Craven Airport in NC Has Surprise Inspection

AuTom Braaten had to hit the ground running when the Federal Aviation Administration pulled a surprise inspection last week, just eight days after he took over as director of Craven County Regional Airport.

The July 25 inspection came on the heels of the FAA's periodic inspection. FAA inspector Patrick L. Rogers noted in a letter of correction to the airport this week that none of the discrepancies mentioned in the May 19 inspection had been corrected.

Marcia Adams, FAA spokeswoman, said the second inspection "was the result of some concerns brought to the attention of the FAA safety inspector."

Joe Hennessey, a Cherry Point air traffic controller who for 22 years worked part time in the Airport Rescue Fire Fighter program, had voiced safety concerns to the Airport Authority and Craven County commissioners. He resigned in March, saying low pay, training and equipment compromised the airport's crash-fire readiness.

Braaten said all the concerns about that program and other deficiencies noted by the FAA are being addressed as quickly as possible, and that the airport has not defaulted on any FAA-imposed deadlines.

The first deadline Tuesday -- for review of the Airport Certification Manual -- involved including the new airport fire truck and Braaten's name as director in the manual.

"I'm here now so my name has to be in the book, and it is," said Braaten.

The Aug. 25 deadline for posting the fuel farm and truck inspections for the past 90 days also has been met, he said, adding the information was simply misfiled.

One deficiency Braaten said he looks forward to rectifying requires an annual table-top exercise with area fire, rescue, emergency services and hospital personnel that was last conducted May 12, 2005. A live mock airline crash rescue is required every three years, he said.

"Because of personnel changes, that was not done, but we have to do it by Oct. 25," he said.

Sept. 25 deadlines for training and documenting training of rescue and fire personnel would be met, Braaten said.

Penalties for failing to meet the FAA deadlines can be anything from a follow-up letter to a civil penalty with fine or revocation of the airport operating certificate, depending on the nature and severity of the discrepancy, Adams said.

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