Resident makes accusation over FAA investigation - Titusville Herald: News

Resident makes accusation over FAA investigation

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Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 5:00 am

Area resident Kenneth Hartley accused Titusville Airport Interim Manager Keith Bromley of being the object of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigation, the details of which have not yet been released by the agency, over a low-flying plane which was allegedly spotted above Titusville in mid-August.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Titusville Airport Authority, Hartley made the accusations in the public comment section of the meeting. He claimed that the airplane was purportedly spotted flying below 1,000 feet over Titusville on the morning of Aug. 16 by several people.

Hartley said that he drove up to the airport in an attempt to photograph the alleged plane after being informed about it. He said that he passed by Bromley on the drive-way leading up to the airport and that he reportedly saw Bromley’s airplane sitting outside the hangar.

Further, Hartley said that Bromley, on the day following the flight, had allegedly shown him pictures of CyTemp Field that Bromley supposedly took on the flight.

“So I was pretty sure it was Keith Bromley,” Hartley said.

Hartley also claimed that Bromley had been alone in the plane when the alleged photos were taken.

The Herald previously reached out to FAA Communications worker Arlene Salac about the investigation. While Salac did confirm that the agency was looking into a complaint of a low-flying plane over Titusville, she stated that further details would not be released until the investigation was finished. This includes the identity of the person being investigated for the allegedly low-flying plane.

Bromley, in response to the accusation, neither confirmed nor denied the claim that he was being investigated, but did state that the FAA had spoken to him.

“I was visited by the FAA,” Bromley said. “We had a discussion and I did exactly what the FAA asked of me.”

Bromley also said that Hartley was the one who made the complaint to the FAA. Hartley confirmed with The Herald that he believed he was the original complainant, but said that other people had also made a complaint.

Authority President Don Frazier said that the Authority would have to wait on the results of the investigation before any sort of action could be taken.

“I can’t do anything about that,” Frazier said to Hartley. “It’s not a direct Authority issue at this time. It’s under investigation.”

Authority member Gail Bean said that he had spoken to Gary Ankney, the FAA investigator handling the complaint, and was told that the matter was still an ongoing investigation at the time.

It is unknown how long the investigation might take. Salac told The Herald to ask again in a “couple of weeks” to see if further details would be available. As such, it may be sometime before the identity of the person being investigated can be confirmed, or whether the alleged low-altitude flight actually took place.

Audit

At the same meeting, the Authority unanimously approved a motion to hire the services of Felix & Gloekler to perform the 2017 audit if the firm can be convinced to lower their price.

Frazier said that he reached out to three accounting firms for quotes to perform the audit. Felix & Gloekler gave a maximum price of $4,500, which was the second lowest bid. The lowest was given by McGill, Power, Bell & Associates, at $4,350 maximum. The third company, Hill, Barth & King, gave a price of $10,000.

Despite not being the lower price, Bromley and Authority member Heather Leonardi suggested Felix & Gloekler be employed, as they performed the audits for 2014-16, and would possibly be able to finish it faster. Bromley also said that the price increase was minimal.

“They are intimately familiar with what we have going on,” Bromley said. “If we went to somebody else, they would have to reeducate.”

Frazier said Felix & Gloekler stated that they would need around two months to perform the audit. Speed is a factor in the audits, as they were due to the state and city in June 2018.

Bromley pointed out that when Felix & Gloekler performed the 2014-2016 audits, they did so at a cost of $11,000 for all three at once. This comes out to roughly $3,700 per year, if rounding up. Bromley recommended that Frazier ask the firm to perform the audit at the $3,700 price rate, or at least match the McGil, Power, Bell & Associates price of $4,350.

The board ultimately passed a motion stating that the Authority would go with Felix & Gloekler if they are able to lower their price to around $4,350 or better, and otherwise go with McGill, Power, Bell & Associates.

Animals

The Authority is working to gather more information to address the issue of animals getting passed the airport’s fence and posing a potential danger to pilots.

Frazier brought up the issue at the meeting, claiming that he spotted coyotes and deer at the airport previously. Bromley also said that he had seen a red fox on the airport in daylight, suggesting that it might be rabid.

Bean said that he would seek out up-to-date information on rules and laws regarding what the airport could do to keep animals off the property. He did advise that the airport would be able to shoot any animals at the airport, but may not be able to use baiting techniques to keep animals away.

Bean, who has a background in conservation enforcement, recommended that a check be performed of the airport’s fence to ensure that no passageways have been dug underneath it that allow animals inside. Further, he advised that just because a usually nocturnal animal is spotted in daylight, it may not be rabid. According to Bean, whether the animal is aggressive towards people is a more important factor in determining if it is rabid.

Low-flying planes

During the public comments section of the meeting, Anthony Rotondo, who lives across the street from the airport, complained that several planes had flown dangerously close over his house.

Rotondo said that he had video footage of several such planes, which he claims came within 15 to 20 feet vertically of his home or trees near his home. He asked what the flight path was for taking off for the airport, and how many feet up a plane had to be before it could turn left or right.

Bromley told Rotondo that the flight path heads northwards veering to the left, and that he sent a note out to Titusville pilots saying that they should be 1,000 feet in the air before they make any turns, which would clear them of going over Rotondo’s home. However, Rotondo claimed that pilots were not following the instructions.

“There have been planes over my house,” Rotondo said. “Today, at 11:02, from Franklin, (a plane) flew over my house, and it was well under 300 feet It was probably around 250 feet.”

Rotondo said that there were pilots in the room at the Authority meeting who had veered off the flight path and flown over his house.

Bromley told Rotondo that if incidents kept occurring, he should file a complaint with the FAA.

“If they’re not community oriented enough to avoid your house, then file your complaint,” he said.

The next meeting of the Titusville Airport Authority will take place on Oct. 9, at 6 p.m., at the airport.

Ray can be reached, by email, at sray@titusvilleherald.com.

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1 comment:

  • Jahoba posted at 11:30 am on Fri, Sep 14, 2018.

    Jahoba Posts: 75

    The area residents sure are good theater. LOL.

     

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