I arrived home this evening to some disturbing news from the Corona Airport.
Oh, the water level has started to receed — and that’s great. But apparently there’s been some sort of a disagreement between a few pilots (who wanted to evacuate their airplanes) and the guy who runs the Corona Park Department. The head honcho at the Park Department (who is airport manager’s boss) was of the opinion that no one should be allowed to take off under any circumstances since the water had consumed so much of the runway. A seemingly understandable position.
Some pilots felt differently, opining that they ought to be allowed to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their birds, even if that meant taking off when the airport was officially ‘closed’. Again, I can see the merits of that viewpoint. And at one point the airport management was allowing takeoffs if the pilot was willing to sign a waiver of liability, but that was stopped sometime on Tuesday.
It devolved into a standoff, and as a result, the Park Department manager had the Corona Police place four police cruisers on the runway so it could not be used. He apparently also stated that he is going to have the airport closed permanently. I say “apparently” because I was not present at the airport today and cannot verify this. But I heard it from one of the more level-headed and non-alarmist folks I know.
This closure threat could be nothing but hot air. However, in light of what happened to the legendary Meigs Field — as well as my own knowledge of bureaucrats in general — I think the threat must be taken seriously. There are those in Corona who would like to see it razed and converted into soccer fields.
There is to be a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10:00 a.m. at Aircraft Spruce to discuss the matter. I emailed Phil Boyer at AOPA, hoping he could phone conference in, or have someone on his staff follow up on this situation.
I hate to say anything when a) I wasn’t there, b) am not 100% sure of all the facts. But meetings don’t take place at Aircraft Spruce as a matter of course, so something is going on. The Corona Airport users are sort of scattered at the moment, and the airport has been locked up tight. No one allowed in unless they are a Corona city employee.
Time to start watching for bulldozers? I hope not. But the precedent was set by Chicago’s corrupt mayor in 2003. So: “fool me once, shame on you — fool me twice, shame on me.”