Airport explains decision to deny skydiving

A press release from attorney Charles H. Gross, representing Al Meyers Airport Corp. owner, manager and president Andrew Aalto, states that Aalto plans to expand business operations and private flights from the airport after informing Skydive Tecumseh in January it would no longer be able to operate from that location. Skydive Tecumseh filed a lawsuit against the airport on February 28, which is still pending.A total of 20 planes will be stored at the airport, according to the release, with Heinen Avionics, an avionics repair center, scheduled to operate from the property this year. The facility is also undergoing renovations for Biomaterialize LLC, an established medical device development and consulting firm, which plans to initiate operations at the airport facility in May 2015.According to the press release, “Aalto has determined after a review of airport suitability for various activities and incorporating inputs from community members, area pilots, and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) that the airport’s parachute landing area, or drop zone, previously accessed via a monthly fee arrangement by Skydive Tecumseh, is closed for 2015 and future years.”“Many Tecumseh residents have voiced noise and safety concerns associated with the skydiving aircraft to us; some have also contacted the FAA directly,” said Aalto in the release. “Also, area pilots wanting to base their aircraft here and other pilots wanting to use our airport to access local businesses, family and friends, or recreation have been hesitant to do so because of the challenges associated with maintaining safe distances from skydiving traffic — which includes both the parachutists and the skydive airplane — to avoid collisions.”Mr. Aalto continues, “While the airport meets all MDOT requirements for building and tree setbacks that impact visibility for airplanes both in the air and on the ground, the residential and business community has grown around the airport in such a manner that sustaining a safe parachute zone for all pilots, passengers, parachutists, and the public is extremely difficult. Moving forward, we will see a more vibrant airport, business base, and community asset that will also result in quieter skies over the City of Tecumseh. The newly arrived airplanes produce lower decibel sound than the prior skydiving airplane. These new additions also fly less often than the skydive airplane and bring with them a diverse set of talented pilots and owners that are often helping one another at the airport and in the surrounding community.” A change in airport management occurred in early 2014 when former Al Meyers Airport Corp. President Keith Diver sold shares of the company to Aalto, according to lawsuit documents. Along with the change in management comes a name change to Al Meyers Airport, formerly known as Meyers-Diver’s Airport. The press release notes the airport is a state historical site and has seen continuous aviation use since 1936. “I spoke at length with Keith Diver, former airport President and manager, about his wishes for the airport before his death in 2014,” Aalto said in the release. “With the changes we have implemented, we are honoring his stated vision of a safe and accessible airport for the general aviation and local community.”Gross said there have been no talks with Skydive Tecumseh operating at a reduced capacity. Gross added that there are no plans to expand the runway, but that runway improvements could happen.

Tecumseh Herald

 

110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286
517-423-2174
800-832-6443

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