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Fernandina Airport’s Master Plan Update Coming Together

Fernandina Airport's Master Plan Update Coming TogetherThe Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and Passero Associates are producing well-laid plans for the next 20 years.

Utilizing teamwork and discussions completed to date, Passero has created a geographical layout of the city’s airport (FHB). It is separated into eight core areas of focus, based on information from a web survey regarding FHB development. The planning team is now addressing each core area individually as it formulates its Master Plan Update:

Core 1 recommendations: Additional t-hangars; public welcome center with entryway; public fire station.
Core 2 recommendations: Leave these 8.64 acres untouched for now, with possibilities for limited access in the future.
Core 3 recommendations: Larger, corporate hangars; mixed t-hangars. These recommendations have already been presented to and accepted by the Fernandina Beach City Commission.
Core 4 recommendations: Already preserved as a golf course.
Core 5 recommendations: Build an access road and provide for additional aviation uses (hangars, t-hangars, aviation businesses). This will not impact the utility of decommissioned runway 18-36 as an overflow parking area. In fact, this area will likely be left alone for some time and designated as available for future aviation developments. No prescriptive development is planned for the FHB Master Plan Update.
Core 6 recommendations: Reserve for future non-aviation development.
Core 7 recommendations: Small parcel sizes and proximity to the runway make this area challenging, although a future marina to support Crane Island development could prove to be a good use. The TAC concurred that development in this section could be difficult and it desires these areas to be left alone.
Core 8 recommendations: Split the designation as non-aviation/aviation for the 20-year plan update, with non-aviation available in the northwest quadrant of the core and aviation developments in the southwest quadrant.

Progress also continues with the airport’s business planning via team member Dr. Dave Byers of Quadrex Aviation. Dr. Byers is working on a strategic business plan, as well as principal guiding documents and assessment of the airport’s regional value.

Most of the principal guiding documents are in place already, but the goal is to manage and enhance the appearance and development of the airport. The documents have been streamlined and will assist future developers in matching their own business plans with FHB’s expectations.

The airport’s regional value can be increased by staying aware of what nearby airports are doing. There is also plenty of potential for increasing non-aviation usage of airport property. However, this requires better vehicle access and smoother traffic in and out of the airport. The installation of a roundabout at the main entrance has been deemed a good consideration while addressing these issues.

Working on behalf of the City, Passero Associates communicates to the City of Fernandina Beach, its citizens and Municipal Airport stakeholders, the ongoing process of developing a master plan for FHB. This planning process will be periodically reported to the public in the form of meetings to be held in Fernandina Beach. The FHB Communications Plan involves conducting and documenting five public meetings and distributing concise summaries to the public via periodic press releases; email; social media; and a website: http://www.fbfl.us/airportplanningproject

For more information on the planning process, please contact Zach Nelson at (904) 757-6106 or email to FBmasterplan@yahoo.com

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Fernandina Airport Planning Team Sees Progress at Latest Meeting

Fernandina Airport Planning Team Sees Progress at Latest Meeting

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Fernandina Beach, FL – The City of Fernandina Beach’s Airport Master Plan Technical Advisory Committee moved forward with its third meeting April 9, 2015 in the city commission chambers.

Andrew Holesko, V.P. Program Manager for Passero Associates, made it clear it was time to get to work on solid goals that will achieve the best Master Plan possible. He asked the committee to help by not only identifying “good, reasonable ideas for Fernandina Beach,” but also keeping ideas that are bad for the city out of the plan.

Discussions followed that addressed critical elements including updating the airport with run-up areas on all six ends (as every other airport now has); adding a non-commercial terminal/welcome center; addressing fixed operation needs such as additional hangars; replacing the outdated maintenance building and fuel tanks; and utilizing an FDOT grant to improve fencing and security.

The team also agreed on choosing the Gulfstream G-IV as its critical aircraft. This decision will help improve current operations, as the airport is now using only 28 percent of its capacity. The G-IV is actually quieter than smaller jets and will finally justify a runway extension that has been in the existing Master Plan since the 1960s.

Gulfstream G-IVs have been using the Fernandina airport since their inception, but they aren’t able to take on enough fuel before departure to fly non-stop coast to coast. The runway extension would solve that problem and provide a substantial economic boost to the airport and the city. It would also reduce noise from smaller aircraft using the longer runway, since they would reach higher altitudes before flying over populated areas outside airport boundaries.

The team discussed further economic development with the help of Ken Creveling from Urbanomics, a Florida-based urban and real estate economic consulting firm. Creveling identified three geographical areas on airport property that are ideal for diverse economic development. Opportunities include restaurants, office space and travel-related sales space.

Creveling painted a realistic picture of small-scale development (5,000-80,000 square feet) connected by clean, curbed streets and manicured landscapes. He noted that by using more brick and mortar and less metal, the airport could be home to an attractive and modern business park unrivaled in Nassau County. These new areas can be made more accessible by connecting nearby roads such as Bailey and Jamestown directly to airport property.

A re-branding of the airport and its new amenities is an absolute necessity. The team will continue work on the new economic and development plans that will enhance the airport’s image. The intended results are a cleaner, brighter and more functional space for both locals and visitors – and the long-awaited arrival of more high-wage jobs to Fernandina Beach.

Working on behalf of the City, Passero Associates communicates to the City of Fernandina Beach, its citizens and Municipal Airport stakeholders, the ongoing process of developing a master plan for FHB. This planning process will be periodically reported to the public in the form of meetings to be held in Fernandina Beach. The FHB Communications Plan involves conducting and documenting five public meetings and distributing concise summaries to the public via periodic press releases; email; social media; and a website: http://www.fbfl.us/airportplanningproject

For more information on the planning process, please contact Zach Nelson at (904) 757-6106 or email to FBmasterplan@yahoo.com

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Rough Landing at Fernandina’s Airport

Rough Landing at Fernandina's AirportFernandina Beach, FL – Fernandina Beach Police Officers and Fire-Rescue personnel responded to the east end of runway #13 at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport recently in response to a plane crash.

The plane, pictured, was located approximately ten yards off the runway resting on its undercarriage with no landing gear exposed.

The pilot and only occupant, Christine Mouterde-Bak of New York, New York was inside the cockpit, where she was found to be conscious, but complaining of back pain. She was transported to Nassau Baptist ER by Fire-Rescue.

Preliminary investigation is focused on the plane’s landing gear, which apparently was not deployed. The plane reportedly struck the runway and skipped twice before sliding off the end of the runway.

Investigators from the FAA are currently investigating the incident.

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Fernandina Airport Advisory Committee Held 2nd Meeting

Fernandina Airport Advisory Committee Held 2nd MeetingThe City of Fernandina Beach’s Airport Master Plan Technical Advisory Committee held its second meeting January 8, 2015 in the city commission chambers. Teresa Prince chairs the committee, which consists of local citizens – including business owners and aviation enthusiasts.

The committee was formed to oversee and contribute input to the airport master plan effort being prepared by the City of Fernandina Beach. The planning process is being led by Passero Associates, the City’s airport consulting firm. As Dr. Dave Byers (planning team member) pointed out, the TAC does much more than oversee the plan – it actually co-creates the Master Plan for the City, with the support of the Passero Team. The resulting plan will be “your plan, not our plan,” as Dr. Byers told the TAC.

Zach Nelson, Project Manager for Passero, addressed the use of the word “expansion” in the initial press release for this project, and admitted that it was a poor choice of words. Mr. Nelson assured everyone at the well-attended meeting that the focus of the airport master plan is to develop action and developmental plans within the current geographical boundaries of the Airport. There are no plans to expand the physical footprint of Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport (FHB).

The meeting discussion was then focused on three (3) distinct elements. Dr. Byers led the group in a SWOT analysis, focused on discerning what TAC members felt to be the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for the Airport. Mr. Nelson followed by presenting an inventory of existing airport conditions and led the group in the determination of a preferred aeronautical activity forecast through 2035.

As part of Dr. Byers SWOT analysis, a questionnaire was handed out. The meeting area was then quiet for approximately 10-15 minutes, while TAC members filled out the forms individually. This brainstorming session allowed TAC members to form and express their own understanding of what assets/opportunities the Airport has, and what challenges it may face during future business operations.

Following the SWOT analysis, Mr. Nelson presented information on the existing conditions of the airport, including detailed discussion on airport infrastructure (both airside and landside), airport support equipment, instrument approach capability, meteorological conditions, and environmental factors on airport property. As part of this discussion, Mr. Nelson led the group in a review of current runway design classifications and how they affect FAA airport design criteria. Mr. Nelson mentioned that airport design criteria will be discussed in more detail during future meetings, when the TAC is asked to review a number of airfield development alternatives to meet forecasted aeronautical demand through the year 2035.

As a primer for these future meetings, Mr. Nelson provided an overview of developable areas on airport property and environmental factors. Nelson also stressed the need to consider environmental factors early in the planning process. This proactive approach should satisfy the City’s intentions to prepare an environmentally responsible, updated Master Plan.

The team approach between the TAC and Passero staff continued as aviation demand forecasting was discussed. Projections through 2035 for both based aircraft numbers and annual aircraft operations at the airport were presented using a number of forecasting methodologies, including trend-line, market share, application of national growth rates, and application of State forecasted growth rates as published by FDOT. The TAC was asked to review and discuss the merits and applicability of each of the forecasting methodologies and build consensus around a preferred forecast. After an engaging discussion, the TAC group agreed that the FDOT forecasts were most appropriate for FHB and the master plan effort. The next TAC meeting is scheduled for April 9, 2015 and will focus on a variety of needed airport facilities and development alternatives intended to adequately meet the needs of airport users over the planning period.

Working on behalf of the City, Passero Associates communicates to the City of Fernandina Beach, its citizens and Municipal Airport stakeholders, the ongoing process of developing a master plan for FHB. This planning process will be periodically reported to the public in the form of meetings to be held in Fernandina Beach. The FHB Communications Plan involves conducting and documenting five public meetings and distributing concise summaries to the public via periodic press releases; email; social media; and a website: www.fbfl.us/airportplanningproject

For more information on the planning process, please contact Zach Nelson at (904) 757-6106 or email to FBmasterplan@yahoo.com

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