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Dane County Regional Airport Earns FAA Safety Excellence Award

January 07, 2003
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823 Dave Jensen (608) 246-3387

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US Department of Transportation has awarded The Dane County Regional Airport the Airport Safety Excellence Award. The award comes after the airport passed an FAA inspection in October with absolutely no deficiencies, which is very uncommon, said Interim Airport Director Dave Jensen. Four of the airport’s last six certification inspections revealed no violations. “Thousands of people use our airport every day. When people board an airplane in Madison, they are using one of the safest airports in the country. That is the standard we and our great airport staff set for ourselves,” said Falk. FAA inspectors annually conduct a thorough review of airfield operations to determine compliance with airport safety standards. In October, FAA inspectors spent two days reviewing training records, crash response time, self-inspections, and other airfield maintenance and operations procedures. In one test, the inspector went to the air traffic control tower, where he used the “crash phone” to alert the airport rescue and fire fighting squad to a simulated crash, testing the response time. The airport fire squad was able to reach the site and begin spreading fire-retarding foam within three minutes. “This inspection is the big one for us,” said Jensen. “If safety violations are found, the airport can be shut down.” The FAA official who conducted the inspection nominated Dane County Regional Airport for the award. “The management team and staff have shown a willingness to be innovative, and they have implemented several significant airfield safety enhancements which are worthy of FAA recognition. Their commitment has resulted in maintaining the highest level of safety. The community and airport users can be proud of their dedication and professionalism, which is consistently reflected by an impressive airport facility and operation,” the nomination stated. Among the 15 items specifically mentioned in the award nomination, were: -- All runways are monitored via closed caption TV, which is monitored from the Airport Operations Center. -- The airport is continually staffed with certified emergency medical technicians, far exceeding the minimum requirements for medically trained personnel. -- The minimum experience for Operations Supervisors is a four-year degree and two years prior airport experience. -- The airport has added a new taxiway connector to eliminate aircraft from back-taxi on the runway. -- The airport has an exemplary airfield driver safety program (that has been adapted for use at airports around the nation). “This award is a testament to our operations and maintenance staff and how hard they work at what they do,” said Jensen. # # #
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