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Opinion Column
For the week of April 18 through April 24, 2001

Finally, airport bus rides to end

Commentary by Pat Murphy

Regulars who travel in and out of Hailey’s Friedman Memorial Airport know the drill.

Lousy weather socks in the airport. So, outbound travelers are bused to Twin Falls to board flights there, and travelers bound for here land at Twin Falls to be bused to Hailey.

Could it be this nightmare is headed for the dustbin of history?

By next fall, the airport should have a new navigation aid ¾ a Transponder Landing System ¾ allowing pilots to defy weather that once closed the airport.

When the ceiling now is less than 2,500 feet and visibility down to five miles, the relatively primitive non-directional beacon (NDB) pilots use for a simple course direction at Friedman isn’t much help for getting through scud.

But the new TLS will convert a four-digit radio code into a cockpit instrument display that allows pilots to track a vertical localizer needle and a horizontal glide scope needle to or from the runway, when the ceiling is down to 800 feet and visibility is two miles, and thus avoid obstructions and terrain.

But this doesn’t take care of another perpetual beef: the demand for faster, larger jet service for the Wood River Valley.

Jim Breeze, flight operations director of SkyWest Airlines, tells me once again that SkyWest’s 50-passenger Challenger jet can’t economically operate out of Hailey.

Primarily, the Challenger’s wing lift design is not suited for operating out of higher-altitude mountain airports such as Hailey (altitude 5,315 feet above sea level). Instead of 50 passengers, flights would have to be limited to 30 to lighten gross takeoff weight, thus making operations unprofitable.

Even the grumps who complain about no jet service should be happy with the new landing system to end inconvenient busing detours.



Boise Police Chief Don Pierce said something during a Sun Valley workshop on the home-brewed drug methamphetamine that stood out as a strong argument for those who’re dead set against legalizing marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.

Pierce asked what kind of message would be delivered to young people if suddenly a drug that’s branded as no good as well as unlawful is then okayed for health use?



Not all U.S. businesses have joined President Bush in his scheme to blame the environment and a phony energy "crisis" as a way of turning back the clock on sensible regulations.

For one, the Amana company, manufacturers of home appliances, appealed to the president not to abandon the planned higher energy-saving standard for washers and dryers. Amana plans to make machines using 30 percent less energy anyway, rather than the 20 percent that the president believes is adequate.

Anyone who believes the president doesn’t have environmental and energy policies is misinformed: his policies, including a handful of rebukes to the environment, are to gamble away a generation of progress and pander to industries who’ve reigned as polluters in the good ol’ days.

If Bush’s policies turn out to be poisonous to health and the environment, a future president is bound to reinstate regulations that’ll be even costlier for industries who hope to profit handsomely from Bush’s laxity.





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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.