Airport Solutions Update
is intended to keep the public informed about ongoing efforts to improve air service at Friedman Memorial Airport and to pursue
a replacement airport.
Our goal is to be open, accessible and as transparent as possible for all.
The Update is posted on our website and sent to our email database as new information becomes available. To become a subscriber, please go to WWW.IFLYSUN.COM
and click on the "Airport Solutions Update" button on the left hand side.
*NOTE: Items marked with an asterisk have occurred since the last FMAA meeting and will be briefed at the next meeting.
The Friedman Memorial Airport Authority (FMAA) has made great strides in recent months identifying a plan to address FAA design deficiencies at Friedman Memorial Airport and exploring ways to improve reliability and increase air service. The latest updates regarding these efforts and others are outlined below.
continues to work with the FAA to explore new strategies to improve reliability. The RSA Improvements Projects also have the effect of limiting the space needed to sustain ongoing airport operations effectively, such as for snow removal/storage and aircraft parking.
Improvements to Friedman Memorial Airport - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has indicated that the Airport has design deficiencies that, if not remedied, could result in the reduction or elimination of some air service. As such, FMAA partnered with the FAA to study ways to meet the design standards (C-III) for aircraft that use the Airport currently. The team has identified a plan to meet Congressionally-mandated runway safety area (RSA) requirements by the December 31, 2015 deadline and is currently in the process of implementing it.
Runway Safety Area (RSA) Improvements Projects
- Project 1: Relocate hangar taxi lane/overlay apron/security fence improvements. Project is completed.
- Project 2: Relocate/extend Taxiway B and runway safety area grading. Some erosion damage occurred with rain in August, requiring re-seeding and installation of erosion control fabric. Final painting (pavement surface markings) scheduled for completion and the project will be closed out.
- Project 3: Terminal reconfiguration. Awarded to Conrad Brothers of Idaho (Hailey). Contracting process underway; preparing Notice to Proceed. Tentative schedule: Pre-construction conference October 21 (completed), start construction approximately November 4.
- Project 4: Airport Operations Building (AOB). Awarded to Barry Hayes Construction of Idaho Falls. Contracting process underway; preparing Notice to Proceed. Tentative schedule: Pre-construction conference October 16 (completed) Start construction approximately November 4.
- Project 5: Terminal apron reconstruction/site preparation. Full construction is now underway with contractor, Western Construction. Construction going well, concrete and asphalt paving completed on schedule. AOB site development completed; utility relocations completed; north hangar area road construction underway. On schedule and on budget.
- Project 5A: Gate relocations. Project is completed.
- Project 6: Relocate Taxiway B/remove Taxiway A/northapron. Draft grant applications submitted in August. Just received notes back and will revise and resubmit. Fee negotiation and independent fee estimate have not been submitted yet but will be available for the November meeting.
- Facility/hangar acquisitions: Two owners plan to rebuild and Staff is working with them to develop sites. US Forest Service has decided to relocate their Helitack base off airport and the offer for their existing facility has been accepted.
- The RSA Improvements Projects will bring Friedman Memorial Airport into compliance with FAA Safety Area Design Standards. They will allow Friedman to survive and thrive with the type and size of aircraft that currently use the airport. They do not address the reliability issues at Friedman, although some improvement in reliability has come with the change to regional jets. FMAA continues to work with the FAA to explore new strategies to improve reliability. The RSA Improvements Projects also have the effect of limiting the space needed to sustain ongoing airport operations effectively, such as for snow removal/storage and aircraft parking.
Pursuit of a replacement airport
A replacement airport is likely the best long-term solution for air service to this community. Critical components in the replacement airport process would include locating a feasible site, building community support, identifying and developing funding sources and evaluating operational feasibility.
- Master Plan - Inventory and forecast chapters underway having started the process in September. Expect initial forecasts at the next board meeting. First chapters to be completed around Thanksgiving for presentation in early December.
- Capital Improvement Program - cash flow projections for capital improvement spending (includes safety area work, money for Master Plan and other non-eligible AIP work) show approximately $1.9M in operational reserves left at the end of FY 2015. This does not include a few additional terminal items under consideration, however projections for cash flow look solid.
- At the October Board Meeting, Airport Manager, Rick Baird, gave a detailed presentation explaining the Noise Abatement Program in response to an increase in the number of concerns registered through the program in the past few months. A recap of the presentation is below:
- The Voluntary Noise Abatement Program was developed in the early 90's by members of the community, as well as aviation experts. Its basic components were:
- The Airport is an asset to the community
- The existence of the Airport in the community for the foreseeable future and endeavored to achieve a balance between community and aviation
- Aviation represents visual and noise impacts on the immediately surrounding community
- Neither the airport nor the community have legal authority to restrict aviation activity within the guidelines of FAA rules and regulations
- The airport environment at the time the program was developed was problematic:
- Risky flight operations below the clouds
- Acrobatic flying
- Numerous operations at all hours of the night
- Routine flying over Hailey north of the airfield for weather and/or convenience
- Numerous operations of egregiously loud (Stage II) aircraft
- The Voluntary Noise Abatement Program requests:
- Aircraft above 12,500 lbs not land from or depart to the north
- Aircraft not operate between the hours of 11PM - 6AM
- Implementation of recommended approach and departure procedures to/from both north and south, as well as avoidance, when possible, of the over flight of Bellevue and Hailey
- Technological advancements since the Voluntary Noise Abatement Program was created:
- GPS or satellite-based approaches have been developed
- Bellevue has expanded, making it harder to avoid
- Regional Jets widely used at SUN which are more often required to fly using IFR (instrument flight rules) as opposed to VFR (visual flight rules)
- An instrument departure procedure has been developed
- Loud Stage II jet engines have become obsolete and will be prohibited by law, December 31, 2014.
- Other important points:
- Communities of Bellevue and Hailey have supported technology to keep aircraft at specific altitudes and flight paths, consistent with instrument procedures
- The Voluntary Noise Abatement Program was never intended to circumvent the use of instrument procedures
- Air traffic control tower operators cannot reroute pilots who are required to use IFR; however, air traffic controllers do endorse and support the Program, within their legal parameters.
- The Noise Abatement Program has made a very positive impact
- Pilot world supports "good neighbor flying" and recognizes the importance of it to this community
- Fewer aircraft flying over Hailey
- Very few operations at night or over the north for convenience
- Operators are consistently higher inbound and outbound
- Aircraft are significantly quieter
Upcoming Opportunities to Learn More
- Coffee Talk - Q&A with Airport Manager Rick Baird and Communications Director, Candice Pate
- Tuesday, November 18, 7:30-9AM at Brandi's Kitchen on Main St. in Bellevue
- Airport Tour - see the challenges first hand
- Wednesday, November 19, 12:00-1:30PM, light lunch will be served. Space is limited, email Cecilia@flyfma.com to reserve your spot.
- NEW! All tour attendees are entered in a drawing to win a scenic flight tour of the Wood River Valley courtesy of FMAA.
back to top
Photo: (Header) Planes at Friedman Memorial Airport - by Nils Ribi