Minneapolis airports

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by iamtheari, Jun 25, 2022.

  1. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I just came back from a few days of meetings in downtown Minneapolis. My usual airport for that has been KMIC. Unfortunately, the FBO there (Thunderbird) no longer accepts transient planes because they don’t have enough services to offer. (The back story is that MAC had raised the minimum standards for fuel farms, essentially forcing the FBO to shut down its fuel farm, and then MAC opened a self-serve pump without any competition to worry about.)

    While KMIC retains a good location for my next round of meetings in downtown Minneapolis, the lack of a good FBO makes me want to try something else. What are the other Twin Cities airports like these days? Where would you go if downtown was your destination?
     
  2. champ driver

    champ driver Line Up and Wait

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    KANE, Anoka County is right on the freeway to either downtowns, just 30 minutes away.
     
  3. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    What's the FBO situation there these days? I have flown into KANE twice. The first time, the nice little FBO put my plane in the hangar free of charge for most of the day to let the prior day's freezing rain thaw. The second time, that FBO had been bought out and closed down.
     
  4. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    The Thunderbird at Flying Cloud (KFCM) is very nice and unless they've changed in the past few months I am not aware of a ramp fee. They have fuel trucks and one large hangar that planes go into. I would call them to learn any overnight fees. They definitely arrange car rentals with all the jet traffic. There are a few others. About same distance to downtown. There is a self serve pump on the field too.
     
  5. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Downtown St.Paul (KSTP) is a great location, rather sleepy for its size and a great restaurant (Holmans Table) but I believe the main FBO will have hefty fees. I heard its pretty nice inside as they remodeled ahead of Super Bowl a few years back.
     
  6. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Fleming (SGS) is also in a great location, smaller, no tower and I think it might be your cheapest if you are okay getting transport from there to Minneapolis. But I have no info on fbo and hangar for our summer storms.
     
  7. champ driver

    champ driver Line Up and Wait

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    You may not have been there since Cirrus was bought out by Lynx, which is now Atlantic on the very north side of the field.
    STP is also a good choice, and not that far from downtown Minneapolis. STP has Signature and St Paul Flight Center. Both good FBOs, but Flight Center may have lesser fees.
    The only wild card in any driving to Minneapolis is the road construction, which is in full swing and changes weekly.
     
  8. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    "The back story is that MAC had raised the minimum standards for fuel farms, essentially forcing the FBO to shut down its fuel farm, and then MAC opened a self-serve pump without any competition to worry about."

    Things like this where government competes with private enterprise or in this case forcing out private enterprise drive me bonkers.
     
  9. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Especially if it forced out any of the other half dozen or so FBOs to which the new standard applies.
     
  10. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I would have to hear what standards were changed. There was a recent change to the NFPA code for aircraft fueling facilities that required additional safety enhancements. The FBO farm may not have met those new requirements, and they didn't want to upgrade them. There are always two sides to every story.
     
  11. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Indeed. I'm only reporting what the people staffing the FBO in March 2021 told me. MAC didn't have any manned facilities at the airport so I didn't have a chance to ask them their side of the story. I have personal knowledge that the change in the fuel situation was between 2/13/2020 and 3/4/2021 and that the FBO deciding to reject transient planes was between 3/7/2021 and 6/20/2022.

    Regardless of additional sides to the story, though, the outcome is that the sole FBO on the field closed to all transient planes and I had to use the public tie-downs, which consisted only of a small row of wing-only tie-down anchors, bring your own rope. No car rental, no person with my phone number to call me if they see a problem with my plane, no place to buy a quart of oil, no preheat options, etc. Crystal is also the only GA facility in the Twin Cities with even a long-term planned light rail route nearby. Whether the NFPA, MAC, or someone else is to blame, we all have to bear the harm.
     
  12. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You could always start an FBO there with all of that stuff.
     
  13. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I can't recall if KANE's FBO was Lynx or Atlantic when I was there last. My first visit was in November 2016 and my last was in May 2018. Cirrus rings a bell as having been the one I enjoyed the first time.

    I flew into KSTP last year and enjoyed it. I used St Paul Flight Center and can't complain. I think that flying in an experimental helped since the line guy was eager to talk about my interesting plane.
     
  14. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I could, but if the one that already had an established presence including its fuel farm, building, ramp, hangars, ground lease, parking lot, great location on the field, employee relationships, economies of scale with a second location in the metropolitan area, etc. was unable to compete with the MAC's self-serve fuel pump, then I doubt that I could find a way to fare better.
     
  15. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    “Unable to compete”—fact not in evidence.
     
  16. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    What would be the break even price for a government owned self serve fuel pump versus a full service FBO with service, people, and other products to have on hand. MAC doesn't need to make money, just not lose money.

    Two sides to every story and maybe MAC is only there because of the new nfpa code...which has been amended in 2022 when they realized how expensive retrofitting would be.

    "The regular revision process failed to consider that retroactive compliance for existing loading racks and mobile refuelers may be unrealizable for hundreds of airports around the country....Removing the retroactivity statement would allow the industry to progress toward meeting the
    requirement when new fuel storage systems are being designed/constructed."

    In this case it's a year too late. They put a mandate of 2021 in, then in 2022 after compliance was untenable amended it to just new equipment. Brilliant.
     
  17. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    It would have been Lynx then, but it's Atlantic now.

    As Lynx they have always treated us well. I haven't been to ANE since they changed the signage, but I haven't heard any complaints from our coworkers and we're there every 5-10 days. Good area, easy to get Ubers (or they can get you a rental car), hotels/restaurants nearby also. I'm sure Atlantic isn't as generous as Lynx was, but if most of the staff is there you should be fine.

    That being said, MSP isn't *that* bad. Yeah, Signature is expensive but the area is right and for a Signature they've very friendly and reasonable. And I have never been denied hangar in a PC12 or Eclipse. MSP as far as large airports go is pretty simple, too.
     
  18. kaiser

    kaiser Cleared for Takeoff

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    I was in the twin cities last weekend. We parked at KSTP. We used St Paul Flight Center and were super pleased. We stayed one night (Saturday night). I was in a Saratoga, took 36 gal @ $6.75 and didn’t get hit with any other fees or charges.. only fuel. Uber had good coverage and the ride to our hotel in downtown Minneapolis was about 25 minutes with traffic. The way back was closer to 18 minutes.
     
  19. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Could be as simple as the private enterprise couldn’t justify the investment to replace a fuel farm that presented both safety and environmental hazards and local government ponied up the money to keep the airport operating and needed a return on their investment.

    There is very little, if any, profit in selling 100LL for an FBO and that’s why you have seen more 24/7 self serve at airports.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2022
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