Corona Airport Update

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.”

  6 comments for “Corona Airport Update

  1. Jon
    January 13, 2005 at 9:53 am

    Yipes! My dad called to tell me about this and I immediately thought, “What’s going on with Ron’s stuff and his buddy’s Stearman?” Sounds like the Stearman got out ok, but I remember the hangar was cozy with photos on the wall, a couch, a fridge, some memorabilia?… What happened to that stuff?

    I hope they don’t permanently close the place. Would be a shame.

  2. Ron
    January 13, 2005 at 4:19 pm

    We managed to remove as much stuff from the Stearman hangar as possible. There’s a loft about 10 feet above ground level at the back of the hangar. Boy did that ever come in handy! We loaded as much stuff as we could into that, and filled two SUVs with the rest.

    There’s still a lot of stuff in there that got wet, though. That cool refrigerator (the one that matches the colors of the airplane), some furniture, cabinets, etc. There was no way to move those items in time. The water was just rising too quickly.

  3. karl rogers
    January 16, 2005 at 5:10 pm

    is there any relief available for flood victems at airport. Any agency that I can contact. Info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  4. Ron
    January 18, 2005 at 1:39 am

    I doubt there is any relief being offered to those at the airport. It’s possible the businesses there (Procraft, Para Aviation, Paint by George, etc) might be able to work out some sort of deal with their master leaseholders, but I don’t know of anything being offered at this time.

    I’d recommend that you contact the airport manager at (951) 736-2289. He ought to be able to provide some guidance.

    Do you have an aircraft at the field?

  5. Joe Aldendifer
    January 19, 2005 at 4:41 pm

    The following are postings made by Sol, a self appointed town cryer for SVS hangar pilots at the Corona Airport, and has done an outstanding job in presenting just the facts.

    I personaly heard from my leeseholder that there is possible reliefe for business owners and pilots who have lost money because they can’t fly.

    Any questions should be directed the leaseholder immediately

    Comment — Wed. Jan 19, 2005 11:00am —

    OK, OK. So the Link you rec’d last nite didn’t work. Apologies. The link will always remain the same, so you can simply keep it in your browser’s “favorites” for the near future.

    Please check back here whenever you want. Unless there’s something BIG, you won’t recv any further “email notifications.”

    Rumor “HALT” line :

    No, the airport will not be shutdown forever. There are no such words coming from any agency nor anyone I’ve heard in the City of Corona. If anything, after this Natural Disaster, there is a newfound appreciation that Corona Airport is full of City, State, and Federal employees and retirees. Some of these retirees have more experience than the people sent to “help” us. From what I hear, there is a new level of respect being given to Corona Airport and its people. And besides…do you think Corona would want to base their new Helicopter at Chino? I think not. I personally heard one city employee (in discussion with 2 others) refer to us as a “community”. I think a perception-change has happened.

    No, the runway isn’t buckled. The City of Corona only promised to “Schedule” testing of the runway via a meeting on Tuesday. They did better — the contracted engineering firm actually -DID- testing on the runway Tuesday. I regret the timeline to tell us any information may take some days. More on this later today, I hope.

    If you have some hazardous waste, and are wondering what to do with it : DONT toss it into the dumpsters. Information is forthcoming on a nearby location to take your BadStuff on Friday and Saturday. Ask around…you will need a a friend (with a water-bill from) the City of Corona.

    Dumpsters have been tough to get. Seems like it rained everywhere, and not only the airport is requesting dumpsters. Several started arriving, and old ones were carried off on Tuesday night. The requests were made last Sunday.

    Patience is a keyword for us. I can personally tell you issues are recognized, and help has been called (Sewer/water/electric). The slowness of the response is not due to a “lack of trying” on the part of any Master Leaseholder nor the City of Corona.

    I hadda take a day off and work this morning. I’m now headed to the airport. Check back for more news, as it is available, this evening.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Update — Tue. Jan 18, 2005 7:00pm —

    Tonight’s report is what you want/need to know in a summary. Fuller comments as possible later tonight or on Wed morning.

    The runway is closed — for the near future.

    Yes, there is a security guard Outside the gate, and (2) volunteer security guards locked Inside the gate from 5pm to 7am. No admittance to anyone until 7am. You need a hang-tag, or some kind of ID to get in. If that doesn’t work, you will need a Volunteer Security guy (a fellow pilot) to eyeball you and tell the guard you are a tenant/owner. Only Tenants/owners can get in, but you may bring (supervised) friends to help. This will continue -at least- till the weekend is over. Make sure you bail out, including your supervised helpers, before 5pm or you will be escorted. Security guys can get assertive.

    The water/sewer/electric are not yet operational. Port-a-Potties are in-vogue. Hand-washing supplies are B.Y.O. please. Clothespins for your nose distinguish guys from gals. (You get the picture.)

    From what I understand, there might be hope that Bob’s Cafe might open late tomorrow, but this would be luck. Thursday morning would be a better bet.

    Yes, please bring brooms, shovels, and wash tubs and cleanout the mud from your hangar. This would be -especially- helpful if your are east of ChrisAire, and could put your plane back in the hangar….before things start to get dusty.

    Again we were lucky today. I didn’t feel any wind more than about 5-7 mph from the east, 10am to 5pm.

    I spied George and his crew looking at an airplane already primered some days ago. (Cash job I bet…did I mention you should pay cash to these guys?). Procraft was looking shipshape, and almost ready… there was too much happening, I couldn’t tell if they were mopping mud or re-setting their machinerey. The Cylinder shop had a lot of activity. Things are happening here. Eastman is answering phones and re-arranging. HeliFlight has challenges yet to scoop. Businesses are coming together. Did I mention cash jobs would be appreciated ? If you know who saved your airplane, have you remembered to drive past and toss a C-note into their hangar? These guys saved your airplane. If you don’t know which one saved you, toss a C-note into EACH hangar.

    I hear there are people contributing time and equipment, and they aren’t from Corona Airport. We want to thank these people for their contributions. Please get their names and/or the companies they own/represent. Please get these names onto Corona’s Thank you list.

    Come back for more info later……

    ——————————————————————————–

    Update — Tue. Jan 18, 2005 9:00am —
    Just now (with a 36hr delay), I rec’d the text of the “flyer” you will recieve at the gate. Please scroll down and read the “official” version of the status of the airport. (look for a big bold -RED- box as you scroll down….)

    While this was actually written for use on Monday, Jan 17, it is the “official” version, and worth the reading….

    ——————————————————————————–

    Bulletin Mon. Jan 17, 2005 7:00PM —

    Addressing one FAQ (Frequently Asked Question), the wind was reported to be pretty snappy at Chino and Riverside today. That was not the case at Corona. I was there all day, and I don’t think I felt more than maybe 5-7 mph from the east. Even if your plane isn’t tied down, it is at least sandbagged on the tires, and I don’t think anything moved airplane-wise. Occasional airplanes are starting to move from the tiedowns into hangars. Tomorrow will surrender more tiedowns. And probably you need to come down and move your airplane into a tiedown if you find it in a less-secure situation. Don’t “call somebody” — come to the airport. Volunteers sure could use your help.

    Among other things, a pilot values airspeed, fuel, and a runway. Cross your fingers we might get a couple of these soon. The fuel station only needs electricity. And apparently we are on-schedule to have the runway evaluated soon. In conversation with other non-experts, this might take more than 24 hours. Stay tuned.

    Bob’s Cafe would be operational right now, but they don’t have water. And you know this is only a turn of the valve. There is also the problem of sewers for the dirty dishwater. The city pumps got drowned (down past ChrisAire). So while it sounds simple, it’s not simple. If Bob and Meta had their way, we’d be able to use paper plates. But there’s probably some “code” against that. All the workers enjoyed complimentary hotdogs and coffee today. Thank you Bob and Meta.

    Yes, the gate is back up (was cut down to get airpanes out.) Yes, there is an Armed Security Guard in-place tonight in front of the gate. Additionally, your friendly (volunteer) security guard is locked inside the airport, and will make rounds in the dark. This is the continued attempt to protect your stuff. From what I see, this will probably continue in some form for a while.

    The airport is open to tenants/owners 7am to 5pm. There is a “lockdown” at 5pm. You still need your hang-tag or something to identify yourself to get in. Looks like this procedure will remain in effect for a while.

    West-End properties got a lot of machinery-help today. There were skip-loaders shoving mud from about noon to the 5pm lockdown. Operators varied from professional, to Dave Stevenson, to Teri Carr. Seems like everyone likes to play in the mud. Yes, even Rich Brodeur couldn’t resist “operating” for a while.

    If it ain’t one problem agency, it’s another. We are not allowed to use hoses (nor water-trucks) to washdown anything. Don’t plan on bringing or using anything that resembles a hose. Several water-bearing trailers were turned away today. If you wanna wash something, plan on using a wash-tub, and plan on taking the wastewater home with you. And of course remember to bring something to wash your hands. One acceptable method is the “2-bucket”. The first bucket is for dirty hands, the 2nd is for rinse. And plan on taking the water home with you. It goes without saying that the restrooms are locked. Are these rules conflicting to common sense? Sure. But the airport will get the “Citation” anyway. (But that’s another story.)

    And in summary today…I saw Procraft hauling equipment on trailers, going outside the airport, and bringing it back after washing it. The Cylinder Shop was the same story. Eastman continued pushing mud out of his hangar (for about the 5th time…he has less-than-good elevation compared to the taxiway.) Let’s not think that Georges Painting is only on the upper-end. He has prep-booths (hangars) in a lot of other locations on the field. All these businesses have equipment (compressors, grinders, and hand-tools) that got drowned.

    I think we could all find something these guys could fix on our airplane. Have I mentioned you should pay cash for your work? Real soon would be good.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Bulletin Sun. Jan 16, 2005 6:00PM —

    At 7am on Monday Jan 17, Corona Airport grounds are open to all the tenants.
    ——– But not the runway ——–

    The airport is still officially closed by NOTAM — no takeoffs or landings, even by helicopter.

    The City of Corona has been, and is still, concerned about our Safety, and they are concerned to keep our property Secure in this Natural Disaster.

    OK, now that we have that said, here’s the scoop :

    The Haz-Mat team from “City of Corona” has investigated the airport and approved our return to cleanup the mud.

    They still have some rules for us to follow (“Be careful when walking in slippery mud…”). But Generally, we can go to our hangars and cleanup. When you come to the gate, you will recieve a handout with a lot of common sense suggestions and rules. They are not rigid nor nasty rules, just common sense leading us all to the same goal in the cleanup process.

    Tonight, there is still heavy security guarding our stuff. Tomorrow (Monday) When you go to the gate, there is still a security guard, and you still need identification that you are a tenent. If you have no paperwork, or a hang-tag, then someone (a fellow pilot, security volunteer) is available to help you get in.

    Today, I heard a few petty gripes. Here’s my favorite:

    [Tenent from the far west-end]: “I didn’t give anyone permission to cut my lock and move my airplane.”

    Well, OK. Next time we won’t do that. To help the unpaid volunteers from saving your $65,000 airplane from drowning, please put a sign on your hangar door “In case of flood, do not open this hangar.” But for now, please just help your neighbor shovel his 6″ of mud and go buy him a new lock.

    Do not be in a hurry to move your airplane if your hangar is not inhabitable. All the Master Lease Holders agreed to help each other. You should cleanout the mud, help your neighbor cleanout his mud, and both of you go cleanout a buddy’s hangar if you know he’s in Japan for a month. The sense of “Community” should rise up for all of us in this Natural Disaster.

    Cleaning up– this needs to be a controlled process. The handout you receive at the gate tells you where to put your mud so it is easiest to skip-load and remove. Please separate trash from mud, and put the trash in the dumpsters provided.

    The entry gate will be repaired soon. But being inoperative, this is only to help reduce the manpower to maintain security. At this writing, the airport will be closed 5pm to 7am for the forseeable future.

    Here’s our mandate — If you are retired and have nothing to do, please help your neighbor restore his hangar. If you have a few extra days to take off work, please come and help. Bring squeegees and shovels and brooms with you. They are in short supply.

    And don’t forget — our on-airport businesses will be needing cash-jobs asap. They took care of our stuff, let’s help them too.

    A copy of the actual “handout” from the city hasn’t yet arrived in my email. When it arrives, I will post it on this site….so feel free to stop back and check later tonight.

    A late-contribution : Seems like the bugs ‘n mosquitos have discovered us. So you might want to bring bug-repellant.

    Sue notes…you should bring boots.

    Here’s the text of the flyer you will get at the gate:

    [Text from The office of the Airport Manager]
    January 17, 2005
    AIRPORT ENTRY NOTICE

    As we continue to work on getting our airport back in operation, we’d like to ask for your continued support in following the rules and regulations that have been established for all of our safety. There are many resources that have been offered to us; a list of these will be available as soon as possible.

    * The Airport offers the option of limited entry to tenants of the Corona Airport only – it is not open to the public! ALL ENTRY IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. No children or pets are permitted on the airport!!! Any guests, whether friends or workers, you bring in and any actions they take on your behalf are your responsibility.

    * The ground is extremely slippery and EXTREME CAUTION must be adhered to while walking or driving.

    * There are no sewage, water or electric services available at this time. The portable toilets are located in front of the airport manager’s office. The electricity will be checked by Edison early in the week and will be brought back on line when it is safe to do so. DO NOT TOUCH ANY ELECTICAL OR UTILITY PANELS/METERS ON THIS AIRPORT. There is still a danger of electrocution.

    * The following guidelines have been established to assist you while on the airport property:
    o Drive very slowly through the silt!
    ^ o Do not push silt and trash into the center of the taxiway or on to the v-channel!
    o Put all silt on the taxiway in a line approximately 10 feet from your hangar so that the water can seep out of the silt into the V-channel between hangars.

    * No water trucks or tankers or other heavy equipment are permitted on the airport. A suggestion is to take any of your belongings that have been immersed in the mud offsite for cleanup -either at your home or at another suitable location.

    * Aircraft must not be moved and must remain at their current location. At this time there is no other place to park aircraft. All aircraft have been secured as well as possible by experienced aircraft handling persons. Contact your master leaseholder if you have concerns. If you cannot locate your aircraft, check with SVS or Corona Air Ventures, as it may have been placed inside a hangar. All aircraft have been accounted for and are here on the field (unless you flew out).

    * You are responsible to dispose of all flood damaged items in your hangars. All flood soaked debris (i.e., paper, boxes, furniture) must be disposed of in the dumpsters that are on site, or you may remove them to another location. Any aerosol cans, oil, or other hazardous containers must be disposed of properly and according to State Regulations. It is not the responsibility of the master leaseholder to dispose of items. Dumpsters will be located on the South side of Aviation Drive for all trash, but not silt, dirt or hazardous materials. Silt and dirt in the taxiway will be picked up by management.

    * The airport and the runway will remain closed until such time as the runway has been evaluated for stability.

    * The Airport Caf* remains closed. Please bring enough water for hydration while you are here.

    * Again, EXTREME CAUTION must be used while walking or driving in the silted areas.

    ——————————————————————————–

  6. Joe Aldendifer
    January 20, 2005 at 8:12 am

    I forgot to give url address regarding updates on Corona Airport

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