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Airport drops in safety ratings

Manager says the findings won’t affect certification.
Thursday, January 8, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:30 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

For the first time in 10 years, the Federal Aviation Administration found problems at Columbia Regional Airport that need attention.

The four problems discovered during the FAA annual inspection on Dec. 9 were:

  • foreign objects on runways and taxiways;
  • an inoperable emergency cutoff on a mobile fueler;
  • a need for an additional grounding stake at the fuel storage area; and
  • an outdated airport sign plan.

The airport advisory board met Wednesday to discuss the FAA report. Airport Manager Bill Boston said the board was not pleased with the results and would certainly respond to them, but he said that the findings would not affect the airport’s certification.

Before this year, the Columbia Regional Airport had received three consecutive safety awards from the FAA. A safety award is given after three consecutive years of no write-ups.

The most significant discrepancy the FAA inspection noted was the need for Columbia Regional Airport to place more emphasis on foreign object removal from taxiways and runways. The foreign objects are mainly bits of concrete from old pavement. Foreign objects can be a potential problem, Boston said, because they can cut tires or be ingested into engines.

Prior to the inspection, the runways and taxiways at Columbia Regional Airport were being checked for foreign objects during each shift change. The FAA only requires runways and taxiways to be checked once a day, Boston said.

“All airport personnel, when they are on the movement area, are now required to check for (foreign object damage),” Boston said.

An FAA pavement engineer expert is scheduled to analyze the situation in the next few weeks.

The problems with the mobile fueler have been resolved and additional grounding stake have been added, Boston said.

Boston said the number and placement of the runway signs were essentially correct and that the airport was in the process of updating the document that charts those signs. This process was to be completed in time to comply with the end-of-the-month deadline.


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