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Bob Barrows accident at N21 airport

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  • Bob Barrows accident at N21 airport

    I would like to request a favor from you guys in the Bearhawk community. Bob is still VERY upset that nothing has been done about the unsafe condition at that airport where he hit that power line. If you are not aware of what happened - Bob hit a power line that is 60 ft off the ground on the approach end of the runway. UNMARKED still. N21 is the identifier of the strip.

    The response from the North Carolina Dept of Aviation to Bob was that the wire had always been there. That is true but not the entire story. Previously, the wire had trees on both sides of it. The approach side and the runway side. In the year before Bob's accident - they cut all the trees on the runway side and raised the power line from 40 ft off the ground to 60 ft above the ground. This made the wire much more dangerous. When Bob approached that time - he circled the runway and looked things over as we are supposed to do.

    So specifically - I am requesting that as many of you as possible write letters to both the FAA and the North Carolina Dept of Aviation requesting that his hazard be dealt with before someone gets killed who isn't flying a plane as tough as Bob's LSA. And please cc Bob with a copy so he knows we are standing up for him. That wire should at least be marked with balls. If not buried in the ground.

    North Carolina Dept of Aviation
    1501 Mail Service Center
    Raliegh, NC 27699-1501

    For the FAA - there are different divisions of the FAA where a letter could go. I am going to include in my letter to the NC authorities that I am not coming back to NC until that safety hazard that almost killed Bob is dealt with. Thanks. Mark

  • #2
    Writing my letter now.
    Rob Caldwell
    Lake Norman Airpark (14A), North Carolina
    EAA Chapter 309
    Model B Quick Build Kit Serial # 11B-24B / 25B
    YouTube Channel: http://bearhawklife.video
    1st Flight May 18, 2021

    Comment


    • #3
      There's also a NCDOT webpage with a link to contact the NC Aviation Safety and Education division specifically:

      https://www.ncdot.gov/contact/Pages/...s/contact.aspx

      4941B04C-AD3B-4E41-A2DD-8FA5EB217A80.jpeg

      Comment


      • #4
        FAA Airport Safety Division address:

        Federal Aviation Administration
        Airport Safety and Operations Division (AAS-300)
        800 Independence Avenue SW
        Washington DC 20591
        Starting year 3 of my 2 year project!

        Comment


        • #5
          Here's the reply I just received:

          Thank you for reaching out about concerns at Holly Ridge/Topsail Island Airport. Unfortunately, this issue is not under the purview or authority of the Division of Aviation.

          The state of North Carolina does not establish, nor regulate, airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates aviation in the United States and provides standards and specifications for airports. Airports are classified by the FAA based on ownership and usage status. The Holly Ridge/Topsail Island Airport is classified as a privately-owned airport.

          Privately-owned airports in N.C., such as Holly Ridge/Topsail Island Airport, are not eligible for state funding and do not receive federal funding, therefore airport owners are not obligated to meet FAA standards

          Comment


          • #6
            I wonder if the owner might install some red balls if he got a plethora of old fashioned letters via snail mail.

            Found this address on line in public space.
            Ownership: Privately-owned
            Owner: NEW HANNOVER AIRPORT LLC
            PO BOX 3274
            TOPSAIL BEACH, NC 28445
            Phone 734-516-0330
            Manager: MICHAEL D SOIGNET
            PO BOX 3274
            HOLLY RIDGE, NC 28445
            Phone 734-516-0330
            Brooks Cone
            Southeast Michigan
            Patrol #303, Kit build

            Comment


            • #7
              Interesting, In Wisconsin my power company upon my request came out and marked the power lines around my farm with balls at no charge when I expressed my interest to fly off my farm fields. You might also contact the power company they may either mark the line or put a small length of the line under ground.

              Comment


              • #8
                Tailwind's approach is probably the best.

                They had a small airport here (Derby Kansas) on the edge of town, grass strip that they used in WW2 for basic pilot training next to the Boeing plant in Wichita. Fast forward to 2008, exclusively used by experimental and a couple Cessnas. A church built a big building right off the north end of the runway and then complained about noise of the 10-15 flight a week that were operating out of the field.

                The pilots all thought they were going to teach somebody a lesson and planned a fly off at 9 am on a Sunday...which they did, but it backfired and land owner of the airport caught so much heat, he sold the land to a developer and "Poof" no more airport. Its now a senior living complex with 100 condos on it.

                I guess the moral of the story is I like a fight as much as the next guy...but honey and vinegar and flies comes to mind. The federal/state pukes start getting a bunch of crap from some passionate Bearhawkers and Bob could lose a runway close to his daughters place, just saying. Airports are hard to establish these days with all the red tape.

                The power company has a dog in this fight...and putting marker balls up is a lot cheaper than having the power lines down for a day after somebody has a bad day with an airplane.

                Andy

                Comment


                • Mark Goldberg
                  Mark Goldberg commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The airport owner asked repeatedly for the power company to put up the balls on the lines. The power company insisted the airport owner pay for it to the tune of many thousands of dollars. Mark

              • #9
                I wrote to the department of aviation in North Carolina and this is the response I received back from them.
                Sent By: Contact Us Administrator
                Date/Time: 7/13/2021 9:53:52 AM

                Comment:
                David-

                Thank you for reaching out about concerns at Holly Ridge/Topsail Island Airport. Unfortunately, this issue is not under the purview or authority of the Division of Aviation.

                The state of North Carolina does not establish, nor regulate, airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates aviation in the United States and provides standards and specifications for airports. Airports are classified by the FAA based on ownership and usage status. The Holly Ridge/Topsail Island Airport is classified as a privately-owned airport.

                Privately-owned airports in N.C., such as Holly Ridge/Topsail Island Airport, are not eligible for state funding and do not receive federal funding, therefore airport owners are not obligated to meet FAA standards.





                My Response to theirs was,
                Dear Sir,
                Thank you for your response. According to the FAA they do not regulate private airports either. However as this is a matter of life and death someone needs to take responsibility to mark these low wires before some is killed. I am asking that the State of North Carolina stop passing the buck on this matter and do something about it. I hope you will consider the consequences of NOT doing anything about this.

                Thank You,
                David Swann

                It looks like the state and the FAA are passing the buck between them. Whom ever owns the line will probably be the one who will have to mark it if there is a way to make them do it.





                Comment


                • #10
                  It looks to me like the only agency with the authority and obligation to rectify this is the power company. They own the lines and have to justify the markings. I would recommend a group effort in their direction rather than agencies which have no legal authority in the matter. I would be more concerned that the FAA and/or NC Aviation Authority might be more inclined to close the field if they don’t have authority to command the power company in this case. How much could this cost? Perhaps a group funded solution could get some balls on those lines?
                  Starting year 3 of my 2 year project!

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    All the power companies across the country have their paid stooges (our politicians) pass laws in each state which largely exempt them from any liability. My lawyer explained this to me when discussing Bob's accident. I am not being political which is to be avoided.

                    But the power companies have special purpose laws protecting themselves passed in just about every state which totally protects them from liability for their actions or inactions as in this case. Unfortunately. Mark

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      This was interesting reading.

                      https://scholar.smu.edu/cgi/viewcont...3&context=jalc

                      John Snapp (Started build in Denver, CO) Now KAWO -Arlington Washington Bearhawk Patrol - Plans #255 Working on skinning the left wing! -Ribs : DONE -Spars: DONE, Left wing assembly's: DONE., Top skins : DONE YouTube Videos on my building of patrol :https://m.youtube.com/user/n3uw

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I dont believe with all the letters all of us on this forum can write will not get those lines marked. I think the only recourse left for Bob is to find a lawyer that will take on the power company or the utility that owns those lines.Unfortunately in today's litigious society that is usually the only way to get any justice.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          National infrastructure is vastly more important than recreational aviation. If the aviators want to manage the risks they create, it will be at their own cost.

                          Your only option would be suing the airfield operator for not managing the risks and making others aware of the hazards. Please don't though - the legal culture is just awful.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            The whole situation seems bizarre from here... our local utilities are hyper vigilant, proactive and have no problem investing in risk reduction efforts. I can only assume they are lawyering up out of fear that any admission of responsibility would leave them at some legal risk from Bobs crash. After viewing the google maps images, it is clear that lines that were previously well below treetops are now well above... did the airstrip operator not have notice of the utility "upgrade" ? was there no public consultation or information?... those lines are not critical infrastructure or national grid type utilities and the fact that the utility are so bush league as to not identify the risk to their lines and mark them makes me think they are simply raising the pole height to reduce the amount they need to spend on vegetation clearance. The Google images show the poles set back tight to the fence lines of private properties and that complicates the trimming of the trees, but the State might have rules that govern utilities that apply...? there is a clear pre existing use that the utility company have encroached upon. N3UW posted a link that seems to indicate the FAA can not compel, but can recommend the lines be marked... if that happened, I can imagine the utilities lawyer would recommend they mark or lower the lines the first time someone sent them a registered letter identifying the risk.

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