Chapel Hill Airport impending closure.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by bradp, May 12, 2018.

  1. bradp

    bradp Filing Flight Plan

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    Cross posted from beechtalk:

    The latest word from IGX is that UNC Chapel HIll is set to close the airport on May 15. Recently the state legislature has been directing the Airport to be kept operating while the University has been simultaneously choking it financially over the years (no new based aircraft allowed, air medical services moved off site, etc). The last University Board of Trustees resolution used an argument that there were no University missions being conducted, therefore closure plans could go forward unobstructed (irony noted). The state legislature convenes on May 16th, which is not insignificant with regard to the closing date.

    The airport has a long standing historical significance to the local area and the nation. It was a WWII training facility and has a significance as the home of the Wheeler Air Service, the first African-American owned air carrier.

    Airport staff have indicated that AOPA hasn’t been helpful or successful in this Airport advocacy issue.

    The mechanism to save the airport may be to get the Airport on the national / NC register of historic places...

    Thoughts or ideas? NC residents please call your state representatives.

    http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2018/03/a ... s.html?m=1

    A link to the petition:
    https://www.change.org/p/save-horace-williams-airport

    The availability of this airport in close proximity to the hospital got me to see my little one be born when my wife went into labor. I owe the Airport some effort. Thanks Horace Williams.

    I’ll be on the phone with my representatives Monday AM.

    https://twitter.com/bradpodd/status/995323688244404224?s=21

    #savehorace

    Thanks

    Brad
     
  2. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Sad indeed. I like this airport but the UNC Board has a problem with it for some reason. Glad my Daughter is going to NC State.
     
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  3. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The unc board are a bunch of elitist a holes.
     
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  4. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Agreed. I feel sorry for the remaining tenants as there are no nearby options, unless one considers RDU an option. Could be a good business opportunity, but I doubt that the board would sell. They will close it and use my tax dollars to build a Center For Liberal Studies.
     
  5. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Actually the current plans are for a solar farm or something similar. I'm sure that will change. Regardless, a sad day for GA.
     
  6. MICHAEL MAHN

    MICHAEL MAHN Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I tend to think this reopen KIGX petition will make no difference, but, I signed it. Last time I dropped my child off at UNC, Signature at RDU charged me $45 for about 10 minutes use of their ramp. Would be nice to have other options.
     
  7. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The people in charge of UNC have decided what’s best for you. You’re just not smart enough to understand.
     
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  8. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I've not visited friends in the triangle region via airplane as there are no good GA choices in that area it seems.
     
  9. MICHAEL MAHN

    MICHAEL MAHN Pre-takeoff checklist

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    KRDU and KTTA are pretty much your options. I've flown my kids back/forth to school out of both. KTTA is nice but it's ~45 minute drive from campus.
     
  10. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Have friends in Durham, neither is a great choice.
     
  11. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Rich people killing another GA airport.
     
  12. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Already dead. It’s been closed for 3 years.
     
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  13. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    I find the petition kind of comical and pointless. If there is one thing that never happens, it's an airport re-opening. The neighbors wouldn't stand for it and there is no profit in it seeing how small and run down it is. The closing was wrong and some would say illegal to begin with but what's done is done.
     
  14. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Yup. The arguments presented in the petition aren’t going to work.
     
  15. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Another failure by AOPA, despite their $50M annual budget. Very frustrating.
     
  16. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    The neighbors have nothing to do with it. UNC fought to get the airport for the prestige of having an airport, then learned they didn't like having one. Now they want to do something else with the land.

    If you really want to bring the airport back. it would have to be addressed by the NC legislature to remove the land from UNC control.
     
  17. William Pete Hodges

    William Pete Hodges Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    What is wrong with UNC Chaple Hill that they don't have a college level flying program in this day and age with the pilot shortage looming in the near future? They could learn a lot from Liberty University in Lynchburg.
     
  18. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    They could learn a lot from The Ohio State University, which administers an airport with a collegiate aviation program where I base my aircraft. One of the busiest airports in Ohio.
     
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  19. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Program decisions are not made at the university level, they're made the Board of Governor's level, who oversees the entire NC university system of 17 schools and allocates the money.

    Chapel Hill is part of the larger North Carolina system and in a lot of ways is treated as the favored son. For example, UNC had the only medical school for decades and it wasn't until a private donor gave money to ECU that there was a second one in the state. Unless the BoG allocates money, it depends on private funding to make anything happen. So why doesn't' UNC have a pilot program? They haven't asked for or been required to have such a program.

    A better choice for a pilot program might be UNC-Charlotte, which is a 15 minute drive from JQF and near the Charlotte hub.
     
  20. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    And it's not "UNC Chapel Hill." In fact, most of the people at that institution explicitly ignore the "at Chapel Hill" suffix that is properly part of the name. Much as barbecue without qualification in NC means pork, UNC means the Chapel Hill institution. But the guys at State can tell you, it ain't tar they've been stepping in.
     
  21. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    I wouldn't say they didn't like having it, in fact they very much did in the early years of acquiring it. The reality is like almost all airports, they are a financial black hole without grants. They were already loosing money every year but were also faced with looming repairs and upgrades. Combine that with a desire to expand and the cost of land, it's no wonder they closed it down.
     
  22. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Locals understand. We all know it's just UNC, Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill, and maybe locally "Carolina", but some unfortunate souls confuse with South Carolina sometimes. If you want to get technical, it's the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nobody says that except in formal setting and nobody uses "at Chapel Hill" otherwise.

    Similar in Raleigh, it's NC State, State, or NCSU, but the official name is North Carolina State University at Raleigh. Nobody ever says "at Raleigh"

    Although it's not a NC school, they even do the same thing in Durham - Duke, Duke University, Dookies, but officially, The University of New Jersey at Durham.
     
  23. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    They ran the Chapel Hill Flying Club (now Wings of Carolina) out of there about 20-25 years ago and suddenly lost a huge customer base for buying fuel. I don't understand, how did they start losing money? It was political, someone way back had already decided they wanted to close the airport and started making a way to justify it.

    How did they run the club out? Poor service and constant annoyance. They believed the club was "unsafe" because there were some student related incidences and one student go around crash - I was told about the caviler and unsafe attitudes by multiple people who in retrospect wouldn't know. The insurance people believed otherwise, the club has incredible insurance, so I know who I trust on that.
     
  24. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Because the early years were full of government contracts that paid lucratively. They had their own flight schools back when aviation was more popular. I'm not saying they are without fault but when you pocket proceeds when times are good yet don't put anything towards repairs you get on the back side of the financial curve. That club is at my airport now and while I don't want to bash them I have a hard time recommending anyone to them so I will leave it at that. In today's economy with taxes, insurance, employee compensation etc. Fuel sales alone aren't enough to keep an airport going. They didn't have a lot of hangar space to rent and like most airports these days they didn't have the financial justification to build them.

    It's kind of ironic as pilots we complain about ramp fees. I realize places like Signature aren't putting that money back into the airport but imagine if Chapel hill had imposed a $10.00 landing fee. People would have stopped coming even if that could have helped save the airport. There are a few little airports around that are for sale in NC. When you look at the price vs the revenue you would be crazy to buy them. Without government assistance there just isn't enough revenue to sustain an airport these days.
     
  25. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I got a chuckle out of the last one, because I used to be an administrator at "Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey." My office was on the main campus in the New Brunswick area (technically, I was in Piscataway) but I was responsible for all the campuses (and in some aspects all degree-granting institutions in the state). The folks at Rutgers Newark always griped about how New Brunswick got the resources. I found out there was a University of New Brunswick (in Canada) and always wanted to wear one of their t-shirts when visiting the Newark guys.

    Years later, I took a graduate course (distance learning) at the University of New Brunswick, so I guess I'm an alumnus of that institution.
     
  26. MICHAEL MAHN

    MICHAEL MAHN Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Guilty as charged :) I buy fuel, rent cars etc. to support FBOs. I don't mind paying for services rendered, however, it just bothers me when someone charges me for doing nothing just b/c they can -- not too dissimilar from not being able to fill your own tank in NJ.
     
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  27. GaryM

    GaryM Line Up and Wait

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    flyingron said:
    Although it's not a NC school, they even do the same thing in Durham - Duke, Duke University, Dookies, but officially, The University of New Jersey at Durham.

    It reminded me of this gem, the new signage at the school entrance, unveiled to the public on the day Trenton State College was renamed.
    jersey.jpg
     
  28. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Being a UNC graduate, I never miss a change to slam Dookies. Duke is filled with rich kids from the north, it seems mainly New Jersey.
     
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  29. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    JHU was joked about being primarily Lon Gilanders.

    My sister and her husband went to Duke. The fact that nobody else in the immediate family went to a school with a real sports team (JHU, Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Tufts) we tend to follow Duke, except my brother (Dartmouth) who follows Maryland (we did grow up near that campus).

    i joke that I went to a Big Ten school since Hopkins is now in the Big Ten (at least for Lacrosse).
     
  30. Rushie

    Rushie En-Route

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    My daughter just told me Duke is offering to pay for her to get a PhD in nursing. What’s with that? ($100,000/year tuition plus $3,000/month stipend.) She says they’re real short on nursing researchers?
     
  31. MICHAEL MAHN

    MICHAEL MAHN Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow!! My daughter is in her first year of her pharmacy PhD at UNC. Since she's paying the full tuition, she'll be miffed to hear about your daughter :)
     
  32. Rushie

    Rushie En-Route

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    I don’t know what the deal is. I told her to read the fine print, make sure they’re not tying it to her promising to be on the faculty afterwards, or give them her firstborn son or something, or she has to pay it all back.
     
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  33. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    At North American universities (including UNC), it's standard to have your doctoral studies fully funded in non-professional programmes like history or biology, but full funding in a professional programme like nursing or law is extremely rare.

    On the downside, they usually make students work for it (10–20 hours/week of TA'ing during term, depending on the school). The university gets cheap teaching resources that way, so it's a win for them.
     
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  34. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    My daughter just started her Ph.D. in history at UNC last month. Hoping to fly down from Canada for a visit next year, when cross-border travel is a little easier, but it sounds like my airport choices in the area will be limited.
     
  35. GaryM

    GaryM Line Up and Wait

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    Full funding was common in the sciences, serving as a teaching assistant for perhaps two years, then moving to research assistantship funding for the duration. My impression was that funding was harder to come by in the humanities, at least once the TA money ran out. Of course, my experience does go back a number of years...
     
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  36. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    My daughter got her masters degree in Atmospheric Science (undergrad was meteorology). She said she wouldn't go anywhere that didn't give her a tuition deal. She and her (soon to be) husband ended up at Colorado State (he got his PhD in the same field).
     
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  37. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    It's rare for a university to accept a Ph.D. candidate in non-professional programmes like humanities, social sciences, or sciences without funding them: a school that does so ends up with a bad reputation. And since they're a cheap source of labour to teach the undergraduates who do pay tuition, it's not a bad deal for the universities.

    The funding will end after a certain period (often 4–5 years) if you haven't finished by then.

    ===

    But that said, I wasn't funded for my M.A. and Ph.D. at the Centre for Medieval Studies in Toronto in the mid 1980s, even though I was the #2 ranked student accepted in my year. It was (and still is) a graduate-only programme, so there were no undergrads to teach, and we were on our own scrambling for TAships, RAships, etc from other departments, and/or looking for fellowships or external scholarships. I did manage over my 6 years (2 MA, 4 Ph.D.) to find enough money to pay the bills and stay out of debt, but it was a haphazard thing, and not typical of grad studies in the humanities.

    These days, the Centre has funding from The Weeknd (the R&B singer) to support their medieval Ethiopic studies programme, so they might be able to provide more support to their students than they used to.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
  38. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    I feel your pain as my daughter is going to NC state. I had thought about asking the administration if there was a public access option, in the end it was better to just drive the 2.5 hours.
    It has taught me to be wary of class C airports and places that call themselves jetports. Airports with runways less than 4000’ are good because most jets can’t operate out of them.
     
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  39. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Curious, what does a person with a Ph.D in medieval studies do after graduation?
     
  40. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The only solution is to take control of your own freedom to fly by buying some land and keeping a nice 2000’ lawn.