Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

March 1, 2014

Progress made on Autocross

On behalf of National Road Autosport LLC and hundreds of motorsports enthusiasts who compete at the Cumberland Airport, we are pleased to share progress toward continuing the Cumberland Airport Autocross Series.

With thanks to the Office of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, the Allegany County Commissioners and the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority for their support in obtaining a more clear approval process for motorsports activities conducted at the Cumberland Regional Airport for the last decade, here is a brief report of the facts as we see them, and our future plans.

1. Motorsports programming is conducted regularly on FAA regulated airports around the nation with the full approval of the FAA.

2. Motorsports have been held at the Cumberland Airport regularly since 2003 and the airport has continued to receive airport improvement grants from the FAA during that time period.

3. The local airport has never been closed to any aviation activity for a National Road Autosport event.

4. No written prohibition of motorsport activity at the Cumberland Airport has been documented.  Written communication was received from the FAA that approved operation of the 2013 series. This communication ended with the offer to submit a proposal for continued autocross use.

5. The community benefit of our programming is well documented, hosting over 8,000 entries in eleven years of autocross events with a direct economic influx to the Tri-State Region in excess of $1 million and estimated overall economic impact of over $3 million.

This impact goes a long way toward giving local taxpayers timely return on the local annual subsidy in operating the airport.

In addition, we have provided over $50,000 cash payments to the PHAA that benefit airport operations.

With the cooperation of the interested parties listed above, we have identified pathways to formal FAA approval as prescribed by existing FAA presentations and procedural guidelines.

It is our plan to develop a proposal for continued sports car programming at the Cumberland Airport that documents past compliance and demonstrates future compliance with FAA regulations established specifically to allow this type of activity.

In deference to the time needed to move through the proper channels, our goal is to operate, in partnership with aviation related programming, an abbreviated 2014 season and a full season of 2015 events.

We plan to work directly with all the members of the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority board and staff on a plan that will result in a formal request by the airport to approve National Road Autosport programming for the foreseeable future, including a partnership with aviation organizations and without interference with the airport’s long-planned runway improvement program.

We will be emphasizing that none of our auto competition activities are conducted on Cumberland Airport runways, nor do they restrict any airport operations — nor have they in the past.

National Road Autosport has always considered our permission to use the airport as a privilege that honors Cumberland’s remarkable place in American sports car racing history.  

We are disappointed that the impression of FAA formal regulatory opposition has occurred.

We are thankful for support of the local media, elected officials, our stakeholders and our community that has opened the door to more clearly establish the terms under which we can continue at the airport — and clear away any confusion or misunderstanding related to our request for continued programming.

Members of

National Road Autosport LLC

 

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