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Old 01-07-2009, 01:31 PM   #1
flyguy
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Default Skydive Laconia?



If you've missed the news lately, two Floridians are trying to open a tandem skydiving operation at the Laconia airport in Gilford. In spite of the heavy transient and jet traffic that we experience all summer- especially NASCAR race weekends- they insist that they want to jump directly over and land on the airport. This of course will result in them falling directly through the flight paths of current traffic.

There's a Laconia Citizen article on it here.

I've got nothing against skydiving - I've done it myself - but this proposal is similar to placing a skate park next to RT93. I can't imagine a worse idea for the Laconia airport for many, many reasons.

So- do YOU want people jumping out of planes above YOUR home?
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:48 PM   #2
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Why would any normal person even want to jump out of a working airplane?
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RI Swamp Yankee View Post
Why would any normal person even want to jump out of a working airplane?
I've done enough business travel that I've wanted to jump out of a working airplane several times.

Get seated next to (or even near) a sick crying baby on a 5 hour flight, and you'll think about jumping before you're an hour into it.
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Old 01-07-2009, 04:50 PM   #4
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Default A little more info..

This is from the Gilford Steamer (1/1/09). More details from the folks proposing the business. They sound pretty experienced. I think if the safety issue work out. It would be a great business for the area.

http://www.gilfordsteamer.com/pdf/GIL.2009.01.01.pdf (go to the 2nd page on this PDF)

I wouldn't do it, but Mrs. SteveA jumped last spring in Key West. I think I was more scared about the whole thing than she was. She loved it and wants to jump again. The video of the dive company made of the whole jump is very cool.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brk-lnt View Post
... Get seated next to (or even near) a sick crying baby on a 5 hour flight, and you'll think about jumping before you're an hour into it.
Yup, that will do it

PS: loved that picture that flyguy posted
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Old 01-15-2009, 03:06 PM   #6
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Default Skydive Laconia

Greetings,

My name is Tom Noonan, I am one half of the Skydive Laconia proposal. My wife Mary is the other half. I came across this forum and thought it would be an excellent opportunity to introduce myself and open up a dialogue with anyone that had any questions or concerns.

A brief background on who we are: I grew up in Boston and my wife in Syracuse, so we are both born and raised New Englanders at heart. Up until 2006, we lived in Southern New Hampshire, when we moved to Florida to pursue our aviation related careers. It is our love of New Hampshire and desire to return there that has led us to pursue a skydiving operation at the Laconia Municipal Airport.

From the beginning, we recognized the fact that our presence at the airport would alter the status quo of daily operations, and our goal from the beginning was to work with the airport authority to ensure our presence there would create as minimal a disruption as possible. We genuinely want to be good neighbors within the community.

With that said, we also realized that it was highly unlikely that 100% of the community would embrace our presence. We were pleased to see however that at the November 2008 LAA meeting that the vast majority of attendees genuinely did embrace our presence and wished us well. We have also met with a number of local community members outside the airport, and they too have supported and embraced our goal.

What we represent is the potential addition of 100s if not over 1000 additional tourist to the Weirs Beach/Laconia/Gilford area between April 1-October 31 each year. These additional tourists will be patronizing restaurants, hotels, gas stations and many other community destinations. We also represent new jobs. If given permission to operate, we intend to hire local community members to work with us. They will learn highly specialized skills such as parachute packing and aviation related office management, and eventually we hope to train local residents to become our future skydiving instructors. These specialized trade skills will allow them to literally travel the world if they choose to, enjoying a unique new perspective of "job satisfaction" as they sail through the sky. Basically, we feel we represent a potential boost to the local economy that will be felt across a broad spectrum of the community, not just the airport.

With that said, we realize that unless your in our sport, very few people will ever truly understand what it is that we propose to do and how we do it, and it is simply that lack of understanding that tends to cause negative reactions in some. We sincerely encourage anyone that has any questions or concerns to email us the_noonans@yahoo.com, and we will do our best to reply to any and all questions.

We can certainly appreciate the original poster's question regarding "do YOU want people jumping out of planes above YOUR home?" To that I would answer that the probability of a skydiver crashing into someone's house is so remote that realistically you would be much more likely to ever have a plane crash into your house than a skydiver, yet we don't attempt to prevent aircraft from flying over residential areas. I can site numerous examples of aircraft "parking" themselves in people's homes unannounced, where as i cannot find a single instance of a skydiver crashing into someone's house. Another question that was raised in our November 2008 meeting was (as depicted in the above photo), the likelyhood of skydiver/aircraft collisions. I had to go back ten years to find two separate instances of these types of collisions, yet the NTSB states that there is an aircraft to aircraft collision every ten days in the US. Again, you are far more likely to ever have an aircraft to aircraft collision than you ever would a skydiver/aircraft collision, yet aircraft are not restricted from flying in the sky with each other. (Of the two skydiver aircraft collisions, both were skydivers and skydiving aircraft. One instance, everyone survived uninjured. In the other instance, the skydiver was killed, and the pilot, who survived, was violated by the FAA for negligence, flying a radical pattern rather than the predetermined one.) The truth is simply that the concern of skydiver/aircraft collisions at Laconia Municipal Airport is simply not a realistic concern based on all available evidence.

What the issue really comes down to is education. We expect people to question us and our proposal, and feel that if they truly listen to us with an open mind, they will see that our presence will create a minimal intrusion to the aviation landscape, while bringing a significant boost to the local economy.

If and when this proposal request gets resolved and we are given permission to operate, we invite the local community to come out and meet us and learn about what it is that we do. If you want to truly understand it, make a skydive with us, we'd be happy to show you our world in the sky.

We look forward to the completion of this application process and becoming good neighbors of the airport community and the surrounding areas. I will post here the next time we will be in the area for a future Airport Authority meeting, so that if you'd like to come out and meet us or have us answer any questions that you have.

Blue skies to all, and to all a good flight,

Tom Noonan

(P.S. - That really is a great picture in the original post, even from our side of the discussion, we can appreciate a good satire of our request. My wife and I both genuinely laughed when we saw it. Very well done.)

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Old 01-15-2009, 03:16 PM   #7
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Default welcome

I, for one, can say I am glad you folks are here.
This is something I have always wanted to try, but it is one of those "well, I won't go out my way, but when the opportunity presents itself...".
Well, I guess it is presenting itself.
I'll see you this summer, if all goes well.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:13 PM   #8
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Default questions

Thanks to Tom Noonan for his post. Sounds like it is a business with some good potential for the Lakes Region. But what about the points mentioned by Bill Hemmel, about the interruption to current flight traffic given the proposal for the divers to land at Laconia Airport? I'd hate to see a new business negatively impact existing operations there.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:26 PM   #9
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Default Land in the Lake?

I am among the "why exit a perfectly good aircraft" crowd but if we parachuted into lake it would be a bit more ameniable to me. Is this possible? I can swim alot better than I can walk, or run for that matter. It is intruiging.
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Old 01-15-2009, 10:40 PM   #10
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As a "white knuckle" flier I can't really appreciate sky diving however I know many that love the sport. My feeling is, whatever floats your boat is ok by me. I am not even concerned that someone holding on to a few dozen yards of silk (nylon?) would fall on my roof. However, it does concern me that someone would be jumping into an area with real aircraft landing and taking off. I did see on the Laconia Airport website ( http://www.laconiaairport.com/laa/pilots_fielddata.htm ) that they list Aircraft operations: avg 97/day. Is it really safe to jump into the middle of that? Other than my concern about the landing area I wish you well. I might even be tempted to drive by the field and watch so long as I don't have to jump.
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:12 AM   #11
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Good luck, Tom & Mary! My son decided a couple of years ago that he wanted me to take him skydiving for his 18th birthday. He'll be 18 this spring and until now I had no idea where to take him. I did a couple static line jumps out in Orange Ma back in the 80's but have been itching to do a free fall tandem for years now. I'm glad to see there may be a place local to give it go. If history serves I should be able to gather up a few of my more hearty friends and relatives to join us when we come. How many divers will you be able to take up at once? You'll have a place set up for tailgating after the jump right? Please let us know how you make out. We hope to meet you soon.
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Old 01-16-2009, 01:31 PM   #12
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Default On purpose???

Quote:
Originally Posted by RI Swamp Yankee View Post
However, it does concern me that someone would be jumping into an area with real aircraft landing and taking off. I did see on the Laconia Airport website ( http://www.laconiaairport.com/laa/pilots_fielddata.htm ) that they list Aircraft operations: avg 97/day. Is it really safe to jump into the middle of that?
Actually weekend traffic can run a LOT higher- look at the jets in this weekend photo!

This is the crux of the problem. No one I know of has any objections to skydiving per se- it's relatively safe. It's that the operators insist that they must drift down into the middle of this air traffic and land directly on the airport- between the active runaway and an active taxiway. In fact, when the wind is out of the southwest, they actually propose drifting across the active runway!

Beats me why they can't jump into a nearby field and ferry their clients back.

Here's a view that may help clear things up:

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Old 01-16-2009, 02:14 PM   #13
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Default clarity

Thanks Bill, for giving some clarity to the landing area through your graphic. I tend to agree that the skydiving business is a great idea, but the choice of a landing area is a problem. Hopefully Mr. Noonan will comment directly to your post, one aviator to another.
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:24 PM   #14
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Default Skydive Laconia

Hi Mr. Hemmel,

I'd be happy to try and answer your question/concern relating to the landing area picture you have posted.

Your picture is an accurate representation of what we have requested of the Laconia Airport Authority, to be granted permission to land on the airport with the largest designated landing area being outlined by your yellow box. What is slightly inaccurate, is that based on prevailing winds, we expect the majority of all parachute operations to occur north of the runway, rarely, if ever, needing to cross the runway as your arrows are indicating. The majority of the aircraft patterns at the airport are south of the runway, so for the most part, our operational area will be completely separate from aircraft landing patterns. As we mentioned in our November 2008 presentation to the LAA, there are currently over 270 other drop zones in the US, many with jet traffic similar to Laconia, that safely accommodate a landing pattern such as we have proposed. There is nothing inherently unsafe about a parachute landing in your outlined area with taxiing and landing/departing aircraft nearby. Our parachutes are highly accurate and fly similar patterns to aircraft (albeit shorter patterns). Beyond that, the FAA makes no distinction between parachutes and aircraft at airports such as Laconia when it comes to airport access rights. The FAA states that parachutes have the same right to the airspace above the airport as any aircraft, and have the same rights to land on the airport. Imagine if we were requesting to open a helicopter flight school, would anyone question our request to land a helicopter on the airfield? In all likelyhood, no. And why would they. Just because our parachutes lack engines, it makes them no less an aeronautical activity than flying an aircraft. That's not our opinion, that's the FAA's position.

We understand that we represent something new and unknown to the majority of the aviation community. We have made every effort to communicate and educate those that we have worked with in the LAA to provide as much information as possible. The airport manager has an eight page mission statement we provided in August of 2008 and a 40+ page proposal to the LAA we provided in November 2008. By all means, I would encourage anyone that wants to learn more about who we are and what we propose to offer, stop by the terminal building and ask to see our information.

The other thing I would like to offer here is that we are not making any demands of the LAA regarding where we want to land, we simply want to work with the LAA to select the most viable landing areas to satisfy all involved. We are simply waiting for the LAA to say "okay, we agree you have a right to land here, let's work together to find a solution that serves the best interest of all involved here." The key word is "together". For lack of a better term, when it comes to drop zones and skydiving operations, based on our experience and positions, my wife and I are considered to be industry "experts". As such, all we want is to be included in the decision making process. If the LAA wants to say "no, landing in front of the terminal building is not possible". We want them to justify why. Simply saying "it's unsafe" is not enough. We, and subsequently the FAA would need more than that. We know from first hand experience that landing in an area such as what is outlined in your picture is an ideal location. It's done like that all across the country. Not wanting us to land there as a personal preference, or denying us based on the broad stoke of "safety concerns" goes against the federal grant assurances that airports such as Laconia Municipal Airport agree to abide by when accepting federal funding. To deny us landing there, just cause needs to be shown, and to be fair, based on our industry experience, it simply does not exist.

We genuinely respect your position Mr. Hemmel, but the truth is, you know very little about us or the minimal effect we will have on airport operations. Your opinions are based on common misconceptions of skydiving. Your question "do YOU want people jumping out of planes above YOUR home?" is an accurate example of that. The truth is that the neighbors of the airport are hundreds, if not a thousand times more likely to have a plane crash into their home than they ever would have a skydiver. Yet, the intent of your question (and entire first post) was to create an uninformed anxiety amongst the public to back your presumed position against us. If you truly want to understand how little intrusion our proposed operation will have on you and any other surrounding aircraft operator or resident, I would invite you to meet us for lunch prior to the next LAA meeting we attend. We would be happy to explain in detail to you, or to anyone interested, the specifics of our operational proposals. If it were of that sincere an interest to the community, we would arrange to do a community open house presentation for the residents of Laconia and Gilford. We offered to do that in August 2008, but were told that a "town hall" forum like that did not exist. If you, or anyone can find a location for us to hold the meeting, we would be happy to oblige you and hold a "town hall" style meeting for the community to address our request and their concerns.

We really do want the community to embrace our efforts, and are willing to share as much information as requested to set people's minds at ease.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom Noonan
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Old 01-16-2009, 05:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyguy View Post
Actually weekend traffic can run a LOT higher- look at the jets in this weekend photo!

This is the crux of the problem. No one I know of has any objections to skydiving per se- it's relatively safe. It's that the operators insist that they must drift down into the middle of this air traffic and land directly on the airport- between the active runaway and an active taxiway. In fact, when the wind is out of the southwest, they actually propose drifting across the active runway!

Beats me why they can't jump into a nearby field and ferry their clients back.

Here's a view that may help clear things up:

So what happens when a plane wants to either takeoff or land when the jump plane is in the air ? And on a summer weekend, which is when their business would be the busiest, what kind of hourly rate of takeoffs / landings does Laconia typically have ? Lastly what kind of space is required for the jump landing area and what, if anything suitable, is available nearby ?

BTW -sounds like fun. I may have to go visit that simulated sky dive place in Nashua (SkyVenture) and get "tuned up".
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:20 PM   #16
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Default Skydive Laconia

Hi Mee-n-Mac,

I'll see if I can answer the questions in the order they were asked:

There is no reason other aircraft can't depart or land while the skydiving aircraft is climbing to altitude.

Our hourly rate of take offs and landings, at peak times, would be 2 per hour. Possibly 2.5, but that's highly unlikely.

I believe someone quoted in an above post that Laconia has 97 operations per day during peak weekends.

Our primary preference for landing would be one of the small (approximately) 100x100ft postage stamp sized grass areas out in front of the hangars. Specifically, whatever hangar we end up leasing or buying. Not the grass between the runway and taxiways. Our parachutes are that accurate, and we only expect at most 4-6 parachutes in the air at any one time, for a duration of 5-7 minutes, twice an hour or so.

The question if anything is suitable near by is a valid one, and it's a two part answer. The first half of the answer is that if there was a location off the airfield available, it would require at a minimum, a commercial vehicle, a driver, fuel and insurance, thereby increasing the fixed and variable costs per skydive disproportionately high. It's simply not economically feasible to expect to have to shuttle hundreds of people back and forth all season. Would a flight school be able to survive economically if they could take off from Laconia, but had to land at a farm and shuttle the students back by car? People may agree or disagree with this, but it is a legitimate business concern of any aviation business. The second part of the explanation is a little more complicated. The Laconia Municipal Airport accepts federal funding, and as such is bound by federal funding grant assurances. The federal funding is the reason the airport is the gem that it is. The FAA has gone to great lengths to spell out the fact that if an airport such as this accepts federal funding, they are required to accommodate all aeronautical activities, and they clearly spell it out in an Advisory Circular, that they consider skydiving to be an aeronautical activity. My wife and I pay federal taxes just like everyone else, and as such our federal tax dollars go in part to fund the Laconia Municipal Airport. We have a federally protected right to land our parachutes on the airport, and we are simply pursuing our rights to do so.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyguy View Post
... this proposal is similar to placing a skate park next to RT93. ...
I think it's more like putting a skate park in the -median- of I93 with access only through the travel lanes.

Scary!
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:05 PM   #18
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Isn't there a large, vacant, and mostly unused parking lot directly across Route 11 from the Laconia Airport. You know, the p-lot with the water tower and the NH State liquor store. It's just a short jog back across the road from the p-lot to the hanger area like a quarter mile or so. Skydiver landing on an asphalt p-lot....at least you'll be able to find a parking spot, easy!
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:06 PM   #19
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Arrow Convience more than safety I'd guess

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I think it's more like putting a skate park in the -median- of I93 with access only through the travel lanes.

Scary!
Only if you're allowing vehicular traffic when the skaters cross. We do have the concept called traffic lights and that's the point of my earlier questions. I suspect (don't know) that departures and landings are on hold while divers are in the air above the airport. The question isn't so much one of safety but one of convience. Are sky divers required to get permission from the tower prior to leaving the plane, can they be told to hold while other traffic clears or is that other traffic told to hold until those in the air are on the ground ?
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Old 01-16-2009, 08:49 PM   #20
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Default Why Laconia?

Your business would support only the tandem jumping and not other jumpers?
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:16 PM   #21
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Default Please Forgive Me....

I have lived here, year round, for over fifteen years and have been a big fan of Mr. Hemmel. On more than one occasion, in fact, I have jumped up and opened both the front and back doors at the camp, on Paugus Bay, to let him fly through taking his wonderful photos.... However,.. with this thread, I am very disappointed with his attempt to put such a negative spin on Mr. and Mrs. Noonan's business project here, especially while so infant in it's process!

Tell me something Bill, how many folks on the board at the time of your licensing, were there that were of the opinion that a pilot and photographer could not possibly fly over Lake Winnipesaukee at a safe altitude of less than 125000 feet?

Like I said, forgive me.
Just my $2.00 worth, they tell me things are going Up and hopefully Forward....
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Old 01-16-2009, 09:26 PM   #22
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Default Skydive Laconia

Hi Mee-n-Mac,

Advisory notifications are given via radio on a common traffic frequency and air traffic control prior to taxi, prior to take off, prior to exit and following exit. Our freefall altitudes and parachute flight patterns do not require the holding of other aircraft, departing or landing.

Pilot's of skydiving aircraft are not required to request permission to drop jumpers. They do however remain in radio contact with air trafic control and monitor the local frequency, and can and do hold jumpers from time to time if other aircraft are approaching.

To answer the other poster's question:

While the location and tourist nature of the area lends itself to a large volume of projected tandem skydives being made. We will also welcome experienced licensed skydivers to skydive with us. Regarding student training, from the beginning one of our primary goals was to provide the local community the opportunity to share our passion for skydiving and offer training for skydiving licenses. With that said, student training will be done by appointment and we will in all likelyhood schedule such training for general aviation's "non peak" times.

I hope that explains our intent.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom Noonan
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:07 PM   #23
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Thank you Tom, you have been quite gracious with your answers. I have found on here alot (NOT EVERYONE) that some of these people just like anywhere else in the world just need something to pi## and Moan about. They probably other then FlyGuy have never flown out of Laconia, or ever even skydived before. I have jumped up in Moultonboro Airport 12 years ago (tantum) from 13k and cannot recall how long it took from actual jumping to feet on the ground, but I know it wasn't very long, so even if a plane had to wait for a diver to land, how long would they be inconvenienced 4-5 minutes?
I wish you the best of luck and WHEN you open I'll see you in August for a 52nd Birthday jump.
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:06 AM   #24
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What's the usual altitude for jumping out the door up above Laconia Airport. and how long before you touch the ground? What shape and color are the parachutes? Can the parachutes be steered?
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:41 AM   #25
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It would be more dangerous to have parachutists land near to the airport than on the airport. Airplanes fly landing patterns alongside the airport not over the airport. And while they're doing that their eyes are often looking at the airport more then straight ahead. The best place to parachute into is the center of the airport.

I've landed at many airports that have extensive parachute activity and never found it to be a problem. I have never jumped out of an airplane though and will never be a customer of the Noonans.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:47 AM   #26
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Default Some video

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
What's the usual altitude for jumping out the door up above Laconia Airport. and how long before you touch the ground? What shape and color are the parachutes? Can the parachutes be steered?
Less, This video isn't Mrs.SteveA, but the same dive operator.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymucaOXui90

They jump from about 10K ', 40 second free fall, 5 minuet canopy ride.

What amazed me watching from the ground was how well they co-ordinated the whole event. They are a husband and wife team. She goes out just before the tandem, and starts the still pics and video. ( All from a helmet cameras with bite switches to control the cams)

We waited at the landing area and they steered right into it with no problem even though it was fairly windy that day.

They put together the video within 10 minuets of landing and the boss had her choice of music. Very professional operation all around.

I still wouldn't do it But it came off as a classy operation and a safe thing to try.

I for one hope they get it approved.
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:30 PM   #27
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Default Nothing personal

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... with this thread, I am very disappointed with his attempt to put such a negative spin on Mr. and Mrs. Noonan's business project here, especially while so infant in it's process!Terry
Absolutely not true. I don't know them, I have no financial interest in any airport business, and I don't care if they start a business or not. I think skydiving is one of the "funnest" things you can do in the air with your clothes on. I did it before either Noonan was born.

I don't dispute it's recreational value. I don't consider it unsafe per se. I don't envision any skydivers "crashing through houses" in the area. My initial question was intended only to get an active thread going- apparently that part worked.

I DO care if they want to willingly endanger both their customers and our local air traffic, which I believe will occur if they try to land on airport. There is a reason we don't let pedestrians cross RT. 93.

(BTW- Thanks for opening the rear door! )
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:40 PM   #28
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... so even if a plane had to wait for a diver to land, how long would they be inconvenienced 4-5 minutes?.
Many of the private jets you see at Laconia are chartered for $3,000-$3,500 per hour. If it was your charter, how long would you want to wait?

My own aircraft fees run slightly under $200/hour. Should I be forced to spend $20 waiting for someone else to land?
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:11 PM   #29
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Default Skydive Laconia

"I DO care if they want to willingly endanger both their customers and our local air traffic, which I believe will occur if they try to land on airport"

Mr. Hemmel,

I am a professional skydiver. This is what I do for a living. To even suggest the idea that our business is going to "willingly endanger" both our customers and our local air traffic, is absurd. We can provide testimony from airline and corporate pilots experienced with skydiving operations that would disagree with your opinion entirely. (We have provided this testimony to the LAA).

Regarding wait times of other aircraft, our operation will place no more or less wait time restrictions on departing or approaching aircraft than any other aircraft on the airfield. A $3500/hr Cessna Citation charter will have the same wait time waiting for your Aerial Photography flight to taxi/take off as our aircraft. That is the extent of the inconvenience the local air traffic will be forced to endure from our presence. While we are actually skydiving (in freefall or under parachute), it is normal practice for other aircraft operations to continue uninterupted.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom Noonan
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:46 PM   #30
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This appears to be a discussion among professionals and perhaps should be taken offline. I don't think that any of us has the expertize to understand the air traffic control ramifications that would be experienced with these types of occurances. Am I wrong?
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:56 PM   #31
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If those who are qualified deem it safe (and that's not me), it seems to me that this is a great opportunity/attraction for the area. Sorry, Flyguy, but the relatively modest inconvenience of greater utilization of the airport shouldn't bear on the answer in this case. In fact, isn't greater utilization a good thing in the long run?
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:29 PM   #32
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Default Maybe a good idea

I have flown, as a pilot, in and out of Laconia. There is no control tower at Laconia Airport that clears airplanes to land or take off. The aircraft operating in the area communicate on a common air traffic frequency. It works quite well at smaller airports such as Laconia.

I think that this business may be a good idea and the Noonans seem to be quite experienced, as well as willing to work with the local community. It is no secret that we can use additional people spending money in the area and supporting local businesses. You only have to drive down Union Avenue to see all of the vacant commercial space for rent to realize that we have a problem. Most small local businesses have 16 weeks to make enough money to carry them for the whole year.

I am concerned about the interaction of pilots and skydivers at an uncontrolled airport. If I am landing, or departing, in an airplane I want to be confident that a skydiver, even if he is blown off course, will not suddenly appear in front of me. If that is not a problem then I think that this may be a great idea for the community.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:59 PM   #33
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Default Not just a photographer..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whimsey View Post
If those who are qualified deem it safe (and that's not me), it seems to me that this is a great opportunity/attraction for the area. Sorry, Flyguy, but the relatively modest inconvenience of greater utilization of the airport shouldn't bear on the answer in this case. In fact, isn't greater utilization a good thing in the long run?
You're right, Whimsey. Greater utilization would be a good thing, and the inconvenience isn't a serious issue (unless it's your ox that's being gored!) It would be a great idea -except for the landing on the airport part.

FYI- Having been FAA certified and actively worked as both an Air Traffic Controller and an Airline Transport Pilot, I have some experience other than just photography. I have also held a Commercial Helicopter and Flight Instructor ratings. Stopped keeping track of my flight time at around 6,000 hours on the early '90's. I therefore do consider myself qualified in this area, and believe that this "we have to land on the airport" approach will lead to decreased airspace safety. That's my qualified opinion based on both years of experience and familiarity with Laconia air traffic. I'm stickin' to it.
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:19 PM   #34
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Dear Mr and Ms Noonan,

I am 125% behind you and am looking forward to the complete success of your business at the Laconia Municipal Airport.
Regards, Terry

http://www.uspa.org/AboutSkydiving/F...1/Default.aspx
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:56 PM   #35
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Talking I have a prospectiive jumper for you



Hi, welcome to the board. I think you will find that FLL will be your first jumper as he is always flying off the handle about something. Good luck.
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Old 01-21-2009, 01:37 PM   #36
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How about operating out of Moultonboro airport when Laconia is having busy weekends? Ever thought of "SkyDive Plymouth?" You'd get all the PSU students, with a fresh crop of new arrivals every year...
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:10 PM   #37
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Default Good Luck

I along with many other wish the Noonan's the best of luck with their business. As with most new idea's and business opportunities, there will be some who are out to sabotage the success. I for one would like to invite any and all new businesses to open in NH, God knows we could use the revenue. The Noonans will go through all of the strict FAA guidelines and the insurance evaluations prior to being allowed to open the business. And for me that is enough. I can only hope they won't get scared off before seeing their dream through, by overzealous folks with nothing better to do then make their lives difficult. I think it would be great to have an attraction like this over Winnie, and it would give my visitors an additional activity when they visit. My wife and I skydived in Las Vegas a few years ago. and although she will never partake again, we recommend it to everyone we know. Heck, I just might do it again, if it's available in NH. Good luck and I hope to meet you both when you get back to the Granite state.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:39 PM   #38
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Default Skydive Laconia

Hi CanisLupusArctos,

That's a good question. My wife and I have had a few discussions about the potential high traffic days at the airport during NASCAR weekends. If as we have been told, the NASCAR weekends bring in a particularly large number of aircraft for the event, we will in all likelyhood choose to close our operation at Laconia Municipal Airport for part or all of that first NASCAR weekend so that we can accurately assess the increase in air traffic.

If after assessing the air traffic that first NASCAR weekend, we felt that we could safely interact with the other air traffic despite the increase in aircraft, then we would consider operating on future NASCAR weekends, even if at a reduced rate. Or, if after the first NASCAR weekend we concluded that the increase in air traffic was not conducive to safely accommodating our skydiving operation, we would probably plan to just start taking those weekends off and attending the races ourselves.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:19 PM   #39
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This idea seems to be more well thought out than I had at first believed (01-16-2009 05:27 PM).

Most of the potential for conflict can be avoided by common sense and planning. For instance, not jumping the day before a race and the day after or at other times the airport is predicted to be busy.

Good luck to all involved.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:49 PM   #40
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Default Wow!

It's disappointing to read this thread where some people are posting personal opinions to discredit an idea they just don't agree with or understand. It seems to me that the Noonan's would know the safety and regulations associated with the proposal. It would also seem that the proposal is not without precedent. I am sure hundreds of operations at similar airports take place safely all over the country. I'll probably never be a client but I welcome them to the area nonetheless. They seem like intelligent careful business operators. Good Luck with your proposal and hopefully you can educate the public in the process.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:39 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanisLupusArctos View Post
How about operating out of Moultonboro airport when Laconia is having busy weekends? Ever thought of "SkyDive Plymouth?" You'd get all the PSU students, with a fresh crop of new arrivals every year...
Have they ceased the skydiving ops at Moultonboro? I know they were doing sightseeing and skydiving there a few years ago. I like to watch it but not interested in jumping again. When I did it in 1960 in PA there were no tandem jumps. The way I see it is if you can build it 'They will come'. The nearest decent size op is now in Lebanon, Maine.
Once a suitable landing area is established at LCI the only problems I would foresee would be NORDO traffic in or transiting the area. Don't know if there is much there but there is some in the Skyhaven area.
I used to fly into White Mountain Apt a lot (No Conway) and we had no problems with all the glider traffic back then - seems to me it's about the same.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:22 PM   #42
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Default Skydive Laconia

Hi Seeker,

Thank you for your comment on the possibility of no radio flights in the area.

If we are given permission to operate at LCI, we intend to file a daily NOTAM of skydiving operations over LCI whenever we are operating.

As an added safety measure, before any skydiver exits an aircraft, a spotter (called a Load Organizer, or LO) always scans the surrounding area below for any approaching traffic. If the LO spots an aircraft in close proximity, he or she can elect to hold skydivers in the aircraft until the aircraft in question is no longer in the area.

Between filing daily NOTAMs and using an LO in flight, skydiving operations around the country peacefully coexist with NORDO traffic.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 01-23-2009, 02:55 AM   #43
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Cool.

With a bit of training, you'll be soaring through the White Mtns.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_...=&fullscreen=1
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:26 PM   #44
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Default Good info

Tom,
I would like to wish both you and your wife nothing but the best of luck. We are all seeing the true value of this forum when information can be shared like this, both pro and con. You have taken on all questions and responded in a professional and forthright manner. My friends and I have all exchanged the "I-will-if-you-wills" and are hoping things work out. Two have decided to wait for it to come out on Wii. Aside from participating I think it would be fun on a nice summer day to grab an ice cream from Sawyers or a sandwich from Waldo Peppers and spend some time watching the excitement.
You have been very good answering technical and procedural questions and I feel very comfortable with your experience and knowledge. Its just that if you have been following this forum, and it appears you have, you may be aware of some other merchants and the antics they have pulled when having a bad day. There is the bookstore that body slammed a child, a pizza shop that swept the floor and put it in a nice lady's sub and the computer shop that replaced a hard drive with a gerbil. (I am not sure on that one I might have lost focus). I guess what my question is what do YOU do on a bad day? What if we go through all that you have to go through to make a jump and all seems fine. We take off and I get tense, nervous, it turns out I'm a thrasher or dooms sayer, or worse, a wetter. You are already having a bad day so I get ejected sans chute. On the way down I hear you yelling "Please visit our gift shooooooooppe.........." Could you at least dump me over the lake?
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:57 PM   #45
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Default Skydive Laconia

"Two have decided to wait for it to come out on Wii."

That is one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.

Hi Pontoon Goon,

You've posed a really interesting question.

I think the primary difference you will see in our operation regarding work ethic, versus say a pizza shop employee, is the passion that we have for what we do. Most employees and even alot of business owners may enjoy thier job, but it is still a job. Given the option to work or do something else they enjoy doing, most people will opt to do something else. We are very fortunate in that our jobs are our passion.

The other part of the answer has to do with the responsibility of being a skydiving instructor. When we work with skydiving students, 100% of thier well being is in our hands, similar to a CFI. It is an awesome responsibility and one we take very very seriously. Outside of this business venture proposal, I am the Tandem Training Program Director for one of the largest tandem equipment manufacturers in the world (located in Orlando, FL). I am responsible for the continuing education and training standards of thousands of tandem instructors around the globe. I say this only to offer to the readers that my professional skydiving career is based in large part on my ability to effectively communicate safety protocols and training methods to others.

To answer your other question about potential student panic, one of the things that we point out in the beginning of all our training is that you can change your mind about skydiving right up until you leave the plane. You can go through the entire pre jump training, climb in the plane and go all the way up in the plane ride, and still have the opportunity to change your mind. After your instructor has you hooked up and your exit time is near, they will ask you "Are you ready to skydive?". If the answer is "No". They will bring you back down in the plane, no questions asked. No pressure, no problem. As for any possibilities of a student not performing well in freefall, we train everyone to participate as fully as possible on their first skydive from body positions to even opening the parachute. If a student forgets everything they have learned or panics when they exit the plane, the tandem instructor is trained to handle any and all occurances such as that calmy and professionally. Part of my job as Tandem Training Program Director is that I am the first tandem passenger that my tandem instructor candidates take skydiving during their training courses, so I can speak from first hand experience that when an instructor graduates our tandem training course, they are prepared to handle whatever they encounter in a calm, professional manner.

We look forward to your visit and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and offer your support. We also encourage anyone that is interested in what we do to stop by and visit us, even if just to hang out, watch the parachutes land and let us talk your ears off about anything and everything skydiving related.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 01-24-2009, 11:52 AM   #46
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By way of introduction, my name is Vincent Dooley. My uncle, Fenton Dooley, was originally from the New Haven CT area. He returned to the place he loved as a child and spent the last years of his life on Cotton Hill (Gilford) where he diligently practiced law and mentored future lawyers until his death in 1996.

Fenton was one of seven children. Each summer our extended family would trek up to the hill where we would meet cousins from far away places to play in your exotic paradise. I have other family members in the Laconia/Gilford area who either take up summer residence each year or reside in the area full time. I do not know what opinions they may have on this subject and I am not speaking for them.

I have been an avid skydiver since 1992. During those years, I have travelled extensively and made skydives in many different places and under many different conditions. While my skydiving resume is not as impressive as Tom Noonen's, I have known him for many years. He is an extremely competent skydiver.

Tom is also the director of tandem training for Strong Enterprise. As a a certified FAA rigger, I am very familiar the tandem rigs developed and manufactured by its founder Ted Strong. While I have no desire to earn a living in that arduous fashion, I am nonetheless proud to hold the privilege to do so. Its proven record of safety speaks for itself.

Skydiving and air travel have been living in relative harmony for many years. There are a number of drop zones all over the country that are in the flight paths of airports with much higher volume than Laconia. More than anyone, skydivers recognize the obvious fact that objects in the physical universe do collide. All those involved in the aviation industry do our best to avoid being one of those objects.

Many of my family members think I am nuts for having followed the path I have chosen. They still would like to see me every now and then. It would be a privilege for me to skydive in this area and will cherish the memory. Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion.

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Old 01-24-2009, 08:42 PM   #47
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Tom, I'm starting to think that Flyguy might have done you a favor by posting his resistance to your business. You've done a great job of defending yourself and probably earned more than a few converts. And look at all the exposure your getting. You're probably increasing your potential customer base with each response. It's all good, man.

For all those who have never tried and insist they never will, I would encourage you to look a little deeper inside yourself. When it's all said and done it will be one of the most exciting things you will ever experience. I think it should be one everyone's bucket list. I found that when I got out on the wing it really wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. At that altitude the ground is kind of an obscure thing and not so scary. It's easier than jumping off a high bridge into the water. You don't get that same knot in your gut. For me, anyway.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:58 PM   #48
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Default I've never been closer to doing it

Thanks Gatto Nero, I can't tell you how much this thread has helped me realize that this is something that I have always wanted to do. When I was 12 and climbing Chocoroa for the first time I got seperated from my older cousin who was leading us up. I climbed up on the opposite side of the trail to the top, climbing over rocks and leaping from rock top to rock top all the way hearing people's voices above me, knowing I was close to the top but just not quite there. I wasn't scared until I reached the top and looked down onto the wrong path that I had taken to reach the summit. I felt a sense of pride that day that I had really conquered that mountain. I have never had that feeling again, and would like to feel it once more. I think the Noonans can count me in as a tandem 1st timer this summer. 250 lbs., 6' 6'', 54 yrs old, good health, OK? I can lose 10 or 15 if it is needed before then.
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Old 01-28-2009, 12:38 PM   #49
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Hi Gatto Nero,

We are definitely thankful that we found this thread and forum, as it provides us a venue to provide the community with factual information regarding our Skydive Laconia proposal. The community response has been incredibly positive, and we thank you all for your posts and your emails offering your support, they are all very much appreciated.

We continue to respect Mr. Hemmel's opinion regarding our proposal, and wish him well in his pursuits. We hope that if/when we receive permission from the LAA to operate, that he will stop by and spend some time with us and get to know us and our operation.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:00 PM   #50
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Tom,

When do you expect to know more about the status of your proposal? Is there anything that we on the forum who support you can do to help?
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:18 PM   #51
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Default Gn....

He Dots his I's and crosses his T's, and I am more than positive if he needs any help from us, Tom will be in touch.
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:46 PM   #52
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Default Tragic tandem jump

According to this article, a tandem jump ended in tragedy, but it was the instructor who was in trouble; His trainee tandem jumper took over and landed the pair safely.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,486409,00.html

I feel sorry for the instructor, but a bit more comfortable about jumping.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:22 PM   #53
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Default Tragic Tandem Jump

Good afternoon all,

I got a phone call on Saturday around 4:45pm informing me that my friend and former coworker, had passed away on a tandem skydive, in all probability of a heart attack under his main parachute on a tandem jump. My wife and I have yet to make peace with the fact he is gone, but we take comfort in knowing that he died doing what he loved most in the world, skydiving.

Mary and I talked it over last night and we decided that we wanted to offer the winnipesaukee.com community some insight into the safety protocols that go into making a tandem skydive, in that hopes that it would provide some peace of mind to those in the community that may have questions stemming from this incident.

The first thing I would like to offer is that in order to qualify to become a tandem instructor, every candidate is required to go through an FAA Class III flight physical administered by an appropriately rated FAA Medical Examiner. This medical certificate is also required to be a Student Pilot' to pursue aircraft flight training, including solo training flights. The Class III is required to be kept current, meaning every three years it must be renewed if you are under 40 and every 2 years if you are over 40. In this case, the instructor did have a current FAA Class III medical certificate.

The second thing I would like to offer is that both the main and reserve parachutes are set to open in a "half brake" setting, so that if in the unlikely event the tandem instructor is rendered unable to control the parachute, it will sail to the ground in a slow, survivable speed. Both the main and reserve parachutes are also exceptionally large and docile parachutes, again, so that in the highly unlikely event no input is given once the parachute is open, the canopy will drift slowly to the ground.

The third safety protocol I would like to offer is that all tandem parachute systems are equipped with on board computers, called AADs. These Automatic Activation Devices are a secondary safety protocol, or "back up" if you will. In the highly unlikely event that a tandem instructor is unable to deploy the parachute once in freefall, the AAD unit will automatically release the reserve parachute at a predetermined altitude high enough to allow it to float to the ground once deployed.

With these three safety protocols in place, tandem passengers are protected from the highly unlikely event of a tandem instructor being rendered unable to do his (or her) job. I offer all of this information to the community to assure you all that your collective safety is our industry's number one priority and while no aeronautical activity can be made 100% risk free, there are multiple safety protocols in place to ensure that tandem passengers are not placed in any undue risk situations, even in highly uncommon scenarios such as what occurred this past weekend.

My wife and I continue to remain available to answer any and all skydiving specifics questions or concerns, but I hope you will all understand if we choose not go into specifics regarding the loss of our friend. General questions about the incident are fine, we just cannot in good faith, publicly discuss details of our friend's passing.

The tandem passenger that attempted CPR is truly a hero and despite the pain of our loss, we are comforted in the thought that in the last moments of our friend's life, he was cared for and not alone. Hopefully someday we will have the opportunity to meet the tandem student and thank him personally.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:46 PM   #54
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Default Curious...

This question may have been asked already, so if it has, I apologize...
The more I read this post, the more I am wanting to give this a try (some forum members would probably like for me to try it with no parachute) , as I have often thought about it. So, assuming you are up and running this summer, I am curious:
What type of cost is associated with a single jump?
Is a reservation required?
How much total time should be allowed? From arriving at the airport, thru leaving.
If you have a chance to answer, that would be great. I wish you folks well.
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Old 02-03-2009, 01:57 PM   #55
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Default Sorry for your loss

Tom & Mary:

Sorry for your loss.

Best wishes to you both, his friends, and his family.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:08 PM   #56
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To Tom, Mary and families

May wonderful memories of your friend help you celebrate his life, remind you of his love, and bring peace and healing to your hearts.

Terry
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Old 04-10-2009, 03:17 PM   #57
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Default What's the deal?

Tom,

How are your approvals coming. Will you be opening up shop soon?
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:14 PM   #58
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Hi Gatto Nero,

Thank you for your reply. I have been meaning to get back on here and post an update. My wife and I are finishing up preparing some documentation that the LAA has requested and we plan to attend the May 21st, 2009 LAA meeting to be available for any Q&A that they may have.

We invite any and all that would like to attend to come down and meet us. We will be bringing with us some sample videos and photos of some skydives that we have made. We look forward to meeting everyone and answering any questions that you might have.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom

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Old 04-11-2009, 09:59 AM   #59
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And if all goes well at that meeting, when will you be starting operations?
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Old 05-04-2009, 04:21 PM   #60
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Hi Gatto Nero,

Please forgive the delay in response, I was out of the country conducting a skydiving course for the Ecuadorian Air Force Special Forces. Just got back to the US.

If everything goes well at the May meeting, and the LAA gives us the go ahead, we would like to open our doors for the Fourth of July weekend, Friday July 3rd, 2009. If we get a favorable decision, it will still take us a few weeks to get ready and with a NASCAR event at the end on June, we figured that since we waited this long, an extra week wouldn't be the end of the world. As we originally planned, we'll probably just sit at the airport and count planes in and out during the NASCAR event to get an idea of the "busy season" at the airport.

We hope you will all be able to make it to the meeting in May so that you can meet us and see some of our promotional material.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:14 PM   #61
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Default Age Limit?

I wish the Noonans all the luck in the world with their ambitious venture. What an exciting addition to the resources available to residents and tourists in the Lakes Region.

I wonder if there is an age limit to the tandem skydive activity? I am a reasonably heatlthy male in his mid sixties who has never skydived. Eligible?
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:18 PM   #62
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Default Best Wishes

I also wish the Noonan's the best of wishes in their adventure. I do appreciate that they respond to the members concerns. Based on the responses they have provided, I really believe they are truly committed to their work (of skydiving!!). I for one, would never think of doing such a thing, but seriously, after reading all of these posts......I really kind of want too!

To the Noonans....The Best of Luck to you......who knows I may meet you sometime....in the air!
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:08 AM   #63
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Default YIKES! Skydiver & airplane video

If you haven't yet got the idea of the potential problems this proposal raises- and it seems some of you haven't- take a peek at this video. This skydiver was also jumping directly over an airport.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:47 AM   #64
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Default not that I discount your point

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyguy View Post
If you haven't yet got the idea of the potential problems this proposal raises- and it seems some of you haven't- take a peek at this video. This skydiver was also jumping directly over an airport.
But I can get hit crossing the street by an oncoming car as well. Yes this is the increased risk of skydiving. Everything can be dangerous in anyway you want it to be.
Do not get me wrong Skydying is one of those risks that you DO NOT have to take, but like with anything if you choose to do an activity there can be consequences
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:41 PM   #65
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Hi Skisox24,

The minimum age limit for tandem skydiving is 18 years of age. There is no maximum age limit for tandem students. Just this past Saturday, I had the honor of taking a retired member of the 82nd Airborne on a tandem skydive for his 85th birthday. He jumped into France during WWII, and since turning 80 years old, got back into skydiving and has gone on to make over 100 tandem skydives around the country.

Hi Flyguy,

Please forgive me for not reiterating everything that I have already posted earlier in this thread about the potential for skydiver/aircraft mid air collisions. You have your opinion, we respect it and we don't expect it to change.

Hi AC2717,

Thank you for your response. One of the most positive outcomes of this this thread is that it shows that the community as a whole is supportive and wants to judge the situation based on the facts. It really has been a pleasure communicating with everyone and we look forward to meeting you all in the near future.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:36 PM   #66
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Default $$$

Hope all goes well, and you folks are up and running this summer.
I've always wanted to try this, although must admit, when given the chance two years back, lacked the nerve. Maybe this year.
I'm very curious about what the cost will be.
Maybe it is not in your best interest to disclose this...I'm not sure.
But, if you don't mind...
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:02 PM   #67
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Hi sa_meredith,

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, we can't provide pricing information yet, as we can't finalize prices until we sign a hangar lease, and we don't want to sign a hangar lease until we get an approval.

As soon as we have some firm pricing information, we will post it here for everyone.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:09 PM   #68
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Default He'll be first in line!

I was so excited to come across this thread! My husband loves to skydive, but hasn't been able to in a few years. I really hope everything works out for you, Tom and Mary. My husband will be first in line...and MAYBE I'll go, too! Good luck to you!
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Old 05-05-2009, 04:15 PM   #69
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"Please forgive the delay in response, I was out of the country conducting a skydiving course for the Ecuadorian Air Force Special Forces."

....the Ecuadorian Air Force....does they even have any airplanes....or maybe just a couple old rusty Jeeps and a very reliable donkey named Blackie....ha-ha...only kidding...everyone has heard of the famous Ecuadorian Air Force...


Say, any chance of you running a winnipesaukee.com special....like a free skydive for the first five to reply, or something....and you give me some advance notice (wink-wink) for suggesting this brilliant advertising idea
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:35 PM   #70
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Hi fatlazyless,

The Ecuadorian Air Force conducts skydiving training out of a Hercules C-130 that they purchased from the United States and a Dehavilland Twin Otter that they purchased from Canada. The country's Air Force actually has a rather impressive array of aircraft that they operate, and the soldiers that I have worked with have all been professional operators that have an incredibly high code of conduct that they train by. I would invite anyone that wants to learn more about the history of the Ecuadorian Air Force to look up the group on Google or Wikipedia. They are an impressive group of aviators and skydivers and I am honored to be able to work with them.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:41 PM   #71
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Hi Jmo777,

Thank you for your support. We look forward to seeing you this summer.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:19 PM   #72
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Good Afternoon To All,

I will be attending the Thursday May 21st, 2009 Laconia Airport Authority (LAA) meeting in hopes of receiving an approval for our operation to begin. If any of you would like to attend the meeting to lend your support (or Mr. Hemmel, to reiterate your concerns), I would invite you all to attend the meeting.

The meeting is being held in the airport's main terminal building at 65 Aviation Drive, Gilford, NH and begins at 5:30pm.

If any of you have local businesses or work for local businesses, I would strongly encourage you to come down and show your support. The decision of the LAA to allow or deny us our federally protected right to operate on the Laconia Municipal Airport will have a significant effect on the local economy. An approval to operate will provide an increase in tourists to the area and will also extend the tourist season beyond Memorial Day to Labor Day. A denial by the LAA will result in a status quo effect on local tourism. It's your inns, restaurants, bars, grocery stores and gas stations that will lose out on additional tourist dollars generated by our operation if this ends up getting delayed further.

To be fair, we understand that despite all the evidence to support our cause, there are a handful of people that don't want us there and no amount of information or evidence will ever change that.

To that group all we can do is offer an apology for affecting their status quo but remind them that the $10,000,000+ a year that is allocated to the airport comes from tax payer dollars and that it is not "free money", it comes with federal obligations, and like us or not, we are one of those obligations. Our right to pursue a federally protected freedom is non-negotiable. We are pursuing a just cause and plan to see this through to it's logical conclusion.

That is what makes community input so vital. The decision made by the LAA will reach far beyond just the end of the runway......it will reach into your businesses, into your jobs and into your cash registers. This decision is as much about the community as it is about the airport.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:41 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoonans View Post
Good Afternoon To All,

I will be attending the Thursday May 21st, 2009 Laconia Airport Authority (LAA) meeting in hopes of receiving an approval for our operation to begin. If any of you would like to attend the meeting to lend your support (or Mr. Hemmel, to reiterate your concerns), I would invite you all to attend the meeting.

The meeting is being held in the airport's main terminal building at 65 Aviation Drive, Gilford, NH and begins at 5:30pm.

If any of you have local businesses or work for local businesses, I would strongly encourage you to come down and show your support. The decision of the LAA to allow or deny us our federally protected right to operate on the Laconia Municipal Airport will have a significant effect on the local economy. An approval to operate will provide an increase in tourists to the area and will also extend the tourist season beyond Memorial Day to Labor Day. A denial by the LAA will result in a status quo effect on local tourism. It's your inns, restaurants, bars, grocery stores and gas stations that will lose out on additional tourist dollars generated by our operation if this ends up getting delayed further.

To be fair, we understand that despite all the evidence to support our cause, there are a handful of people that don't want us there and no amount of information or evidence will ever change that.

To that group all we can do is offer an apology for affecting their status quo but remind them that the $10,000,000+ a year that is allocated to the airport comes from tax payer dollars and that it is not "free money", it comes with federal obligations, and like us or not, we are one of those obligations. Our right to pursue a federally protected freedom is non-negotiable. We are pursuing a just cause and plan to see this through to it's logical conclusion.

That is what makes community input so vital. The decision made by the LAA will reach far beyond just the end of the runway......it will reach into your businesses, into your jobs and into your cash registers. This decision is as much about the community as it is about the airport.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
Tom, I wish TheNoonans the best of luck with your meeting with the LAA on the 21st of the month. This writer will not be able to attend, but would love to be there for your support and to meet you. You seem to have been very honest with all us with your replies here on this thread and I for one thank you for it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:57 PM   #74
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As I understand, the Laconia Airport which is totally located in Gilford, NH, does not get any scheduled commercial flights, what-so-ever, from anywhere like Boston, New York, or Burlington, Vermont, Bangor, Maine or points between. Every plane that lands there is a private, non-scheduled flight........period(!).

That tells me that the airport capacity must be very under-utilized. I know that I do not see much airplane traffic, day or night, weekend or weekday, and I have a pretty good view out to Mt Gunstock and the southern flight-way approach to the runway. Maybe once or twice/day, tops, I may see a small jet line up for an approach from the south in the summer months. From Columbus Day to Memorial Day, October to May, the long off-season, the airport seems to be as quiet as a very quiet morgue.

As I recall, Vice President Dan Quayle landed there in March, 1992, for a ski weekend. Since then, not much has been happening at the Laconia Airport, so I say....... why the heck not say yes to skydiving.....nothing ventured.....nothing gained....and right now...nothing much is being ventured at the airport.....so Skydive-Laconia should be given the big green light with a big long, red, welcome carpet, all rolled out to their plane.
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Old 05-18-2009, 06:04 PM   #75
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I spend every summer weekend at the end of the runway. I can't imagine traffic will be a concern for the Noonans. But i hope their plane isn't too noisy, might disturb my afternoon nap.

Just don't drop one of those skydivers on my boat.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:05 PM   #76
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We can't be there either but good luck.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:39 PM   #77
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Default We Are Getting To Know The Noonans....

From what I can see, we need more treasures here anyway! Best of luck, you two!
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:30 AM   #78
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Wow. Sounds great. Like another Hannafords on a Saturday afternoon.....
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:41 AM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoonans View Post
The decision of the LAA to allow or deny us our federally protected right to operate on the Laconia Municipal Airport will have a significant effect on the local economy.
No one is denying their ďfederally protected rightĒ to use the airport. We are attempting to deny them the opportunity to deliberately inconvenience and endanger the rest of the air traffic solely for financial gain. No one objects if they use the facilities and land off-airport. Itís the Noonans who insist they canít make money if they do it properly.

Allowing skydivers at Laconia WILL have a significant effect on the local economy, however. It will drive away many current visitors and airport customers who spend thousands of dollars every weekend in fuel, rental cars, hotels, meals, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoonans View Post
An approval to operate will provide an increase in tourists to the area and will also extend the tourist season beyond Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Ah, címon Tom. We werenít born yesterday. One tiny off road business will have no significant effect on either the local economy or the length of the tourist season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoonans View Post
... the $10,000,000+ a year that is allocated to the airport comes from tax payer dollars
Um, $10M/year? Iím sure the airport commission would love to find out that was true! FYI, the Laconia airport is self-supporting. It does receive (infrequent) grants from the federal government for navaid upgrades, runway resurfacing and other maintenance, but it does NOT receive anything like 10 million dollars per year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoonans View Post
Our right to pursue a federally protected freedom is non-negotiable. We are pursuing a just cause and plan to see this through to it's logical conclusion.

A logical conclusion will change your business plans, I hope.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:36 AM   #80
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Good morning Mr. Hemmel,

I'll try my best to address your statements:

You wrote: "We are attempting to deny them the opportunity to deliberately inconvenience and endanger the rest of the air traffic solely for financial gain."

What research have you personally done to validate that statement? You posted a video you found online.

Have you read about the two small aircraft that just collided off of Long Beach Airport. One was a Cessna 172, should we ban 172s from Laconia Municipal Airport?

The truth that you seem so reluctant to want to acknowlegde, is that the FAA has done considerable research on this topic and has come back time and time again stating that skydiving operations on local airports such as Laconia can be accommodated and safely integrated, including landing parachutes on the airfield. And that for an airport sponsor to deny such an operation based on "inconvenience and endangering" of other aircraft as you put it, isn't going to fly (forgive the pun) with the FAA. That's not my opinion, the FAA has stated it time and again when other small airports attempted to block skydiving operations in identical situations such as this. The FAA has clearly stated that there is an acceptable level of risk increase posed by any new business on an airfield and that the level of risk increase created by a skydiving operation is well within the realm of reasonableness. That's pretty much the FAA verbiage quoted.

You then wrote: "Ah, címon Tom. We werenít born yesterday. One tiny off road business will have no significant effect on either the local economy or the length of the tourist season."

Really? You know relatively nothing about us or our industry or what we are capable of doing, yet you are an authority on the size and scope of our business model and the effect we will have on the local economy?

The truth is that realistically, if Skydive Laconia is given the chance to operate without such bias, we will generate hundreds if not over 1000 additional tourists to the area each year as our business grows. That is 1000 additional tourists that otherwise would not have made the trip to Laconia. These trips will start in early April and continue through the end of October. Our "tiny little business" will have a significantly greater impact on the local economy than you give us credit for.

We also intend to hire local employees. That means new jobs. Part of our job offer project will be to actually train local residents to do all the jobs we are doing. That will open up a global employment network opportunity to local residents. Did you know that a busy year round dropzone in the western United States is currently looking for tandem instructors and is offering a salary of $70,000.00 a year? Imagine a local resident training under Skydive Laconia full or part time and three years from now be able to travel pretty much anywhere in the world and earn a decent living as a skydiving instructor. In this job market, I think that is a good thing. But as you would like to lead the community to believe, our tiny little business will have no effect on the local economy. Out of curiousity, how many jobs did you create last year for local residents?

You wrote: "Um, $10M/year? Iím sure the airport commission would love to find out that was true! FYI, the Laconia airport is self-supporting."

The $10,000,000 figure was provided to me by someone in attendance of a recent LAA meeting in my absence where federal funding was discussed. if that number is inflated or incorrect, then by all means, I would happily recant my figure in the presence of a more accurate figure. But dollar amount aside, the airport does accept federal funding, and regardless of the amount, it brings with it obligations to meet federal funding grant assurances.

I see two ironies here Mr. Hemmel. With all due respect, your latest title "Smoke and Mirrors" is a perfect example of everything you have posted in this thread from your first post on. You have gone out of your way to give just enough scare tactic information without backing any of it up to try to create an uninformed anxiety amongst the masses. You accuse us of smoke and mirrors, yet your the one that is actually doing it. Ironic.

The second irony is that we had actually intended to bring business your way. If you had actually taken the time to sit down and talk to us like we offered, you would have come to understand how little, if any effect, our operation would have on the airport. But you have made it abundantly clear that you have no desire to understand us and you clearly don't want us there. So be it.

Despite not receiving the same in return, we continue to extend our respect to your views Mr. Hemmel, and wish you well with your continued attempts to thwart our progress.

To the rest of the community, we continue to appreciate your support and your willingness to consider the facts and judge the situation on it's own merits.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:41 AM   #81
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How about parachuting onto nearby, mostly unoccupied Timber Island, which is in Gilford and very close to the airport and also not in the line of approach. In the past, the airspace above Timber Island has been repeatedly used by an old yellow bi-plane to do aerial manuevers like dips-flips-stalls-recoveries......great to watch.

About 130 acres of Timber Island are classified 'in current use' by Gilford and pay little property tax, as well as having its' use controlled by a conservation easement. Is it possible that landing parachutists is an accepted use under the easement and could be welcome by the property owners?

Lots of luck with all the trees !

On second thought...how about landing on the unused parking lot down beyond the Gilford Lowes and the pizza restaurant....plenty open space down there....and then bicycle back to the airport. Didn't the British train parachutists to carry BSA folding bicycles in the war!

if they stop in for an occassional pizza & beer, then this could be a plan welcome by everyone including Flyguy Bill.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:52 AM   #82
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As I understand, the Laconia Airport which is totally located in Gilford, NH, does not get any scheduled commercial flights, what-so-ever, from anywhere like Boston, New York, or Burlington, Vermont, Bangor, Maine or points between. Every plane that lands there is a private, non-scheduled flight........period(!).

That tells me that the airport capacity must be very under-utilized. I know that I do not see much airplane traffic, day or night, weekend or weekday, and I have a pretty good view out to Mt Gunstock and the southern flight-way approach to the runway. Maybe once or twice/day, tops, I may see a small jet line up for an approach from the south in the summer months. From Columbus Day to Memorial Day, October to May, the long off-season, the airport seems to be as quiet as a very quiet morgue.

As I recall, Vice President Dan Quayle landed there in March, 1992, for a ski weekend. Since then, not much has been happening at the Laconia Airport, so I say....... why the heck not say yes to skydiving.....nothing ventured.....nothing gained....and right now...nothing much is being ventured at the airport.....so Skydive-Laconia should be given the big green light with a big long, red, welcome carpet, all rolled out to their plane.

LCI (Laconia airport) does get its fair share of traffic. Maybe not as much as Boston Logan, but it gets busy. According to the FAA records, 129 aircraft are based at the airport. For a 12-month period ending October 2008, Laconia airport averaged 97 operations (takeoff or landing) a day.

Also let’s not forget the 2 weekends a year NASCAR comes to town. During those weeks dozens of private jets invade Laconia and concord airports by racing teams, drivers, NASCAR officials, etc. Skydiving during those weekends is not a good idea.


Has anyone talked to the FAA about Air Traffic Control considerations? That area has a lot of traffic overflying to Boston from Montreal/Burlington area and Portland arrivals from the west. Both Jumptown Skydiving in Orange, MA and Skydive Pepperell in Pepperell, MA have letters of agreement with Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center for traffic advisory services and procedures for their operations.

If this plan is going to happen, I feel a lot more work than the Noonans are planning is needed.

Don't get me wrong, I with the Noonans all the best and hope they succede. These are just my concearns.
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:07 PM   #83
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Hi Fatlazyless,

Please forgive the repost, but to answer the question about alternate landing areas, we still stand by our original statement:

The question if anything is suitable near by is a valid one, and it's a two part answer. The first half of the answer is that if there was a location off the airfield available, it would require at a minimum, a commercial vehicle, a driver, fuel and insurance, thereby increasing the fixed and variable costs per skydive disproportionately high. It's simply not economically feasible to expect to have to shuttle hundreds of people back and forth all season. Would a flight school be able to survive economically if they could take off from Laconia, but had to land at a farm and shuttle the students back by car? People may agree or disagree with this, but it is a legitimate business concern of any aviation business. The second part of the explanation is a little more complicated. The Laconia Municipal Airport accepts federal funding, and as such is bound by federal funding grant assurances. The federal funding is the reason the airport is the gem that it is. The FAA has gone to great lengths to spell out the fact that if an airport such as this accepts federal funding, they are required to accommodate all aeronautical activities, and they clearly spell it out in an Advisory Circular, that they consider skydiving to be an aeronautical activity. My wife and I pay federal taxes just like everyone else, and as such our federal tax dollars go in part to fund the Laconia Municipal Airport. We have a federally protected right to land our parachutes on the airport, and we are simply pursuing our rights to do so.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:16 PM   #84
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Regarding the proposal to allow sky diving at Laconia airport while the runways are active, I am having a very hard time thinking that this can be safely accomplished.

I would fully support the proposal if the people jumping out of the plane where landing a safe distance away from the airport. However, mixing airplanes taking off or landing with people floating back to Earth sharing the same landing zone makes no sense to me.

It sounds to me like a fatal accident just waiting to happen.

I do not see this as a denial of personal freedom. People can jump out of planes and land in fields away from the airport. I see having the sky diving landing zone at the airport as something excessively risky. Far less risky acts are prohibited by law.

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Old 05-19-2009, 12:31 PM   #85
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Hi C-Duff,

I think I can address your questions, let me know if I can offer any additional info.

Regarding the 129 based aircraft and the 97 operations a day, I would say that those numbers aren't very high by comparison to the operating numbers of many other regional/municipal airports that safely accommodate skydiving. The truth is those numbers are not problematic at all.

Separately, it's pretty much an industry acknowledged short coming of our airport reporting system that annual number have a certain "acceptable" margin of error when reported. If the FAA were to park a lawn chair on the side of the runway for the season and count operations, not many people in the aviation industry would bet their paycheck on the actual numbers being remotely close to the reported ones. I have spent a beautiful sunny summer day sitting in the parking lot doing a similar ad hoc study, and unless there is a second "Laconia Municipal Airport" in the area I am not aware of, I would agree that 97 operations a day is a little high of a number.....

As for NASCAR weekends, we mentioned in an earlier post that we have no intention of operating the first NASCAR weekend so that we can sit back and monitor the traffic. We want to do our own research on the NASCAR traffic before making any decisions on jump operation during such a reportedly busy weekend. Worst case scenario, we voluntarily shut our doors that weekend and go to the races ourselves. As a side note, our intended parachute landings over the course of a season expect to be between 1000 and 3000. The Deland Municipal Airport in Florida receives all of the overflow jet traffic and small aircraft traffic for Daytona NASCAR weekends, and the dropzone there does 80,000 annual parachute jumps by comparison. They do not shut down during NASCAR weekends and have never had an issue with NASCAR related air traffic. With that said, it certainly is an issue that deserves detailed analysis, and we plan to do such analysis before we make any decisions on whether we choose to operate, even if at a reduced rate, during the NASCAR events.

Regarding the FAA. Yes, we have talked to the Portland, ME FSDO who has jurisdiction over LCI airspace. We have also talked to Boston Center ATC. A lot of them are actually former parachutists and understand exactly what we want to do. The other (better) half of Skydive Laconia, is my wife Mary and she is a graduate of Daniel Webster College and holds multiple aviation operations degrees and has run manifest for another local dropzone for many years. Between filing daily NOTAMS, filing a permanent one to go in the charts and using standard communication procedures between our jump pilot, other air traffic and local frequencies, our aircraft will have the same communication in place as other dropzones in the area. Forgive me if I defer the specifics of the communications to my wife, I prefer her to speak first person on it. FAA/ATC interaction is one of her primary functions.

If I can answer anything else, please let me know. I will direct Mary to this post and ask her to write up a more clear explanation of the ATC communications for our jump operation.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-19-2009, 12:50 PM   #86
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Hi Resident 2B,

Thank you for your response. If I can offer you my thoughts, they are that:

- In the last ten years, there were two skydiver/aircraft collisions midair. Both instances they were the skydiving aircraft and the skydiver that left the aircraft. That is over the course of approximately 20,000,000 skydives made over the last decade. According to NTSB statistics, there is an aircraft to aircraft collision mid air every ten days. (There was one just the other day in Long Beach, CA.)

Statistically you are far more likely to ever see an aircraft to aircraft collision over the airport than see an aircraft collide with a skydiver. Mr. Hemmel posted a pretty interesting video of a "near miss", so sure, it can happen, but statically it's beyond the realm of reasonable expectation to occur. (Although Mr. Hemmel would sincerely like you to believe otherwise.)

- As for landing off the airfield, industry experts, including those at the FAA consider landing on the airport to be safer than landing off of it. The reason is that if we are landing off of it, we are far more likely to be in somones pattern outside the airport. The safest place for us to get out is above the airport and land on the airfield.

- As far as it being a fatal accident waiting to happen, statistically speaking, you will be waiting a very very very long time for it to happen, if it happens ever at all. But what is also a statistical truth is that while we all wait for it to happen, numerous fatal midair aircraft to aircraft collisions will continue to occur over the skies that the FAA governs.

- When the federal government (the FAA) sets up a clearly defined process and expectation that leaves no ambiguity to it's purpose and an airport sponsor (in whole or in part) chooses to disregard their role and responsibility and act out of personal agenda or lack of investigation/education, then I would say that yes, that truly is a suppression of freedom. I am not inferring that has occured here. The LAA has yet to render any decision. If they render a refusal, then yes, that will be a clear case of discrimination and denial of a protected right to pursue an aeronautical activity on a federally funded airport.

Where this goes is entirely up to the LAA. It is our sincere hope that they have done their due diligence, gotten guidance from the NHDOT and Portland FSDO, and had a cite evaluation of LCI done as required by the FAA. If all of that has been done, then the acceptance of Skydive Laconia onto the airfield is the only just decision.

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:59 AM   #87
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To the Noonans-Good luck today with the LAA-my son is a junior in college and has wanted to skydive for awhile now...me, I think I'm too scared! But reading your informative posts here on the forum will help me make a wise decision about allowing my son to make a jump. Thanks for the information and good luck today!
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:10 AM   #88
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Default Best of Luck to the Noonans!

As a Commercial/Instrumented rated pilot and former Air Traffic Controller ( Class of '81 ) I think you are spot on with your plan to start a jump school at LCI. Not to say that jumping out of a perfectly good and running is my excitement of choice, I applaud those with the cajones to do so.
I do feel that your statements about thee impact on the local economy are somewhat overstated, but I totally agree that the impact on the airport operations will be minimal.
Welcome to the Lakes Region...sounds to me like your business plan is well thought out and viable. But don't look for me to be a client! Rather, I'll be the guy in the parking lot pointing out the jumpers to my grandchildren!
Just curious...what will you be using for a jump plane?
BTW, I am also a graduate of DWC, but I suspect a decade or 2 before Mrs. Noonan!!
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:35 AM   #89
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Default MORE Smoke & Mirrors...

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That is over the course of approximately 20,000,000 skydives made over the last decade.
That would be 2,000,000/year, or 4,479 per day, 365 days per year for ten years. WOW! Anyone who believes this, please send me money.

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Statistically you are far more likely to ever see an aircraft to aircraft collision over the airport than see an aircraft collide with a skydiver. Mr. Hemmel posted a pretty interesting video of a "near miss", so sure, it can happen, but statically it's beyond the realm of reasonable expectation to occur.
Very true, but then there are a LOT more aircraft than skydivers. While it may be a rare thing, it is common enough for someone to capture it on video. No doubt there are a few more that didn't get filmed. Let's not have any here. Land off-airport. Simple. Safe (but not profitable )

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The LAA has yet to render any decision. If they render a refusal, then yes, that will be a clear case of discrimination and denial of a protected right to pursue an aeronautical activity on a federally funded airport.
OR, it just might be a case of their being considerably more familiar with the local traffic, topography, weather, and other conditions and truly considering it to be unsafe.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:22 AM   #90
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That would be 2,000,000/year, or 4,479 per day, 365 days per year for ten years. WOW! Anyone who believes this, please send me money.
You don't think that is possible that worldwide in the last 10 years 20 million people have jumped out of planes? Tom is not stating that he did it, he is not even stating that statistic is in the USA only. I am not sure, nor do I really care about skydiving, but would certainly be interested to see where the data came from.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:34 AM   #91
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Good morning Mr. Hemmel,

You wrote:

"That would be 2,000,000/year, or 4,479 per day, 365 days per year for ten years. WOW! Anyone who believes this, please send me money."

Actually in the US it was approximately 2,200,000 skydives made in the United States alone in 2008. And the average for the better part of the last decade has been between 1.5 million and 2.5 million skydives per year in the US which brings us back to the approximate number of 20,000,000 skydives in ten years. Skydive City, located in Zephyrhills, Florida made 75,000 skydives over a 365 day calendar year in 2008. Skydive Deland made 80,000 skydives in 2008. (That's two dropzones out of 270 in the US) Our national governing organization, the United States Parachute Association (www.uspa.org) keeps records of all of this information, it's available for all to see. (Thank you for continuing to validate my comment about your use of smoke and mirrors, it also goes on to show how little you really know about us or our industry).

You wrote:

"Very true, but then there are a LOT more aircraft than skydivers."

Really? Out of the approximately 20,000,000 skydives made over a decade, there were only 2 incidents in ten years.......both skydivering aircraft and skydivers, and both of them only resulted in one fatality in that ten year span.

Or better, by your logic, let's reduce the number of aircraft operations allowed at LCI altogether. If there are more pilots having WAY more accidents, let's limit the number of pilots and planes we have in the air. How about that? Imagine getting a call from the airport saying "I'm sorry Mr. Hemmel, you can't fly a paying flight today. We have too many planes in the air right now and you know you said it yourself, more planes causes more accidents". In all seriousness, what you wrote sounds like it makes it okay to justify aircraft collisions which happen all the time, but you would lead people to believe that skydiver/aircraft collisions are the greatest threat to all mankind, yet they happen so infrequently, it happened twice in ten years out of approximately 20,000,000 skydives.

You wrote:

"Land off-airport. Simple. Safe (but not profitable)"

As long as the FAA continues to state that we have an equal access to the airport as you, then we intend to land on the airport. Not profitable to land off the airport? Mr. Hemmel, do you charge a fee for your service? Would either of the flight schools on LCI be able to stay in business if they had to ferry their students back from an off field landing area? If you want to try and paint us as mavericks who are willing to sacrifice your safety to make a profit, then you'd be better off bringing facts to the table. Problem is, there aren't any to support your claim, to the contrary, the FACTS actually refute your claims, hence the smoke and mirrors you are compelled to keep showing.

You wrote:

"OR, it just might be a case of their being considerably more familiar with the local traffic, topography, weather, and other conditions and truly considering it to be unsafe."

As familiar as they may be with the local traffic et al, they are equally as unfamiliar with modern skydiving. To make a truly informed decision, they must be both familiar with the area and familiar with our sport. That's why the FAA continues to state that they (the FAA) are the exclusive decision maker in airport safety questions such as this. Only they know both sides of the story.

And to further illustrate my point, I would like to offer you and the community something to consider. Mary and I offered twice to make a demo jump into LCI to give the board that first hand view of what they would be voting on. From filing the NOTAM, to planning the jump, to landing in a predetermined landing area, we offered (twice) at our own cost of about $1000, to bring a plane up and make a skydive and let them see first hand how little impact we would have on the airport. We offered to fully educate them on what it is that we want to do.

Both times we were denied. We were told that it is "simply not an option." Ironic, huh?

Blue skies to all and to all a good flight,

Tom
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:13 AM   #92
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Regarding the proposal to allow sky diving at Laconia airport while the runways are active, I am having a very hard time thinking that this can be safely accomplished.
Me too. But I'm not qualified to even hold an opinion. I've never observed the traffic at the airport (other than what I see when driving past it infrequently), and I've not seen any good video or statistics on the sort of landings that Skydive Laconia is proposing.

However, it appears that this is not an uncommon practice and is certainly not a new idea. If I had to place a bet on one side or the other, I would guess that it is much much safer than it sounds.

It would be nice if the people making the determinations on this actually put a moderate level of effort into their decisions and did not simply rely on their own speculations and assumptions.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:27 AM   #93
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Me too. But I'm not qualified to even hold an opinion. I've never observed the traffic at the airport (other than what I see when driving past it infrequently), and I've not seen any good video or statistics on the sort of landings that Skydive Laconia is proposing.

However, it appears that this is not an uncommon practice and is certainly not a new idea. If I had to place a bet on one side or the other, I would guess that it is much much safer than it sounds.

It would be nice if the people making the determinations on this actually put a moderate level of effort into their decisions and did not simply rely on their own speculations and assumptions.
Kind of like people kayaking in the Broads on a hot summer weekend isn't it?? Where's Evenstar??
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:21 PM   #94
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Well let me first say Good luck in getting this company off the ground ( yes the pun was intended haha)

I always thought I would Skydive for the first time down in sebastian Florida. From what I have heard it is one of the best in the country to go to. If this opens up in Gilford I might have to switch and do it up there. I bet the view would be way better.

I am not a pilot but hopefully one day will be one. (need to save up the $$$) From what I understand the airport down in Sebastian is not a very busy airport, However, it is very close (5 miles) from Vero beach Airport which is a very busy airport. It is wear Piper is headquartered and they do a lot of flights for testing thier planes. If Sebastian can handle doing the jumps and landing right on the field I dont see why Laconia would not have a problem. I sat outside watching the parachuters land while in the backround a plane was landing at the same time. Did not seem to cause any issues what so ever.

I am going to believe what the Noonans are saying. They have given plenty of info to back up there claims. It seems to me that if there are airports that 3x busier then laconia then I don't see an issue in landing at the airport. Plus if you were to look at a planes pattern for when they are landing they never go over the airport.

I wish the Noonans all the luck and I got to say they have been more then accommodating in giving us information. I dont think have they have gotten enough credit. They have gone well above what was exspected if you ask me.

I look forward to meeting you when your business starts this summer.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:38 PM   #95
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Kind of like people kayaking in the Broads on a hot summer weekend isn't it?? Where's Evenstar??
Oh no, don't remind me, Sea.
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:51 PM   #96
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Laconia has a habit of saying no to good ideas; they tossed goodbye the large & popular sailboat, Queen of Winnipesaukee, and saying yes to bad ideas when they welcomed their downtown urban renewal revitalization plan.

So, when Laconia says no, maybe you want to consider the small airport in Plymouth, NH, which has a single, green grass runway which should be soft enough for landing sky divers. Plus, there's a McDonald's nearby!
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:41 PM   #97
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It seems pretty clear to me who brings well thought out statements backed by real data and who pulls the old liberal (pardon the pun) "the sky is falling". I have zero expertise in this area and won't pretend to make judgements on the viability and safety of this operation. What I do possess is a great feel for people's common sense and conviction by how they present themselves. Good luck to the Noonans.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:57 PM   #98
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I am a licensesed pilot. Laconia was the home base for my airplane for a period of time. I've flown into many airpoirts that had skydiving operations. I AWAYS appreciate the fact that skydivers are aiming for the center of a particular airport. I rarely fly over a particular airport, whether skydiving is in progress or not. I prefer a standard entry into the pattern that doesn't cross over the center of the airport. If I heard on the radio that skydiving was in process at some island on Winni, am I going to open up a chart to find out were that is? Maybe I'm lucky and I know the name of the island - I doubt it though. I have a chart that tells me airports and major places, not nearby islands or fields. When I hear on the radio that skydivers are landing at the field I really don't want to fly directly over it. I fly a standard pattern around it.

I would be very concerned if skydiving were being done to any place other then the center of the airport. It's the only safe place.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:41 PM   #99
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It seems pretty clear to me who brings well thought out statements backed by real data and who pulls the old liberal (pardon the pun) "the sky is falling". I have zero expertise in this area and won't pretend to make judgements on the viability and safety of this operation. What I do possess is a great feel for people's common sense and conviction by how they present themselves. Good luck to the Noonans.
From what I can understand about this thread, may I add No expert and no affiliation to the Noonans, If they are not totally approved, I will fly up and support them in any appeal processes!
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:20 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by Lakepilot View Post
I am a licensesed pilot. Laconia was the home base for my airplane for a period of time. I've flown into many airpoirts that had skydiving operations. I AWAYS appreciate the fact that skydivers are aiming for the center of a particular airport. I rarely fly over a particular airport, whether skydiving is in progress or not. I prefer a standard entry into the pattern that doesn't cross over the center of the airport. If I heard on the radio that skydiving was in process at some island on Winni, am I going to open up a chart to find out were that is? Maybe I'm lucky and I know the name of the island - I doubt it though. I have a chart that tells me airports and major places, not nearby islands or fields. When I hear on the radio that skydivers are landing at the field I really don't want to fly directly over it. I fly a standard pattern around it.

I would be very concerned if skydiving were being done to any place other then the center of the airport. It's the only safe place.
That would be my thought as well. Better than landing out in a field off site with traffic that may not understand what is actually going on.

I am not working either side of the fence as both of these activities are on the list of things to do, but doesn't traffic coming in and out of the airport (where the skydivers land) only come in along the axis of the runways. That would be a max of two travel vectors. An offsite field outside of airport traffic patterns wouldn't that be an infinite number of possible travel vectors.

Tom, if Laconia and its pilot residents are not smart enough to see the big picture, why not bring your operation to Concord, Newport, Lebanon. The volume of participants would be better than Laconia being that they are all closer to highways which would mean better margins. Watching skydivers fall while traveling up the highway you have the potential to attract more business in the long run.

Best of luck to you in your venture and you can count me in when and where ever you set up. Thank you for answering every one of the questions and comments thrown at you with good solid information, I actually googled skydiving in general the other day and the first two pages alone where operations with an address on an "Airport Road"
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