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U.S. Government Cancels Osprey Landings at Upolu Airport on Big Island and Kalaupapa Airport on Molokai

I’m actually amazed that U.S. Government cancelled the landings!

U.S. Marine Corps parachutists free fall from an MV-22 Osprey at 10,000 feet above the drop zone at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. on Jan. 17, 2000. The Marines from the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C., became the first to deploy from the Osprey. Twenty-four successful jumps were recorded under the supervision of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command and the Marine Corps Systems Command to qualify the V-22 for parachute service. DoD photo by Vernon Pugh, U.S. Navy. (Released)

…Regarding the Hawaiian flights, Ospreys were scheduled to make practice landings at Kalaupapa Airport on the island of Moloka’i, and Upolu Airport on the Hawaiian main island. The U.S. government cancelled the landings, however, due to opposition from local residents plus concerns over noise pollution and potential effects on local heritage sites.

The tilt-rotor aircraft have had a number of high-profile accidents since their introduction to service in 2007, including a fatal April 2012 crash that the U.S. Marine Corps concluded recently was due to pilot error, ruling out mechanical or safety problems.

According to Japan-U.S. diplomatic sources, 24 Ospreys are scheduled for deployment to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, O’ahu by 2018. In preparation, in August 2010 the U.S. Department of the Navy began an environmental assessment of the plan as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The navy department assessment named Kalaupapa Airport and Upolu Airport as sites for Osprey practice landings. However, local residents and other U.S. government departments came out against holding the training flights at the two sites, pointing to the danger to a National Park Service-designated archeological site near Kalaupapa Airport and the potential for severe noise pollution around Upolu Airport…

More here: Local Opposition Scuttles Hawaiian Osprey Training Flights

$2.9 Million for Airport Renovations in Hilo, Hana, and Kalaupapa

Senator Daniel Akaka

Media Release:

U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye announced today that $2.9 million in federal grants will be awarded to airports on the islands of Hawai’i, Maui, and Moloka’i.

“Hawaii’s airports provide residents access to friends and family, doctors and patients, and customers and business partners,” said Senator Akaka.  “Air travel is critical in our island state, and regular improvements are essential.”

“I am very pleased that the U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes the need to maintain our air travel infrastructure to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors.  These funds will help ensure that those traveling to and from Hilo, Hana, and Kalaupapa enjoy safe and timely air travel,” said Senator Inouye.

Federal grants were awarded by the FAA to the following projects:

  • Hilo International: Rehabilitate Apron, Rehabilitate Taxiway – $2,592,500
    This grant will provide federal funding for the Hilo International Airport in Hawaii to maintain the structural integrity of the taxiway and General Aviation Apron pavements threatened by surface variations and cracks.  The project will also correct severe ponding observed at Taxiways A, C, E, and L as the existing drainage is insufficient, and fix various striping, signage and lighting to comply with FAA part 139 requirements.
  • Hana: Improve Terminal Building – $150,000
    This grant will provide federal funding for the Hana Airport in Hawaii for the design phase to renovate and improve the public-use area in the existing terminal building.  The project will perform site investigation, propose scope of work to be done, generate bid documents, and provide post-design services for a project whose focus will be to renovate terminal spaces.
  • Kalaupapa: Improve Terminal Building – $150,000
    This grant will provide federal funding for the Kalaupapa Airport in Hawaii for the design phase to renovate and improve the public-use area in the existing terminal building.  The project will perform site investigation, propose scope of work to be done, generate bid documents, and provide post-design services for a project whose focus will be to renovate terminal spaces.