City: Take Charge Of Airport
In response to Mr. Bill Bradford’s letter of Dec. 16, 2015, I would like to clarify the current situation at the Oakdale Airport. During the past 20 years General Aviation has declined significantly throughout this country. Fixed based operators have gone out of business, student pilot enrollments have declined and light aircraft prices have soared. Since the addition of a permanent caretaker in full time residency at this airport, theft has decreased and reasonable care of the facility has been maintained by the city. We don’t need electricity provided to every tenant hangar on the field. Portable generators and solar panels can do the job. A hands-on-airport city manager, knowledgeable about General Aviation would be greatly appreciated. Posting of gas prices in a legible manner and the addition of a gas pump hose not requiring a turbine to maneuver would also be greatly appreciated. What is sorely needed is a professional search for a fixed base operator such as Merle Furry was prior to the arrival of Sierra Aviation. Entice that prospective operator with ownership of all fuel sales, exclusive rights to maintenance together with A/C rental and instruction. That will relieve the city of trying to manage the airport which has been an utter and abject failure. Since the Oakdale Airport Commission was abolished some four years ago, the Ad Hoc committee has accomplished nothing to date to improve conditions on the airport and should be dissolved.
To me, turning the management over to pilot groups to take care of the airport on a volunteer basis is ludicrous and makes no sense whatsoever and would only serve to exacerbate the problem. Examples of Sutter and Balico airports in Turlock as referred to by Mr. Bradford can hardly compare to Oakdale. These locations have never been viable fields. As to rental fees, I agree that prior and unfair treatment of Sierra Aviation was an atrocity and a scandal by former city managers and former council members. Let’s correct this. By accepting government grants going back to WWII, the City of Oakdale has assumed an obligation that they are bound to maintain. Let’s now apply continued pressure on them to step up to the plate and honor their commitments. Let them begin to realize that The Oakdale Airport is a most valuable and necessary asset to the future of this city and requires their support for future development.
Richard E. Jorgensen
Stanislaus County Airport
Land Use Commission