COLE QUESTIONS AIR FORCE'S AUTHORITY TO REOPEN SAMPSON
Washington (GNS) Question as to whether the Air Force has authority to reactivate the former Naval Training Station at Sampson was raised to day by Rep. W. Sterling Cole (R-NY) of Bath.
He warned Air Force Secretary Thomas K. Finletter to get legislation for this Congressional session to authorize "public expenditure" at Sampson, and thus avoid delays similar to those met in the development of the Griffiss Air Force Base at Rome, NY.
"So far as I am aware, there is no statutory authority for appropriation and use of public funds for rehabilitation and development of the former Naval Training Station at Sampson, presently planned to be utilized by the Air Force," Cole, a House Armed Services Committee member wrote Finletter.
"Having in mind the dislocations, uncertainties, difficulties and personal hardships that were occasioned in connection with the Air Force program for rehabilitation of the Rome depot, I am hoping that this situation can be averted," he said, "and that the Air Force will submit appropriate legislation at this session of the Congress authorizing public expenditures at Sampson."
"So far as I know, expenditures of this size and for this purpose cannot be made without the direct authorization of Congress," Cole told Gannett News Service, "perhaps the Air Force has other ideas and will be able to go ahead without further Congressional action. That's what I want to find out from Mr. Finletter - to make sure there are no hitches.
The Air Force told Cole today that the East Hill Airport at Ithaca which Cole had suggested as an adjunct to Sampson, was suitable "only for small administrative type aircraft."
Cole's letter to Finletter was answered by Col. Earle W. Hockenberry, assistant director of legislation and liaison for the Air Force.
The Congressman labeled the reply "wishy-washy."
Colonel Hockenberry wrote that there are two landing strips at East Hill, one 3,000 foot asphalt the other 3,800 foot gravel. Because of the type of aircraft being used by the military services these strips are suitable only for small administrative type aircraft," said Hockenberry, "in the interest of flying safety, all other aircraft would be required to utilize other airports."
Privately-owned airports are not available for government use without payment of landing fees, Hockenberry continued. If East Hill Airport operators intend to allow small transient military aircraft to use the field without charge, he suggest they write Air Force Materiel Headquarters here.
"Action can then be taken to consummate an agreement covering use of the airport" by such planes without charge, he said.