MidAmerica well worth cost

October 27, 2013 

I was employed at the Defense Mapping Agency as an aeronautical information specialist. We were given a geographical area in which we had to collect all the information about each airport in that area. As a result of this experience in evaluating airports and their infrastructure, Wade Brunsman, a county board member, asked me if I would be on a committee to develop an airport for St. Clair County. It became a reality.

One of my O'Fallon aviation students attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, graduated and attained the rank of Major. He came to me and asked me to collect all the information about Mid America Airport as he was on the Advisory Committee for airbase closures (BRAC). He came back and said they were considering closing Scott. Because it was adjacent to Mid America, they voted to keep Scott open. The reason being Scott's runway bearing capacity and its length was not adequate to handle all the aircraft in the Air Force inventory, such as the KC-135 or the DC-10 when fully loaded.

Elevation, high temperature and high humidity affect the aircraft ground take-off distance before getting airborne. You don't want the aircraft sinking into the runway and you like the extra runway length if you lose power during the take-off run. Mid America provides that element of safety.

A $5.6 million expenditure is well worth the $31 billion economic impact to Belleville and the surrounding communities. The Chanute Air Force Base closure lost a lot of jobs and loss of homes.

Mid America Airport is vital in retaining Scott Air Force Base for the future, and now we want the County Board members to control spending of the airport? How knowledgeable are the board members about airport infrastructure and operation expense?

George Ahring

Belleville

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