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Airport manager directed to look into gate security

Man's entry to the property without pass key raises flag

By J.R. Williams -- jrwilliams@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- The Winchester Regional Airport Authority directed the facility's manager Thursday night to look into making the airport's gates more secure.

Recently, someone known to airport staff has been gaining entry to the airport without a pass, manager Renny Manuel said.

Although the man is allowed on airport property, the manner in which he gained access alerted officials to a security concern, Manuel said.

Authority members discussed the problem at their July meeting, and voted to send the matter to the security committee. At Thursday's meeting, the authority as a whole unanimously directed Manuel to obtain informal price quotes to correct the problem.

Richard Largeant, chairman of the security committee, estimated the changes to cost $5,000 for three gates.

The airport has a handful of gates that allow businesses and plane owners access to hangars, the runway, tie-down areas and other commercial areas of the facility. To gain entry, authorized personnel must have a pass key to open the gate.

Manuel said only one person has gained access to the airport without a pass.

In other business, the authority:

* Discussed opening a public hearing for changes to its regulations and standards document.

The update is the first since 1995.

The minimum regulations and standards report will include additions to the kind of businesses that are permitted at the airport, specifically a "full-service fixed base operator."

Such a business is allowed to sell aircraft equipment, operate flight training and aircraft rental services and sell new and used aircraft.

The document must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and the attorney general's office.

The public hearing likely will occur at the authority's September meeting , Manuel said.

* Announced that negotiations to purchase property at 171 Bufflick Road are still ongoing.

A review appraisal for the property still is under way, and won't be ready until the end of the month, Manuel said.

Acquisition of the property is mandated by FAA airspace requirements, authority Chairman Paul G. Anderson Jr. has said. The panel already has acquired several properties on Bufflick Road, part of which runs almost parallel to the runway.

Funds to purchase the land would come from an FAA grant. The property is owned by A.P.R. Mini Storage LLC.

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