Cumberland Times-News

Letters

December 23, 2013

Airport drivers support community

I write to join those who have expressed surprise and regret over the decision of the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority to close Cumberland Airport to the autocross events that have been held there for the last 10 years.

As others have noted, those events keep alive Cumberland Airport’s historic legacy as a key venue during the Golden Age of amateur sports car road racing in the 1960s and ’70s. Autocrossing, in which cars negotiate a course laid out with traffic cones, one at a time, at low speeds, for time, is a far more sedate and safer game than the thrilling wheel to wheel racing that brought crowds in the tens of thousands back in the day.

Still, the events bring many families out to watch on nice weekends, and they connect the community to Cumberland’s racing heritage.

I am one of the “come here” drivers who makes the trek up to your beautiful city regularly to participate in the autocrosses at the airport over the past 10 years.

Each trip, I pay entry fees (most of which undoubtedly come back to the airport) book a hotel room for two nights, eat and drink in Cumberland’s fine restaurants and taverns, and purchase gas and other amenities.

I am but one of many such drivers. When we head back over mountains on Sundays after the race, our hearts, and our wallets, are always quite a bit lighter than when we came to town.

The National Road Autosport airport autocross series supports the community in other ways I have not heard mentioned.

Each year, on Saturday night during the June event, there is a charity auction, which generally raises thousands of dollars for local causes.

In the past these have included a civil aviation scholarship for area youths, and a local museum. Each event, the local Lions Club does a “land office business” running a concession stand, selling food and soft drinks to hungry and thirsty drivers, workers, and spectators.

The events in no way interfere with airport operations. First, they are only held for two days a month between May and October. Second, movement of aircraft takes priority at all times.

When aircraft need to taxi, land or take off, the event is shut down in a matter of seconds. Because the airport has had no scheduled service for years, the events make productive, revenue-producing use of facilities that otherwise lie dormant much of the time.

PHAA’s stated reason why all this must end — concern over loss of FAA grant funding — is perplexing. Airport operators accepting FAA grant funds must comply with certain standard Grant Assurances, some of which deal with use of grant funded property.

But, according to FAA Order 5190.6B (Airport Compliance Manual), Chapter 22.5, airport property may concurrently “be used for a compatible nonaviation purpose while at the same time serving the primary purpose for which it was acquired,” at fair market rent, which is considered airport revenue, with FAA approval.

I do not understand that such approval has been revoked.

In these dark days of intergovernmental gridlock and dysfunction, the CBE autocrosses have stood as shining example of how federal and local authorities can maximize shared use of underutilized facilities, for the benefit of the entire community.

 It would be a shame if, on a few spring and summer weekends, CBE would no longer hear the sweet song of lovingly tuned motors, of Cobras dueling Corvettes, and the babble of excited competitors and spectators. In many ways, Cumberland, and we visitors, would all be poorer for it.

Ben Lambiotte

Washington, D.C.

1
Text Only
Letters
  • It might not be a problem, but a possibility

    God certainly orchestrates circumstances that cause us to marvel. The recent flood In Cresaptown that Calvary Baptist Church/School endured is proving to be yet another miracle birthed out of devastation.

    July 24, 2014

  • Look to the Jubilee solution to resolve our economic woes

    Following the Lehman banking debacle of 2008, the government sponsored bailout of the banking sector to boost the economy created an illusion of recovery.

    July 24, 2014

  • Common Core curriculum is bad news for West Virginians

    If something is not done soon, the vast majority of American K-12 school children will be taught using dubious, federally backed national education “standards” that have come under fire from across the political spectrum.

    July 24, 2014

  • Please return valuable items taken from woman’s parked van

    On July 8 at 2:33 p.m. my 16-year-old granddaughter Caitlyn Cook and I arrived at Children’s Medical Group for a 3 p.m. appointment.

    July 23, 2014

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads