Group eyes helicopter landing spot

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THE ISSUE

During a Tuesday meeting with the Columbia County Commission, Gold Cross/AirMed asked the group to rezone about four acres at 4328 Wheeler Road for use as an office, ambulance bay and landing zone for at least one of the company's two rescue helicopters. The helicopters operate from a site at Doctors Hospital.

OPPONENTS

Ed Smith, the co-owner of Adventure Crossing, which neighbors the proposed Gold Cross site, told commissioners the noise levels would be too great for children using his facility.

The decibel-level generated by a single-rotor helicopter is akin to a busy city street and slightly less than a chain saw, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Mr. Smith also expressed concerns that his property might be used as an emergency landing area should the helicopter malfunction, which he said might endanger his customers. Too many power lines cross Wheeler Road, the proposed path AirMed officials said they would use for the majority of the entrances to and exits from the site, to safely land a helicopter in case of an emergency, Mr. Smith added.

Another neighboring land owner, Steve Clifton, expressed concern that the proposed landing area for the helicopter is too small and comes too close to his shared easement and a metal building.

PROPONENTS

Doctors Hospital personnel have not made any noise complaints to AirMed regarding the helicopter, said Willard Hogan, a realtor for Meybohm Commercial Property, which is handling the land sale.

AirMed President Dan Gates said his company could not use the Wheeler Road property without FAA approval. He said he is "100 percent" positive AirMed will get that approval.

AirMed chief pilot Todd Hatfield said he and his pilots always are conscious of their surroundings and typically avoid areas of large crowds. But, he said, helicopters fly daily above congested urban areas, and it is an accepted factor of his business.

Also, AirMed pilots are trained in emergency landings and are skilled at avoiding power lines and structures, Mr. Hatfield said.

DECISION

The Columbia County Commission unanimously agreed to the rezoning with some stipulations:

- The FAA must approve the site

- Gold Cross/AirMed must show FAA approval of flight operations following Wheeler Road

- The landing area for the helicopter must not cross into the access easement jointly used by the neighboring property to the east

- The company must erect a fence around the property to limit wind shears generated by the aircraft's rotors

- And it must provide a log of flight takeoffs and landing times for the past 60 days.

-- Compiled by Donnie Fetter

Comments (5) Add comment
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TrukinRanger
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TrukinRanger 02/20/08 - 06:01 am
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So the owner of Adventure
Unpublished

So the owner of Adventure Crossing is worried about noise levels? What about a go-cart track on site there? Do they not make lots of noise? What about I-20? Any Noise there? As for whether or not pilots would use Adventure Crossing to land on in case of an emergency- Would I-20 not be the alternate site?? I seriously doubt any pilot would try and crash land on top of a mini-amusement park rather than an interstate highway. Get over it! It's not that big of a deal.

JimCox
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JimCox 02/20/08 - 07:11 am
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The contents of semi trucks

The contents of semi trucks passing Adventure Crossing are more dangerous to his customers than passing helicopters, maybe Mr. Smith should ask the State to re-rout I-20 so his patrons are safe. With regards to noise, I wonder which takes longer and which is louder, a helicopter taking off or landing or the employees of Adventure Crossing using backpack blowers to clean their site? Maybe Gold Cross could take a few low passes, thrill the kids and clean up Adventure Crossing more quickly and effectively!

THE GAME INSIDE THE GAME
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THE GAME INSIDE THE GAME 02/20/08 - 09:57 am
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Is this an alternate site or

Is this an alternate site or are they going to discontinue using the hospital landing pad ?

CHIEF
2
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CHIEF 02/20/08 - 10:23 am
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CROSS NEEDS NO LANDING SITE,

CROSS NEEDS NO LANDING SITE, They can use the one at Doctors or move to Appling we Pam T

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/20/08 - 02:16 pm
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Let's face it. The kids at

Let's face it. The kids at Adventure Crossing will LOVE watching the helicopters take off and land. They don't care how loud the helicopters are!

iluvdundee
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iluvdundee 02/20/08 - 05:56 pm
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gold cross does not own the

gold cross does not own the site at doctor's hospital, and the landing pad at doctor's hospital sometimes gets crowded with helicopters from throughout the south east that are dropping off other burn patients. i work for gold cross and appreciate having the helicopter when needed. and when it comes to landing them on scenes, they take every precaution into consideration, not only for themselves, but for ems on the ground, our pt's, and bystanders. they also do not fly in bad weather. so to have a malfunction with one of those helicopters is not likely. and to be honest they are not that loud. if gc/airmed were that concerned about the helicopter being too close to adventure crossing, they would not have even considered the area. remember, that helicopter is a life saver when you need it in a hurry. just imagine how many burn victims it brings in weekly. or how many scene calls it does for the csra or its surroundings. when you read in the newspaper that victims were "airlifted out", thats usually airmed, and always keep in the back of your mind that you may be injuried bad enough that you might need it. wouldnt you want it fairly close to you when you need it?

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