Airport committee names officers, discusses gliders

Published 4:44 pm Monday, April 8, 2013

The newly formed and newly appointed Decatur County Airport Advisory Committee met for the first time Monday afternoon. Dewey Robinson was elected chairman of the committee, Bill Nichols was voted vice chairman and Jim Cerone was elected the secretary.

Robinson, Nichols, and Jim Rentz are appointees of the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, and Cerone is a member due to his position as airport manager. Other members of the new committee are Frank Loeffler, Luther Conyers and Doug Young.

Loeffler is serving because he is vice chairman of the county commission and Conyers is serving because he is the mayor pro-tem of the city of Bainbridge. The Bainbridge-Decatur County Chamber of Commerce appointed Young to the committee.

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This new committee was created by a resolution passed by the Decatur County Board of Commissioners during their March 26 meeting. The commission disbanded the previous ad-hoc airport committee during the March 12 meeting.

Robinson indicated Monday that the new committee’s role would be to work to better the community through the airport.

“This committee will have a lot more teeth in it than the old ad-hoc committee, and we hope to get a whole lot more done than we have in the past,” he said. “We look forward to being able to work with the Development Authority and the county commissioners. We are all in this for one reason, and that’s to make a better airport and a better Decatur County.”

Rentz asked if any decisions had been made concerning the removal or relocation of a possible grass landing strip on the airport’s master plan. After learning that no action had been taken, Rentz made a motion to recommend to the county commission to remove the possible grass landing strip from the airport’s master plan. The motion passed unanimously.

Relative to glider operations at the airport, Breedlove informed the committee that “the current county ordinances prohibit aviation operations on anything other than hard surfaces, unless it an emergency.” He indicated that this ordinance is 13 years old.

“So what we have been doing out there with the gliders the last five years has been against the ordinance,” Young asked.

“Yes, it’s been illegal,” Breedlove responded.

Breedlove said this issue would be addressed at the Decatur County Commission’s meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 9. Lane Bush, a local aviation and glider enthusiast, spoke at a previous commission meeting to discuss glider operations at the airport.

“We’ll find out tomorrow who is lying — whether Lane Bush is lying or the Georgia Department of Transportation is lying,” Breedlove said. “Lane has, supposedly, some document that he has not shared with me that says you can operate in the grass areas between the taxiway and the runway.”

The committee also recognized the contributions made by Karl Young, the chairman of the old ad-hoc committee.

The next scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, May 7, at 1:30 p.m., in the county administration building’s conference room.