The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Paine Field

Facts needed to make argument

Regarding the Saturday guest commentary, "Change will crowd out Boeing" by Vicki Derks: Her argument focuses on the supposed effect on Boeing and the possibility they could decide to leave Paine Field as a result. In support of her argument, she offers the case of "Lansair" in Oregon and invites readers to "do the research."
I did the research and I'd like to offer the following information in response:
There appears to be no "Lansair" anywhere. There is, however, a Lancair International headquartered in Redmond, Ore. which is an avionics company that builds aircraft kits. In an attempt to produce models that would gain FAA certification, in 2000, a new division was formed which eventually became Columbia Aircraft. In 2003, Lancair was sold to a hobbyist and remains intact as Lancair International today (originally based at the Bend Municipal Airport).
In 2009, Lancair moved its headquarters to a building that was 50 percent larger at the Redmond airport, a mere 16 miles away. The Columbia Aircraft division was retained as a separate company, went bankrupt in 2007 and was sold to Cessna. During the early part of 2009, due to a horrible first quarter earnings report, Cessna decided to close operations at the Bend Municipal Airport and move production to Kansas, creating a loss of 150 jobs for the Bend area.
There appears to be no connection between the actions of the Lancair company and Allegiant Air. The Bend Municipal Airport is a "high activity business and general aviation airport," not a commercial airport. Allegiant Air has never flown from that airport. Instead, Allegiant Air flew from the nearby Redmond airport (to which the surviving Lancair organization moved its operations in 2009). At most, the job loss when Cessna closed their operations at Bend airport was 150, not 650 as claimed by Derks.
It had nothing to do with Allegiant's presence or supposed conflicts with Lancair's ability to "fly unobstructed as needed." In fact, in August 2012, Allegiant Air stopped flying out of Redmond so it was they who left the area, not the other way around. Lancair is still there, continuing what appears to be a long tradition of building aircraft kits and providing jobs for the neighboring communities.
This is a sensitive issue with highly inflamed opinions on both sides. There are some of us who'd really like to understand the issue and derive an informed opinion. Publishing Derks' piece doesn't help us at all and, in fact, makes it harder to come to a factual conclusion because of the misinformation contained therein. Perhaps The Herald might keep that in mind the next time they consider a submitted opinion piece.
Greg Brummer
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