Lopez Airport Aircraft and Hangar Fire Safety
Static electricity caused an airplane to catch fire in Ellensberg destroying two hangars, four airplanes and two gyro-copters. The aircraft was being defueled and was grounded but, a rag used to wipe up fuel was dropped and when it was picked up static electricity from the movement caught the fuel on fire. By the time someone could bring a fire extinguisher from another hangar it was too late.
The two chief problems regarding fire hazards are gasoline fumes and static electricity. Defueling is particularly dangerous because of free-falling gasoline, like water within a thunderstorm, creates static electricity.
Important Practices to Follow:
- Fuel and defuel aircraft outdoors when possible, otherwise always have hangar doors open when transferring fuel.
- Ground aircraft when transferring fuel.
- Bond fuel container to aircraft when transferring fuel. Fuel flow creates a static build up in the container and an electrical potential difference between the container and the aircraft. A conducting bond will reduce this potential difference.
- Minimize the distance between the container and the aircraft when transferring fuel. Making direct contact between the container and the aircraft is best.
- Keep Class B fire extinguisher(s) charged and accessible near the door of the hangar.
- Store and transfer fuel in gasoline approved containers.
- Eliminate potential sources of ignition such as: operation of electrical devices, turn master off, clothing that may promote static electricity such as nylon or synthetic material and of course no open flames.
- Fix fuel leaks, wipe up small fuel spills and wash out large fuel spills with water.
- Dry fuel soaked rags outside of hangar or in a fire safe container, fuel soaked rags give off fumes and/or may spontaneous combust.
Adopted by motion after public hearing and deliberation on October 14, 1999 and as modified on June 10, 2005, and on November 9, 2006.
The Commissioners of the Port of Lopez have adopted basic regulations to enhance safety, security and of airport operations. Because of the Port’s fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of Lopez, the following regulations are effective immediately.
- Safety: It is the Port’s policy to operate the airport for the use and benefit of the public and to eliminate potential hazards to aircraft and persons using the airport.
- Use of Port facilities:
- Operation of aircraft or vehicles, or travel on the airport is permitted only in areas designated for that particular purpose.
- Vehicular traffic is not permitted through the south, north or west perimeter gates unless the Port grants specific permission.
- Pedestrian access to waiting planes is located on the north side of the airport building.
- No person shall walk on or across the runway, taxiways or grass areas without specific permission to do so.
- Vehicles – General Requirements:
- Taxing aircraft have the right-of-way over other moving vehicles except emergency vehicles.
- Vehicles are not permitted on the runway or taxiways unless authorized by the Port.
- All vehicles on Port property are restricted to a ten-mile per hour speed limit and are to be operated under applicable County and State regulations
- Vehicles and persons using hangar or rental facilities are to egress and ingress only through gates 2 and 3. In order to provide the maximum safety, these vehicles and persons must not egress out of the hangar or rental areas onto the taxiway.
- Access through the main gate is limited!
- Vehicular traffic on the apron area in front of the Port building is restricted to vehicles delivering disabled and to commercial carriers picking up or delivering bulk packages.
- Operators of planes in monthly or annual tie-down spaces are permitted access to unload or load materials from their vehicles to their planes, but must leave their vehicles in the long term (or short term for 24 hours) parking area after loading.
- Vehicles – Parking:
- Motor vehicles of the general public shall be parked in either the short-term or the long-term parking lots.
- Short-term parking space is located to and contiguous to the Port building and is limited to 24 hours, except those vehicles with properly issued permits. This limitation is necessary so that day use, drop-off space and emergency vehicles have immediate use of this area. Vehicles left longer than 24 hours in the short-term space or in violation of Port regulations may be towed or impounded at owner’s expense.
- Long term parking is located approximately 100 feet east of the Port building. Currently there is no time limit in that lot.
- The Port does not guarantee that space will be available in either location.
- Emergencies and accidents:
- Reporting of Accidents: Any person involved in an accident on airport property or witness thereto, shall report the accident as soon as possible to the San Juan County Sheriff, to a Port Commissioner or the Port Secretary.
- Emergency vehicles and personnel and sheriff patrol cars and personnel are authorized admittance at all times and may use force to enter through any access point they deem necessary to carry out their duties. If an emergency on airport ground would affect flight operations, a NOTAM report shall be posted by telephoning the FAA to alert aviators that the airport may be temporarily closed.
- The Port reserves the right to move any vehicles or aircraft for safety purposes, convenience or those in violation of Port regulations.
- Abandoned, junked, unlicensed vehicles or aircraft are not to be left on Port property. Such aircraft and vehicles may be towed to storage or impounded at owner’s expense. If such vehicle or aircraft is not claimed or redeemed within thirty days, said vehicle or aircraft may by sold or junked by the Port without further notice to the owner. Unlicensed vehicles may be reported to the County Sheriff.
- Aircraft Operations:
- No person shall operate, service, maintain or repair an aircraft other than in conformance with current FAA and Port regulations.
- It shall be the responsibility of all operators of Port authorized activities to protect the safety of all persons coming into these areas and to notify the Port of apparent unauthorized activities.
- It is the responsibility of the aircraft operator to secure his/her aircraft while parked at the airport. The Port assumes no responsibility for the condition, maintenance or upkeep of tie-down ropes or chocks.
- Operators of parachute clubs shall obtain permission from the Port before engaging in that activity. It shall be the responsibility of the operator to issue a NOTAM report with the FAA if permission is granted by the Port.
- The maximum allowable weight limit of aircraft shall be 12,500 pounds, single wheel.
- Aircraft shall take-off or land from the paved runway only.
- Business: No person shall engage in any business or commercial activity of any nature unless approval from the Port has been obtained.
- Sanitation: No person shall dispose of yard or household waste of any kind at the airport. In-flight or waiting room trash may be disposed of in the receptacle provided for that purpose. It is located near the walk-in pedestrian gate.
- No person shall drink alcoholic beverages on Port property.
- The Port has authorized a standing reward of $2,500 leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone tampering with an aircraft or destroying Port property.
- Failure to pay required fees and charges when due may result in forfeiture of the lease or rental and loss of airport access and privileges.
At a special meeting on September 14, 1999, the Port Commissioners adopted a motion to enhance safety and security by requiring that all ladders over airport fences be removed.