As the new year unfolds, this is a good time to provide an
update on what is happening with your County Airports.
In addition to day to day management of the airports, we are
working on the following items which you may find interesting.
- Leases for RHV and E16 FBO's
- Federal Grant Application for E16
- Possible Land-Use Plan Scenarios at RHV
- San Martin Skydiving Permits
- New Airfield Access Procedures
- New Webpage for Improved Communication
1. FBO Leases
San Martin Airport
The current lease for Magnum Aviation at San Martin Airport
expires on December 11, 2020. In October the Board of Supervisors directed
staff to advertise for a new FBO lease at San Martin Airport. To assist in that endeavor, staff is in the
midst of selecting an aviation consultant with experience writing modern FBO
lease agreements and Request For Proposals to ensure that the new agreement
meets the current needs of the airport users and the County.
One of the big changes that will occur on
December 11th revolves around the current disposition of the individual
hangars on the FBO leasehold. Most of
those hangars are covered under an agreement for occupancy that expires
concurrently with the FBO lease. Almost
all of the current hangar tenants are paying ground rent at this time. Beginning December 12th, those
agreements will no longer be in effect and the successful FBO leaseholder will
be developing new rental agreements for those hanger occupants wishing to
extend occupancy under the new terms. It
is certain that the cost of renting a hangar from the new FBO will be at current market rates.
Historically, the cost of operating San
Martin Airport has been subsidized by the income generated at Reid-Hillview, a
majority of which comes from the RHV hangar rental. This change in situation at San Martin will
allow the County to generate additional rental income from the FBO leasehold
thereby reducing the subsidy.
Airport staff will hold a meeting at E16 in February to
discuss the RFP and get your input as to what is important for a new San Martin FBO. Expect an email shortly
with details of the meeting.
At Reid-Hillview, there are currently nine long-term leases,
most more than fifty years old, that expire simultaneously on December 31, 2021. Once the RFP for San Martin is completed,
staff will be working with the selected consultant to update many of those
existing leases to bring them up to current standard while recognizing that
there is some uncertainty regarding the future of the Reid-Hillview
This also provides an opportunity to improve the revenue stream
to the Airport Enterprise Fund (AEF). As
mentioned, the majority of the AEF revenue is derived from RHV hangar
tenants. About 10 % of
the AEF revenue comes from FBO rent. The new leases for the FBO's at RHV will be reflective of the current market.
2. Federal Grant for San Martin Airport
The Board also directed county staff to apply for Airport Capital
Improvement Program (ACIP) grant funding for San Martin Airport. We are currently working on the grant
application and expect it to be submitted to the FAA in March. The grant request will be to reimburse the General
Fund for the cost of paving and marking the San Martin runways and taxiways which
was completed in 2018.
3. Land Planning for
Last fall, the Board authorized the use of a consultant group to put together
ideas to re-imagine land uses at Reid-Hillview Airport. Gensler was selected as the consultant and
they have been working on a plan to invite the public for input. There will be two public meetings scheduled in
the near future to take input from county residents. As airport users, your voice is important,
and you will receive an invitation to the meetings. Check
our website for updated information on the meeting dates
4. Skydiving Permits
We have had continued interest from two skydiving operators
that would like to utilize San Martin Airport. Both have current skydiving
operations in the area at other airports and are working with County staff to meet
the insurance requirements prior to being issued a permit.
5. Reid-Hillview Airfield Access Procedures
Reid-Hillview continues to have challenges with unauthorized
access to the airport. To continue our
effort to address these issues, staff will be instituting a new Standard
Operation Procedure (SOP) at Reid-Hillview for access to the ramp, beginning
February 1, 2020. One of the biggest
changes will be the use by staff of remote operation of the gate. Staff will no longer remotely operate the
vehicle gate until you have provided yourself and your ID to staff in the
operations office. Your information will
be validated with our records. Since the
Airport Operations Staff is frequently out of the building, this means if you
forget your card, or it has expired, it is going to take extra time to obtain vehicle
gate access. Additionally, tenant guests and transients will no longer be
allowed unescorted access to the airport
An authorized individual with a
current card key must meet the guest at the gate and escort them at all times.
Another change we will ask your help with is to use the
vehicle gate only for vehicle traffic. Please do not use the vehicle gate if you are
walking or riding a bike, scooter, skateboard, etc. At RHV there is a pedestrian gate at the wash
rack, about 25 yards to the west, for pedestrian traffic. At E16 the pedestrian gate is about 50 yards
to the east of the vehicle gate. One of the most serious incidents last year occurred
when a pedestrian opened the gate for himself and another vehicle drove
through. That vehicle ended up on the
runway as an aircraft was on taking off.
Fortunately, the airplane was airborne by the time it reached the
vehicle, but it could have been much worse.
You may have noticed new signs at the vehicle gates. These are here to remind you that you are a
primary component in maintaining a safe airport. Once you have entered or exited the airport, before
moving on, it is your responsibility
to stop and wait for the gate to fully close behind you. Doing so ensures that the
risk of unauthorized access to the airfield is minimized. Two of the most
recent incidents at RHV have resulted when well-meaning tenants opened a gate
for somebody they did not know. While a person may believe they are being helpful
by allowing access, they are actually contributing to the creation of a very
Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the loss of
vehicle access to the AOA. To help you better understand expectations and responsibilities,
the full SOP will be posted on the airports website soon.
Speaking of gates, if you show up in the early morning and
find you are having trouble getting the vehicle gate to operate, it is likely condensation
on the reflectors that are part of the safety mechanism for the gate. Wiping the reflectors with your hand or a rag
may be all that is necessary to get the gate to operate normally. If that doesn’t work, please let the airport
staff know so the problem can be addressed.
6. New Webpage
In an effort to better communicate with you, we have
recently created a new page on our website, titled Newsletters. This page includes the information provided
here along with many of the past informational emails form 2018 and 2019. To find it on our website, www.countyairports.org, click the Resources
tab and then navigating to Newsletters under the General heading.
As a final parting word, please put the Reid-Hillview Airport Day on your calendar for August 29th, 2020. Bring your plane to display and bring your friends and family to enjoy the day.
I hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me, Ken or Femi by email or phone. 408-918-7700