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LIBAA News & Aviation Industry Updates

Business Aviation news from all over Long Island and the New York metropolitan area aviation companies, airports and government sources keeping you current on all the business aviation news that effects you and your company

Company proposes $85M retail complex near Republic Airport

July 18, 2016 By Nicholas Spangler   nicholas.spangler@newsday.com

A retail development called Broad Hollow Commons is proposed at the southwest corner of Route 110 and Conklin Street. (Credit: Acadia Realty )

Rye-based Acadia Realty Trust has proposed a $75 million to $85 million retail development in East Farmingdale in the heart of the heavily traveled Route 110 Corridor.

The project, called Broad Hollow Commons, would include 180,000 to 200,000 square feet of retail space on 19 acres at the southwest corner of the Conklin Street intersection near Republic Airport.

It is a prominent location with a tangled back story and vitally interested players, including local, state and federal governments and area civic groups.

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Empty of development now, the site served as a discharge basin for aviation manufacturer Fairchild Republic until 1983 and was listed as a New York State Superfund site in 1987. Fairchild’s cleanup, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, continued for decades.

A deal between the Fairchild Corp. and Stew Leonard’s that would have put a supermarket on the site fizzled in the mid-2000s after aviation groups and the state Department of Transportation, which owns the airport, argued the design would have endangered shoppers directly underneath landing planes.

Department officials wrote at the time that much of the site was included in a “runway protection zone” outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration and put in place less to protect the planes, flying in at about 140 feet above ground level, than the people below. The department refused to allow curb cuts for the site on Route 110, effectively quashing the plan.

Stew Leonard’s and Fairchild sued the DOT. Litigation surrounding the deal is pending, according to a department spokesman. Earlier this year the supermarket was built across Route 110 in the Airport Plaza shopping center.

Enter Acadia, which in 2012 took title to the property in lieu of foreclosure after Fairchild defaulted on a loan the realty company had provided, Acadia executives said.

The purchase price was $12.4 million, according to Acadia’s 2012 annual report. The company filed a site plan with Babylon Town earlier this year.

The plan calls for a parking lot under the path planes take, and pushes buildings to the property periphery. Most of the buildings will top out at 20 feet; one will be 35 feet tall.

Curb cuts originally planned for East Carmans Road were moved to Conklin Street in response to community concerns, company executives said.

Acadia will pave, build on or otherwise cover the site under a 2014 agreement between the company and the DEC.

Approvals and comment from the town, FAA and DOT could be at least 18 months away, said Christopher Conlon, Acadia’s chief operating officer.

In the meantime, the company is mounting what executives say is an exhaustive public outreach effort.

The president of the Long Island Business Aviation Association, which once sued to stop construction at the site, says the group has no objections to the current plans.

“The community is pretty much behind the project,” said Thomas H. Joseph Jr., president of Residents of East Farmingdale Civic Association. “It’s going to improve the area and create jobs.”

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NBAA Statement on House-Senate Agreement Over FAA Funding Extension

WASHINGTON, DC, July 6, 2016 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today issued the statement below, following the announcement that House and Senate transportation leaders have reached an agreement to extend funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through

September 30, 2017. 

Both chambers have been debating a reauthorization of funding and governance for the agency; the FAA's current funding is set to expire onJuly 15. Leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, negotiated the terms of the FAA funding extension announced today.

“While we have always believed that the best outcome in the FAA reauthorization debate is to have a long-term bill for the agency, we commend the House and Senate Committee leaders for providing this 14-month funding extension, which reflects a recognition by Congress that it is imperative to ensure that the FAA continues to have the resources needed for its critical safety, infrastructure and other programs,” Bolen said.

“This extension is also important because of what it includes, and what it leaves out,” Bolen continued. “For example, we are pleased that the bill reflects some key general aviation priorities, such as the inclusion of third-class medical reform for pilots of small aircraft, and provisions focused on the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the airspace.

“Equally important, the bill does not include risky proposals for creating a privatized air traffic control system, funded through new user fees,” Bolen added. “Clearly, our community’s tremendous mobilization against ATC privatization funded by user fees has made a difference.”

Bolen noted that the House and Senate still need to vote on the FAA extension bill for it to go into effect, and that NBAA and its members would remain vigilant on the matter as each chamber considers the legislation.

“We look forward to full House and Senate passage of the extension, but more importantly, we will continue working with both the House and Senate toward a full FAA reauthorization bill that enjoys strong bipartisan support and preserves America's world-leading position in aviation, five, 10 and 25 years from now.” 

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RSA PROJECT AT REPUBLIC AIRPORT

GARY BARNABLE, INTERIM AIRPORT DIRECTOR REPUBLIC AIRPORT:  

The NYSDOT is currently in the process of initiating the Runway 1/19 Safety Area (RSA) project.  This effort will allow the airport to meet FAA design standards for this runway category (as mandated by Congress in 2005).  The project is funded through an FAA grant and State match. Working closely with the FAA, NYSDOT determined that the following components are required to meet these standards:

  • Shift Runway 1-19 approximately 412 ft. north to establish the standard for RSA’s on both runway ends.
  • Relocation of Hangar 2 and Hangar 3
  • Relocation of Taxiway Golf to maintain a 300 ft  runway/taxiway centerline clearance
  • Relocation of Perimeter Road between Taxiways B and M.

To meet conditions of the FAA grant, the design and construction work for the Runway 1-19 shift and associated work for the relocation of perimeter road are being pursued as Phase 1 of the project.  During preliminary design, NYSDOT determined that the Hangar relocation would require additional time to develop.  To avoid additional delays, the hangar relocation  and Taxiway Golf work will be bid separately from the first two components.

Everyone familiar with Republic Airport is aware that these safety projects have been in development over many years. A Public Scoping Meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Assessment was held back in 2008.  The Airport has been providing updates at our RAC meetings, Key Tenant meetings, and Owner’s /Operators meetings. To continue to keep everyone informed we have put together this update.

On May 16, 2016 NYSDOT opened bids for the construction contract to relocate Runway 1-19 and to relocate perimeter road. Five solid bids were received from well respected construction firms. After reviewing the bid results we have determined that Intercounty Paving Associates is the low responsible bidder. We are working with FAA to obtain their concurrence.

At this time we are shooting for a start of construction in July/August of this year. The contract has a maximum duration of 180 calendar days from the notice to proceed.

To accomplish the work to meet the FAA RSA standards, we have set an aggressive time frame for completion. In order to build out the improvements, Runway 1-19 will be closed to allow work to proceed safely.

When work is progressed in the vicinity of the intersection with Runway 14-32 a full Airport closure will be utilized. The full Airport closures will only occur at night and by contract will be limited to a maximum of 19 nights. Monetary penalties have been included in the contract to limit durations of the multiple phases of work. The work has phasing requirements to both allow the contractor to work in multiple locations but limit the disruption to Airport Operations.  Of note, Runway 1-19 will remain closed until Hangars 2 and 3 are relocated and the required clearance for Golf Taxiway is established. The design effort to address this second contract is progressing.

The contract details can be found on Republic Airport’s website. If you have questions about the project we encourage you to call, set up an appointment, and meet with us to discuss your issues further or email us and we will get you a response.

While NYSDOT and its consultant will attempt to minimize impacts on tenants, the scope of the project requires runway and taxiway closures as the project progresses.  We will work with the tenants, contractors, etc. to address issues as they arise.  NYSDOT requests your cooperation as we deal with operational issues and the impact of active construction so close to our own work.

This is a safety project mandated by Congress and ultimately will be a mutual benefit to the Airport and for everyone involved with the airport’s activities.

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Luminati Aerospace Unveils Solar Electric and Amphibious Aircraft

On Friday, June 10th at 10 am Luminati Aerospace will be revealing the first aircraft to be designed and built at the historic Calverton air base since Grumman ceased manufacturing some 23 years ago. The Solar Electric powered V0-SubStrata will be unveiled with flight demonstrations to follow. Grumman and other historic aircraft created on Long Island will be on flight display. There will be a dedication and speeches from Andrew Parton, Executive Director of the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Jeff Clyman, CEO & President of the American Air Power Museum, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone, Congressional candidate and Retired USMC LT Col David “Bull” Gurfein, Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Association as well as Daniel Preston, founder and CEO at Luminati.

Those who live on Long Island or have followed the Tech news may have heard about Luminati Aerospace. Over the past year, inventor & engineer Preston has attracted a literal dream team of scientists, engineers and aerodynamicists from all corners of the aviation industry to the former Grumman Naval Base at Calverton on Long Island.

Luminati was created to set a new state of the art in aircraft manufacturing. The team at Luminati is focused on perpetual, solar electric flight in the Stratosphere as a platform for commercial internet and government ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) applications. Alongside their cutting edge design and production technology, Luminati has also formed a joint venture with SeaMax America, led by local entrepreneur and aviator Richard Rofé. This venture aims to take advantage of the state of the art facilities and in house expertise of the Luminati team to bring large scale manufacturing of SeaMax Light Sport Amphibious aircraft to Long Island (with the added benefit of creating numerous aerospace jobs). Rofé’s SeaMax was awarded ‘Best Light Sport Aircraft’ at the prestigious Sun’n’Fun airshow.

VIP invitations for the event are available. Press releases and kits will be distributed on Wednesday.

The address is 400 David Court, Calverton Long Island 11933
By car: RSVP required to april(at)luminati(dot)aero (Please arrive by 9:30 AM)
By airplane/helicopter: RSVP required to RobertLutz(at)luminati(dot)aero (Please arrive by 9:00 AM)
(airport procedures briefing required)

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Aerospace firm successfully tests solar-powered aircraft

CALVERTON, N.Y. (AP) — A test pilot successfully flew a solar-powered prototype aircraft on Friday for a company that envisions manufacturing a fleet of drones to provide aerial internet service for an estimated 4 billion people worldwide.

The test flight by Luminati Aerospace LLC took place at a former Northrop Grumman defense plant on eastern Long Island that once made military aircraft. Speakers at a ceremony before the flight recalled that Charles Lindberg took off for his historic 1927 solo flight to Paris from an air strip in nearby Nassau County, and others noted that the spacecraft that landed men on the moon was built in the Long Island suburbs east of New York City.

"This is a dream come true," Luminati founder and CEO Daniel Preston said. "Long Island is known as the Cradle of Aviation, and we want to do our part to keep it here where it belongs."

Pilot Robert Lutz flew the VO-Substrata aircraft for about 20 minutes in the first test flight opened to the public. The white aircraft features wing-mounted solar cells and has a wingspan of about 43 feet. Logos of several companies and other entities involved with its production are plastered on both sides, similar to the sponsor decals on NASCAR race cars.

The prototype aircraft allows for a pilot to control it, but eventually Luminati, which is based in Calverton, will build unmanned drones that can fly at 60,000 feet or more. Luminati hopes to start manufacturing by the end of the year.

Lutz said after his flight that the aircraft is "very birdlike."

"You know you go up there and you feel like you're in the environment up there with the creatures," he said. "Hawks will be circling around, and they kind of flock to you. It's the only aircraft I've ever flown where I can hear a helicopter next to me. It's a little spooky but pretty cool."

Luminati paid $3.4 million last year to acquire 16.3 acres of land from the operator of a now-closed skydiving facility on the former Northrop Grumman property, and it announced intentions to develop the next generation of drones at the site. Preston, who holds more than 1,200 patents, formerly founded and operated Atair Aerospace from 2001 to 2008.

He has repeatedly refused to disclose the identity of a tech company that reportedly is involved in the enterprise. Google, Facebook and others tech companies all have been involved with initiatives in the field.

He confirmed that, besides private business uses for the drones, the company is interested in supplying aircraft for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance uses.

"We view it as our patriotic duty to do so," he said.

He said using technologies combining solar power with wind energy harvesting and using composite materials to make ultra-light, ultra-strong aircraft, the goal is to keep the drones airborne perpetually.

"I really can't think of any engineering project today that has a greater social impact than bringing communications for many people in the world that don't have it," he said.

___

Associated Press writer Kiley Armstrong in New York contributed to this report.

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