Lost Nation Regional Aviation Association

1885 Lost Nation Road
Willoughby, Ohio 44094
Voice: 216-975-5459
Fax: 216-269-2323

Our gole is to continue communicating the importance of the Lost Nation Airport to the people making the immediate and future decisions: Willoughby City Council and Lake County Commissioners. Also, communicate to everyone the existence of LNRAA and ask them to support us.

Earlyer newsletters are avalible here


Issue #4

Willoughby Seeks to Reduce Funding for Lost Nation

On October 28, at a special meeting of City Council and administration officials, Willoughby discussed a plan to "scale back" operations at LNN.  Below is a reprint of a letter that LNRAA provided to Willoughby City Council members, advising them of our concerns over their plans to minimize LNN's operating costs.

Mr. Chuck Cox, President
City Council
City of Willoughby
One Public Square
Willoughby, OH  44094

Dear Mr. Cox,

Since the County Commissioners failed to place Lost Nation Airport under County control-where our Association has always maintained it belongs-and unless or until some third party assumes the responsibilities for doing so, the City of Willoughby remains responsible for fulfilling its contractual obligations to the Federal Aviation Administration.  We are confident that the City will honor those obligations.

In our conversation with the FAA, we understand that the City's obligations include the following four areas:

    1)  Keeping the airport in a safe and serviceable manner.

    2)  Maintaining the lighting and the pavement.

    3)  Making sure no obstructions to the runway are erected.

    4)  Keeping the grass mowed.

Lost Nation Aviation Association believes it is in the City's best interest, as well as that of Lost Nation Airport and the hundreds of commercial and private aircraft operators who use the facility, to bring the following to Council's attention:

    1)  From all observations, the number of takeoffs and landings has not changed since the City closed the control tower and eliminated on-demand, direct voice communications with aircraft.  As a result, the only source of information now available to aircraft operators concerning the correct runway to use (which can and often does change many times each day), aircraft in the area, and most importantly aircraft within the traffic pattern, is a totally passive "Unicom" radio frequency.  Our association strongly urges the City to physically move the location of the Unicom base station from the tower to a location within one of the ground structures where the Unicom frequency can be monitored by knowledgeable individuals during normal operating hours.

    2)  At the urging of our association, four signs were posted, one at the end of each of the four runways, to advise pilots of noise abatement directives and the above-mentioned radio frequency.  Unfortunately, the signs that carry this vital data are physically too small to be read by pilots.  Our Association strongly urges the City of fund the production and erection of four large signs replacing the well-meant but inadequate signs now installed.

    3)  Proper operation of an airport requires specialized knowledge and specific procedures which are at considerable variance with typical operation and maintenance of other City-operated facilities.  For example, because of the devastating effect road salt has on aircraft aluminum, runways must be kept free of snow and ice without any use of salt whatsoever, even to the extent of using snow plows on runways and taxiways which are not also used on city streets.  There are snowplows at Lost Nation Airport designated for use only on the airport.  Our association strongly urges the City to use only those ONLY to maintain the airport.

We also urge the City to keep the clearance of snow and ice from the airport runways and taxiways at a high priority level.  Aircraft landing at over 100 miles an hour do not enjoy the same level of directional stability which automobiles have at 50 miles an hour; failure of the City to keep the runways and taxiways safe for normal operations can have devastating effects.

As an adjunct to the appropriate use of dedicated airport-only snow plows, it is vital that operators of those plows are fully cognizant of the runway lights which illuminate both sides of the runways.  The need for these lights to be fully operable is one of the FAA's requirements.  We are all aware of the problems that occur each winter season when snow plows inadvertently destroy mail boxes.  While those problems cause a temporary annoyance, a similar destruction of one or more runway lights can well lead to disaster.

Airport operations are dynamic matters in which significant changes frequently are imposed by the FAA and other entities.  We content that it is extremely risky for anyone to consider management of a facility as busy as Lost Nation Airport as a function which can be adequately or safely conducted on a part-time basis.  Instead, operating management of Lost Nation Airport must be constantly on the alert for changes in procedures, techniques, etc.  Moreover, in our view, operating management must--for all practical reasons--be based at the airport itself where day-to-day decisions can be made as needed.  Absentee management begs for serious consequences.

Our association therefore strongly urges the City to maintain the current minimum staffing and facilitate, rather than impair, the utilization of the time required to fully comply with the FAA's safety-related directives.

We also point out that the proper maintenance of the Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) and VHF Omnidirectional Radio (VOR), both located on airport grounds, is in our view an integral element within the context of operational safety.  We trust the City will view these essential navigation aids in that same light.

We have offered the full cooperation of our association to the City before, in an attempt to assist the City in the safe operation of Lost Nation Airport.  We offer that same assistance again.


Jack Thorp