After 90 day trial period, Courson will continue as airport manager
January 15, 2021
After an evaluation in executive session Monday, the Alva Airport Commission voted to continue the employment of Derrick Courson as airport manager. Courson was on a 90-day trial period after being named manager. Mayor Kelly Parker, who is an airport commission member, made the motion. He commended Courson for the job he has been doing.
Three of the five commission members were present for the meeting. Paul Kinzie presided in the absence of Chairman Dale Logsdon. Terry Turner was also absent. Calleb Mosburg and Parker were the other members present.
In the city council report, Parker said the city is looking into setting up a separate checking account for the airport. Currently, all city funds are in a pooled account.
Parker said it looks like the city will have enough money set aside to make the first annual payment to replenish money borrowed from the airport. He is optimistic the city will be able to pay off the full amount in less than the planned ten years, possibly cutting that time in half.
The city is setting aside five percent of sales tax revenue and repaying the money with interest. It came from Federal Aviation Administration grants for future airport projects. The money was borrowed to make up deficits in other city budgets.
Fuel sales were down in December at the airport. Courson said, “Bad weather stunted the traffic.” The airport sold 3,325.8 gallons of 100LL avgas for $11,307.72 and 3,701.1 gallons of Jet A for $8,886.80. With $11.83 for oil, the airport took in a total of $20,206.35.
Hoidale completed the required upgrade on the fuel pump for a cost of about $10,500. The amount also included the electrical portion of the project done by Northwest Electric.
While Hoidale was in Alva, they also completed the required fuel inspections. By doing it all in one trip, the airport didn’t have to pay as much for travel. This saved about $1,500 to $1,800, Courson said.
While he was on quarantine due to Covid exposure, Courson said Jason May, the part-time airport employee, worked extra hours to help cover the airport. Courson also thanked Public Works Director Ronnie Hoskins for opening up the airport terminal during that time.
When there was snow on the ground, the city street department helped with snow removal. Courson said he learned the tractor-mounted blade used for snow at the airport had been used too long on one side causing damage. The blade is being reinforced and repaired by local welder Chris Green. A new blade edge has been ordered for a cost of about $2,000.
Courson said the turf runway needs work and asked for suggestions on how to proceed. Kinzie told him he’d probably get different opinions from each person he asked. He suggested Courson choose a plan and tackle one area at a time until he can go over the entire runway.
At the end of February or beginning of March, Courson said, he plans to spray a broadleaf weed killer around the airport grounds.
He checked on the water tower to the west of the runway where a light is out. Courson said the ladder goes straight up, and he doesn’t think he should climb it. He’ll check on options like getting someone with climbing equipment to look at it.
Courson said he finally got the right number to call to get a card reader to handle military aircraft charges. He was going to watch a webinar on how to set up and maintain it. Once it is set up, local pilot John Wiebener will talk to his contacts at Vance Air Force Base about getting a T-6 to land and look over the airport.
The manager said he regretted not having the card reader ready since three government helicopters landed for fuel on Jan. 10. One of the pilots had to put the charges on his personal card for later reimbursement because the airport did not have that card reader installed.
Kinzie asked about any changes in aircraft traffic. Courson said Alva is in the flight path of a lot of transient flights. Having lower Jet A fuel prices has attracted attention. He said he may have to increase prices a little as fuel prices are going up. He continues to make sure the airport has a markup of 50 cents per gallon.
Kinzie asked about delinquent account collections. Courson said a good payment was received on one account. Alva Business Manager Angelica Brady arrived late after attending another city meeting. She said the city business office continues to send out notices and keep up with the accounts.
One hangar is now available in the new T-hangar building, Courson said. There is also one spot open in the round top. Parker asked how Alva compares with other airports on rental rates. Courson said at $150 per month, Alva charges about half the amount charged at El Reno.
The PAPI (precision approach path indicator) lights at the airport have not been working for some time. Lever Electric was hired to replace the bulbs which were burned out. The lights were still not aligned properly, but Lever didn’t mention any other problems.
When Wise Electric Company of Owasso was at the airport on installation of the ODALS (omnidirectional approach lighting system), Courson asked them to look at the PAPI lights. They found that the control circuit boards and the inclinometer circuit board in each unit were burned up. There is one each of these in each lighting unit. Wise provided an estimate of $4,800 including labor of $1,200 to install.
Although the cost is within the manager’s spending limit, he asked the commission members if they wanted him to get more quotes on the project. Kinzie said the only variation would be the labor. The decision on more quotes was left up to Courson, and the board members told him to go ahead and get the problem fixed. No vote was taken on the issue.
It was theorized the damage to the PAPI system was from a lightning strike or an electrical surge. Kinzie asked Courson to track cases that might involve electrical surges to see if it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.