If Mr. Michael Jones is the best PR man the airport has, I suggest they are in deep trouble. If he wants to prove the airport does indeed serve the entire county, he will need to do a much better job.

The only case he really made is that the airport’s primary function is to serve the wealthy patrons of the Pinehurst Resort and other hotels and country clubs. It most certainly does not keep home values climbing. That claim was ludicrous.

While I may not have agreed with everything in the original letter from Mr. Vetter, I do agree that the airport can be a noisy nuisance — and I don’t live near it. I must, however, live within one of its approaches because there’s no mistaking the sound of those small planes. I’ve heard jets make less noise.

If Mr. Jones wants to prove that the airport is really more than a rich man’s convenience, I suggest he demonstrate very clearly how much money the airport generates and where it goes, other than stating a measly $1.3 million contribution to the local tax base. That’s not a lot considering the size of the county. Having two public events a year, one of which is a paid, profit-oriented event, isn’t exactly Earth-shattering either.

In any case, Mr. Jones’ tone was every bit as vitriolic as Mr Vetter’s was and certainly didn’t endear a lot of people to the airport’s situation. I’m willing to bet that there are a lot more people that wouldn’t care if the airport closed than Mr. Jones would care to admit. He simply created more of them.

Charles Russell, Pinehurst

Publisher’s Note: This is a letter to the editor, submitted by a reader, and reflects the opinion of the author. The Pilot welcomes letters from readers on its Opinion page, which serves as a public forum. The Pilot is not in the business of suppressing public opinion. We are a forum for community debate, and publish almost every letter we receive. For information on how to make a submission, visit this page: https://www.thepilot.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

(12) comments

Jim Tomashoff

Kent always wants to impose use fees on public projects that he personally does not support. So I'm sure that as a pilot, Kent will support the imposition of fees to take-off and fees to land at the airport such that the airport makes a profit for Moore County. Right? Oh wait, I just learned Kent is strongly opposed to such fees. Does this mean Kent is a hypocrite? He is. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.

ken leary

Unfortunately for Jones he made the egregious mistake of drawing attention to the airport by touting its benefits to the average citizen of Moore county. Which I believe is none whatsoever. Generally, conservative types are wily enough to not provoke critical comment, and they certainly don't respond to legitimate inquiries which further questions their propaganda. I'll ask again though: How much through taxes or subsidies, local or federal, is the airport given beyond the point at which it is self sustaining? If "we the people" are covering the deficit why is there no conversation about the rates to land a plane/jet being raised, or the hotel/golf industries making up the difference? I hear their is a nice airport up in Sanford.

Dan Roman

If Leary did any research whatsoever he would know the airport is given no local subsidies, taxes or otherwise and is self sustaining. It competes for grants like any other publicly owned airport in NC, which grants are funded by the FAA via the NCDOT,department of Aviation. If a grant is awarded the airport pays the match funds and those dollars come from fuel sales, landing fees and hangar rental. "We the people" aren't funding the day to day operations of the airport, there isn't any deficit and the hotel and golf industries don't pay a dime towards the airports operation, although they should!

ken leary

Where does the "grant" money come from Dan? Does the FAA have the ability to print money, or does this "grant" money come from taxes or subsidies. How is the airport "self sustaining" if it is given "grants"? If it is "publicly owned" can we sell it? Can we have a referendum to see if "we the people" can sell the airport? Could you, Dan, run the airport as a private enterprise at a profit without being subsidized? If not, then you would have to ask yourself whose purpose does my running this airport serve? No doubt you would come to the realization that you were serving an elite class of golfing/defense contracting jetsters out of the goodness of your heart, and that's very sweet of you, very generous. I don't feel the same way. I see the airport as a toy for the wealthy and a pretty nice perk for those who need a place to park their plane. I've often asked, what percentage of citizens of Moore County use the airport? No-one ever answers so i'll hazard a guess: one tenth of one percent?

Dan Roman

One would that Mr. Leary, who apparently can read and at least minimally operate a computer, would be able to perform enough basic research and not only answer his own questions but correct his misapprehensions about the Moore County Airport and aviation in general. One would obviously be wrong to so assume.

Taxes generally and aviation taxes earmarked for aviation in particular in particular (on fuel, tickets etc) fund the US Treasury. Congress funds the FAA. The FAA funds the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), note: "IMPROVEMENT", not "OPERATION" .The AIP funds grants for public use airports which, in NC, are administered thru the NC Department of Transportation, Aviation Division. Yes, the airport is self sustaining with respect to day to day operations but when the FAA requires improvements to enhance operational safety that is done thru grants and the grantee pays 10%, the grantor 90%. The airport could continue operating without grant dollars but the grants fund upgrades (which Moore County doesn't pay for) and thus enhance safety.

The airport is owned by Moore County and operated by the Moore County Airport Authority which was created by statute some years ago. One of the guarantees the FAA requires when grants are approved for any airport is that the airport will continue to operate as a public use airport for 20 years after the grant is accepted, so, no the airport can't just be sold.

Lets see, who uses the airport? U. S. Army, defense contractors, public benefit operators such as Angel Flight, Wings of Mercy and Patient Airlift Services (PALS) [Angel Flight flies patients who can not themselves afford to do so to and from medical treatment, PALS connects patients, concluding military personnel, to the aviation community offering free flights to assist with recovery and rehab of wounded vets. Oh, don't forget Pilots N Paws flying critters from shelters where they will be killed to others providing adoption.

PS, don't forget that the airport is here when a disaster occurs for aid coming in and going out, for medical transport, and last but not least where else can the pilots the USA needs in the future train but at our airport and elsewhere?

The world as you see it doesn't change the facts as they are and all of these facts are readily available to anyone willing to spend five minutes doing a few basic on-line information searches.

ken leary

“Taxes generally and aviation taxes earmarked for aviation in particular (on fuel, tickets etc) fund the US Treasury.” That statement is wrong. The “US Treasury” is not dependent on tax dollars for anything other than removing money from circulation. The Moore County airport can be sold at any time as long as it pays the “grants” back from all of the money the enterprise makes. And your list of who uses the airport is a bit misleading. Nothing you mention couldn’t be done from Fayetteville, Sanford, Mackall, Carthage, or by helicopter from anywhere. Too bad there isn’t a marina nearby so we could all subsidize the comings and goings of the yachting people. Excuse me, I meant the “improvements” of their playground. I don’t really care about the airport Dan. I just find it strange that an enterprise like Duke Energy, which we all depend on and support, is privately owned for profit making purposes, and an enterprise such as the Moore County airport, which very few of us use, is publicly owned and supported and generates no profit. I'll give up now until the next time some PR person wants to extoll the wondrous benefits of having jets buzzing overhead.

Kent Misegades

The airport does post minutes from all its meetings on its web site - Kudos! What I have not found are an overview of financials, which is public information, is it not? Based on my past work as a supplier of fuel systems to airports, ours is run much better than most. But few government airports make a profit. Private airports must, or they close.

Kent Misegades

While I do not believe any government-paid economic impact studies, I do believe that an airport serving general aviation is an important aspect of a region's infrastructure. But why must it be government - owned? One of the best airports of similar size is in Austin, Texas, and was built with private money. Roland Gilliam’s very nice private Gilliam-McConnell airfield in Carthage is a local example. As far as noise is concerned, leaf blowers and lawn mowers and train horns are surely a bigger issue. Contrary to popular belief, the most owners of private aircraft do not fly jets and are not millionaires. Perhaps if the airport posted its P&L and quarterly board reports on its web site the public would understand better what it is getting for its money.

Jim Davis

Mr. Russell is spot-on in his letter...for the 25 years I've lived in this community, numerous articles have been written by this paper touting the value of the airport to the community without any supporting evidence. Maybe like the councils of Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Aberdeen, the airport should waste more taxpayer dollars on a long range study...

Dan Roman

Supporting evidence is readily available for those willing to read,see:

www.ncdot.gov/divisions/aviation/Pages/state-of-aviation.aspx

Report says aviation contributes $52 billion and 307,000 jobs to N.C. economy.

The airport is in the midst of a long range study paid for by the airport users and an FAA grant and it's going to be here and operational for the foreseeable (at least 20 years) future. Ignorant opinions about the airport doesn't change the facts as they are.

Conrad Meyer

Dan, thanks for the link to the NC DOT report.

The big numbers you quoted are impressive, but the devil is in the details.

Here is what the report said about Moore County:

Moore County Pinehurst/Southern Pines 305 jobs, personal income of $17,300,000, State and local taxes of $1,269,000, and economic impact of $71,260,000.

Frankly I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around 305 jobs out there, even if there are some collateral jobs counted. Similarly, an economic impact of $71 million is about $200k each and every day - another number I can't figure out.

Alternatively, as someone who has worked in another NC state government division, we regularly issue reports where the jobs impact is a fantasy at best. Lots of double counting with other divisions and no oversight whatsoever. So I consider the DOT report shaky at best as far as Moore County goes. Never forget, just because NC State government prints something, doesn't mean it is true.

Dan Roman

If you have a better method of measuring economic impact than the organization that is hired by the NCDOT to do the research and write the report for the NCDOT please do so and and publish the result for all to see. Until then the NCDOT report is the best we have.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for Reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

Thank you for visiting ThePilot.com and supporting award-winning community journalism. Not everyone wants to have a newspaper delivered to their home, but they want to keep up with the latest news in Moore County. Click here to gain digital-only access and support local journalism.

Starting at
$1.07 for 1 day

Connect Print Subscription to Digital Access

Thank you for visiting ThePilot.com. Your Pilot subscription entitles you to unlimited digital access. Simply log in. From the home page, click on Subscription Services. Then click on "Pilot All Access Print Subscribers." It should show your phone number . If so, click "Sign Up." After a few seconds, it will take you back to the home page. Log out, then log back in. You're set! For any problems, call our customer service number at 910-693-2487 or 693-2488.

Free access for current print subscribers