FAA letter: Dayton airport was without rescue vehicles for nearly 90 minutes

One of the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicles at the Dayton International Airport. Contributed photo

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One of the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicles at the Dayton International Airport. Contributed photo

Notice of civil penalty alleges seven flights at a time when airport lacked fire vehicles ready for service

For nearly 90 minutes on a February morning last year — as seven airplanes took off or landed — Dayton International Airport did not have aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles ready for service, according to new details of allegations by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA has proposed a civil penalty of $167,343 against Dayton city government. On Tuesday, the city said in a brief statement that it will appeal. City of Dayton aviation director Gilbert Turner and a city spokeswoman have declined a Dayton Daily News reporter’s requests for an interview.

According to a Dec. 1, 2021 FAA letter to Turner, which the Dayton Daily News obtained Wednesday, a Dayton airport aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicle was out of service for the whole day Feb. 13, 2020.

As a result, the airport should have had two such vehicles remaining for service that morning, said the letter — a “notice of civil penalty” sent by certified mail from Kyle Lomazow, who works with the FAA’s enforcement division, Western team.

ExplorePrevious: Dayton to appeal FAA-proposed $167K civil penalty on airport

But between 8:10 a.m. and 9:36 a.m. that day, the Dayton airport had two vehicles — dubbed in the letter “R20″ and “R23″ — “out of service due to mechanical failures,” the letter states.

“As a result,” Lomazow’s letter says, “DAY (Dayton International Airport) did not have any ARFF vehicles in service during the time period referenced” earlier in the letter.

An FAA spokesman declined to make anyone available for an interview on the matter Wednesday.

The leaders of the DPSU Local 101 and IAFF Local 136 unions representing city workers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to the FAA’s account of events at the airport that morning, vehicle R23 was returned to service between 9:36 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

The airport was required to notify the FAA and each air carrier of the situation regarding aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles.

Stated the FAA: “DAY failed to make those required notifications.”

While three ARFF vehicles were out of service, three Delta Airlines flights, two PSA Airlines flights and two Endeavor Air flights “performed air carrier operations” at the Dayton airport, according to the FAA.

The letter cites three regulations it says the city of Dayton appeared to violate. One regulation states that if any required ARFF vehicle becomes inoperative, it “must be replaced immediately with equipment having at least equal capabilities.”

A statement from the city says that, “The city of Dayton Department of Aviation will appeal the proposed civil penalty and will not comment until after the appeal hearing and a final decision has been made by the FAA.”

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