mapping out fire boundaries which would help establish temporary flight restrictions — boundaries that prevent private flights.
He said the agreements with the two airports don’t commit the airport to anything. “It basically says that if they are awarded one of the test site locations, we would negotiate with them to be a launch and recovery site,” he said.
If Santa Maria Public Airport participates in the program, and it grows, Hastert said it could benefit the local economy in terms of jobs, if manufacturing or high tech companies decide to locate here.
8/22/13 Brian Bullock / email@example.com
It’s not often an organization buys a million-dollar piece of equipment hoping it never has to use it. But that’s what the Santa Maria Public Airport did recently.
The airport purchased a Stryker 3000 ARFF truck (Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting) from Oshkosh Corp. earlier this year, and the shiny, new truck was finally delivered July 29. Cost for the truck and associated equipment is roughly $1 million. However, the airport didn’t foot the entire bill. The Federal Aviation Administration picked up about 90 percent of the cost.
Both firefighters and airport personnel are getting to know the massive new truck.
“It’s an amazing piece of equipment,” said Santa Maria Fire Chief Dan Orr. “It’s about twice the size of our current truck. It’s probably the most technologically advanced vehicle we have to operate. It’s like sitting inside the cockpit of a fighter jet.” The cockpit features a console that has more joysticks than an Xbox. They control an array of firefighting devices including a high reach extendable turret (HRET) which is essentially a long boom with a variety of tools that can reach out into a fire.
“All the controls are designed for one firefighter, one operator, so he can drive the truck, maneuver the high reach extendable turret or the bumper turret, and he can go into full pump readiness at top speed,” said Mike Peterson, western regional sales manager for Oshkosh Corp. “He can be rolling in at 50 mph and start to discharge before he stops.”
The truck holds 3,000 gallons of water, 420 gallons of pure foam concentrate, and 500 pounds of dry chemical. The operator, Carlos Rollon, ARFF Specialist with the Santa Maria Fire Department, can disperse all of those through a high volume nozzle that can handle 750 gallons per minute.
The HRET also features a camera that feeds images to a console-mounted video screen, and a device that looks like a giant pump needle, the kind used for inflating footballs and basketballs. This needle, though, is used to penetrate the soft aluminum skin of an aircraft to extinguish a fire inside a fuselage.
Everybody is raving about the truck’s speed and maneuverability. Orr, Peterson and Rollon all said the truck’s zero-to-50 mph time of 35 seconds is blinding. While it might not compare to the 2.5 seconds it takes a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport to reach 60 mph, it’s pretty quick for a 87,000-pound truck. “That’s very fast,” said Orr, who added the truck’s six-wheel drive and fully independent suspension means it can roll over all sorts of obstacles at speeds up to 35 mph comfortably. The truck’s rear tires also help steer, which makes it more maneuverable and saves on tire wear.
Rollon said that speed, along with the newly configured fencing around the station will improve Station No. 6’s response times by 15 to 20 seconds in case of an emergency.
As nice as it is to have the new toy, it’s not in service yet. Rollon and other firefighters will be training with Oshkosh representatives over the next two weeks to learn all of the details. “It’s quite a piece of machinery. Like anything new it will be a huge learning curve for us,” Orr said. “We’re very excited by it. It’s going to increase our capabilities, obviously.”
The truck is so big it doesn’t fit in the station’s equipment bays. As part of the purchase, the airport board of directors has instituted a number of side projects to improve emergency response.
J. F. Will Company recently finished a $400,000 construction project that improved paving and fencing around the airport fire station. Expanding the size of the station to get the new truck inside will be another $150,000.
And of course there was the roughly $1 million for the new truck. Airport General Manager Chris Hastert said the board of directors decided to make the investment to protect the safety of the flying public. Part of that commitment was deciding to kick in just over $53,000 to purchase the larger truck.
He said the airport’s new seasonal service to Hawaii, along with charter service for the Cal Poly football team both bring in larger aircraft to the airport. Knowing that, the board found it wise to get a larger ARFF.
“Our board really does value the safety of the passengers flying in and out of the airport,” Hastert said. “We hope we never have to use the vehicle, but we wanted to protect the lives of the passengers flying in here.”
August 11, 2013 Brian Bullockfirstname.lastname@example.org
ARFF by the numbers
Acceleration: 0 to 50 mph in 35 seconds
Top Speed: 70 mph
Side Slope Stability (Static): >30°
Gradeability: Ascend/descend a 60% grade
Vehicle Clearance Circle: 117 ft.
Dimensions: 475 in. length; 122 in. width (excluding rear view mirrors); 136 in. height without HRET; 150 in. with HRET
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
Cab: Aluminum construction; seating for up to five
Engine: Caterpillar C-16 diesel; four cycle; in-line six; 680 bhp (506 Kw) minimum at 2,100 rpm with a peak torque of 1,950 ft. lbs. @ 1,400 rpm Transmission: Allison 4800 EVS; electronic; 7-speed; automatic
Suspension: Oshkosh TAK-4 independent system with dual control arms and single coil spring; up to 16 in. of wheel end travel
Tires: Michelin® 24R21 XZL
GVWR: 87,000 lb.
Wheelbase: 236 in.
Roof Turret: Non-aspirating; electric joystick control; 600/1200 gpm
Bumper Turret: Non-aspirating; electric joystick control; 300 gpm
Hand lines (Foam/Water): Two pre-connect type (one each side) with 150 ft. of 1.75 in. ID hose and a 125 gpm pistol-grip nozzle
Water Tank: 3,000 gallon capacity
Foam Tank: 420 gallon capacity
Fire Pump: Power divider driven Waterous CRQA; single stage centrifugal 1,950 gpm at 240 psi
The Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary club recently honored outgoing president Chris Hastert following another successful year.
During his presidency, the club accomplished many community-related efforts including the review of 37 community funding requests for local nonprofit agencies. The club was able to fund 33 of those organizations with a total of $38,370, which is 99 percent of the club’s budget.
Approximately 77 percent of the funds went to organizations working with youth. Top recipients were the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Maria, Santa Maria Valley YMCA, Special Olympics, Santa Maria Fairpark, Court Appointed Special Advocates and Concerts in the Park through the People for Leisure and Youth, Inc. and the City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department.
Hastert is general manager of the Santa Maria Public Airport.
Jim Peterson takes over as president this year. Peterson attended Fresno State University, majoring in biology, and Los Angeles College of Chiropractic where he received his doctorate of chiropractic. He has been in practice in Santa Maria since 1981.
Peterson has served on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of the Santa Maria Valley for 15 years and was board president. He also served as president of the Foundation Board of the Boys and Girls Club. He is currently in his second term as an Orcutt Union School District board trustee.
August 10, 2013 • Santa Maria Times Staff report