Junky planes in cross hairs - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Junky planes in cross hairs

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Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2006 4:57 am | Updated: 3:46 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Flat tires. Damaged propellers. Broken wings.

Scottsdale Airport officials don’t want to see any of it.

Planes tied down on the tarmac that are visibly unworthy to fly would be asked to shape up or ship out under a new rule proposed by the Airport Advisory Commission.

Currently, planes in disrepair are allowed to park at the airport. The main motivation for the rule change is cosmetic, officials said.

“No airport should look like a junkyard,” said Don Maxwell, chairman of the commission. The seven-member panel is set to vote on the issue April 12.

The rule should sound familiar, said Chris Read, assistant aviation director.

“The city doesn’t allow abandoned vehicles parked in the streets — they make the city look bad,” he said.

Safety also is an issue.

If a plane has a flat tire, it is more difficult to move in case of fire or emergency, Read said.

As of this month, there are four or five planes that would be considered unairworthy, he said. But there are a dozen people on a waiting list for tiedown space at the airport, and even more for hangar space.

Tommy Walker, general manager of the Scottsdale Air Center, was the first tenant to complain about the unsightly aircraft.

“Somebody should be required to keep it in flyable condition,” he said. “You don’t have to go fly it. I can’t dictate what you do in your life. But other people would love to have a spot.”

If the advisory commission approves the rule, owners of such planes would have 30 days to fix their aircraft. If the owners don’t take care of the problem, they could have their parking permits taken away.

The airport is encouraging public input on the matter, because not everyone agrees it is a problem.

All of the tenants are paying their monthly $35 tiedown bills, so none of the aircraft are technically abandoned, Read said.

“We don’t want to do something that will hurt any individual,” Maxwell said.

Scottsdale pilot William Gott said he is against the proposed change. Although he no longer keeps a plane in Scottsdale, he said it is a sign that the airport is only interested in corporate clients, not the local pilots.

“One by one, they’re kicking people like myself off,” he said. “Eventually we’ll get tired and go away.”

Scottsdale isn’t the first airport to look at this matter.

Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa prohibits nonflyable aircraft from being stored on airport property.

The Glendale Airport has the same rule, enacted to “prevent an unsightly Airport appearance.”

To comment on the proposed change, call Read at (480) 312-2674 or e-mail

cread@scottsdaleaz.gov.

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