Welcome to the web site of
Citizens Against Lake County Lost Nation Airport.
We are a group of citizens disappointed in the plan of the Lake County, Ohio
Commissioners to purchase Willoughby Lost Nation Municipal Airport without the
consideration of all the residents of Lake County.
If you feel the same way, check out the Contact Us page to get a list of phone
numbers and email addresses of elected officials and let them know how you
Also look at the News Articles pages and read quotes by the commissioners and
questions posed by us.
The Lake County Port Authority should not run Lost Nation Airport
The idea that the Port Authority should assume ownership and run Lost Nation Airport is completely ridiculous!!!!!
No credible evidence has been presented to indicate that ownership of the airport represents an enhanced value to the county compared to the city of
Willoughby. And what is the value of the airport to Willoughby? Debt, debt, debt followed by taxes, taxes, taxes.
It is patently obvious that this continuing saga of the purported "value of Lost Nation Airport" to Lake County is driven by a select few politically connected
individuals who aren't paying attention to the citizens of Lake County. How can the members of the Lake County Board of Commissioners, the Port
Authority, or self-serving leaders not see this is a folly of the grandest proportion? What will it take to open your eyes?
Get your heads out of the clouds! You have a responsibility to protect the financial viability of the county, not pursue foolish adventures in an attempt to boost
your myopic vision of grand schemes at taxpayer expense.
The citizens of Lake County have made it clear that we do not need the airport. And we do not think it will add to the value of our county, but it will increase
The News-Herald Letter to the Editor Feburary 7, 2013. Larry D. Smith, Ph.D. Mentor
The Numbers Don’t Lie
This analysis provided to us
explains the only value in Lost
Nation Airport is the land. And this
is what the City of Willoughby
wants to give away to the County
for a meager $750,000.
These numbers don’t lie.
See for yourself Lost Nation
Airports inability to support itself.
To read this report with notations,
FLYING WITH THE CHANGES LOST NATION AIRPORT CONTINUES MASSIVE
From his glass-enclosed perch about 35 feet above Runway 5, air traffic controller Steve Tyler has seen Lost Nation
Municipal Airport take flight.
The airport has undergone a $14.4 million transformation since 1986, when Willoughby bought the then-55 year-old
airport from Case Western Reserve University. And more improvements are coming. "It's like the phoenix rising out of
the ashes," said Tyler, who has worked at the airport since 1989. "'We went from a 1950's style airport to a 1980s
airport, but we did it in about four years. We crammed in a decade of change in four years. "
Both of the airport's runways have been widened and resurfaced to handle every type of aircraft from single-engine
prop planes to corporate jets. About 100 acres of trees were cleared and removed, as well as 13 homes on Butternut
Lane in Mentor, because they posed obstructions to planes taking off and landing.
The city has purchased 79 acres of property to further ease the takeoff and landing of airplanes and added new
runway lighting and navigational equipment. "It's quite a difference," Tyler said.
When it was privately owned, the airport was not required to meet FAA mandates. But once Willoughby bought it
had to conform to those rules to receive federal funding, said airport manager David Ivey.
The FAA has financed 90 percent of the capital improvements. The Ohio Department of Transportation's division of
aviation chipped in 5 percent and the city put in the remaining 5 percent, or about $725,000.
And more changes are coming to the 472-acre airport. The beige brick terminal and adjacent hangar, the signature
buildings along Lost Nation Rd. will be razed. These buildings, plus six underground fuel storage tanks, must be
removed because the FAA has identified them as obstructions, Ivey said.
With the demolition of the hangar -a $450,000 project scheduled for early next year -and the two-story terminal
building -slated for some time in the next two years -the majority of FAA-mandated improvements will be done, Ivey
"That's really going to clean up that portion of the airport," Ivey said.
The FAA will pay to demolish the terminal but not to replace it, Ivey said. So he is reviewing options on how to
The city might build a new terminal and rent part of it. Or it could turn construction over to a developer and the city
would rent what it needed from the developer. The preliminary estimate for a new two-story brick terminal and tower
is about $750,000, Ivey said. The new terminal would be built on the northwest corner of the airport off Jet Center Dr.,
where it will not be an obstruction.
A tower is not required by the FAA because of the airport's size. Lost Nation will have about 45,000 takeoffs and
landings this year. But Ivey said the City Council is committed to keeping a tower to protect nearby residential
developments in Willoughby and Mentor. An air traffic controller, on duty from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, coordinates
aircraft takeoffs and landings to ensure safety.
The airport is a tremendous asset not just to Willoughby, but to Lake County, and the City Council is committed to
keeping it said Wade A. Mitchell, chairman of the city's Airport Commission, a five-member group that oversees the
airport and makes policy recommendations to the council, which is the ultimate authority.
Despite the recent improvements, the airport remains unprofitable. But the goal is to get airport-related business,
such as corporate jet storage, into the airport, Mitchell said.
The airport has mailed out about 1,000 one-page brochures pushing the benefits of locating businesses at the
airport. "The airport has made some pretty good strides in the years the city has owned it," Mitchell said. "It's
coming. It's not the speediest process in the world. But it's getting there."
By John Kuehner - The Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 21, 1994
Willoughby agrees to new deal
with new Lost Nation FBO
The city of Willoughby came to
terms on a lease and operating
agreement with Classic Jet Center
LLC on Monday that allows the
Mentor-based company to become
the new fixed base operator at Lost
Nation Municipal Airport.
Classic Jet Center is expected to
provide all the same services as the
former fixed base operator,
including selling and delivering fuel,
providing parking, storage and
tie-down services to aircraft, and
offering repair and maintenance to
planes, according to the
"I think it's going to be a lot of fun,"
said Jim Brown, owner of Classic
Jet Center as well as Classic Auto
Group. "Hopefully, we can bring an
element of professionalism out
there that we run through our auto
Willoughby City Council voted last
week to authorize Mayor David
Anderson to enter into an
agreement with Classic Jet Center,
but an agreement wasn't finalized
and signed until Monday — the day
the former fixed base operator, T&G
Flying Club, was due to leave
because of a court settlement.
"I think it's exciting for the city to
have someone of Jim Brown's
business stature make a
commitment like this to the
airport," Anderson said.
The terms of the agreement start
today and continue through May
31, 2016 — the same date on
which all new Lost Nation-related
contracts are set to expire,
The News-Herald September 1, 2009
The Lake County Port
Authority has selected
Michael Baker Corp. as the
consultant for the airport
Let’s hope they use the
real numbers of aircraft
operations not the inflated
“training touch & go”
These training flights DO
NOT provide any REAL
economic value to Lake
Jim Brown got tired of leaving the Lake County Port Authority board room
The head of Classic Auto Group became exasperated with warding off conflict-of-interest perceptions regarding his
standing as both a member of the Port Authority Board of Directors and the fixed base operator at Lost Nation
Airport, where the Port Authority is engaged in a best-use study for the airport’s future. Leaving for a portion of the
most recent Port Authority meeting, though voluntarily, might have been the last straw since it was held at Brown’s
own Classic Lexus dealership in Willoughby Hills.
Brown will no longer have such worries. He confirmed his resignation from the Port Authority board on Thursday. It is
effective immediately. “The most important thing for me being on the Port Authority board was reviving the airport, but
now I couldn’t (be on the board) because I’m investing in it,” said Brown, who owns a hangar there as well as Classic
Jet Center LLC, the airport’s FBO. “There was no conflict of interest, but there could have been if I stayed on. “It all
came to light when I had to leave the room because discussions of the airport came up. I couldn’t be on the board
passing legislation that would impact business over there when I happen to own two of them.”
Even though Brown says resigning is a decision “I really hated to do,” he has mentioned stepping away should
conflict-of-interest chatter arise ever since Classic Jet became the FBO in September. “I just didn’t want that to
happen,” he said, “but I had to do it.”
County commissioners appointed Brown to the board in April. He took over former member Ed Crawford’s unexpired
term that ends Dec. 31, 2011. He said none of the board members or commissioners ever asked him to resign or
had much of an issue with his business dealings at Lost Nation.
Commissioner Raymond E. Sines said commissioners will search for a replacement beginning next week.
“Hopefully we’ll get someone in who is a business person in the county,” Sines said. “I think that’s what the position
Brown says he plans on revitalizing the airport and attracting business to it as the FBO, which was why he wanted
to get on the board in the first place. “As far as I’m concerned, that airport is a jewel, the crown jewel of Lake
County,” Brown said. “If it were under the right conditions, it could bring in a lot of jobs and business.”
The News-Herald December 31, 2009
Jim Brown appointed to Lake Port Authority board of directors
Lake County commissioners have appointed a well-known businessman to the Lake County Port Authority board of
directors. Jim Brown, president and owner of Classic Auto Group, replaces Edward Crawford, who is chairman of
Park Ohio, based in Euclid. Commissioners made Brown’s appointment Thursday, and he will complete Crawford’s
unexpired term that ends Dec. 31, 2011. Brown was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon.
In his resignation letter to the county commissioners, Crawford cited that he has less time for the Port Authority.
“The time I will be able to spend on my important role as a Port Authority board member has been greatly reduced,"
Crawford wrote. "I am sure you will be able to introduce a new member to this wonderful opportunity to serve the
Seven individuals appointed by commissioners comprise the Port Authority's board, which was formed in 2007.
Commissioner Raymond E. Sines said Brown will make a fine addition to the Port Authority.
"Obviously he has a great investment in Lake County with the businesses he has," the commissioner said.
"He is one of the people who know Lake County and has invested a lot of money in the county and has been
successful. That's the type we want on the Port Authority."
The New-Herald April 24, 2009
Jim Brown keeps a private jet at Lost Nation Airport and now, as a Port Authority board
member, is in a position to influence a county purchase of Lost Nation Airport.
Hmmm...sounds like a 'Classic' example of the fox guarding the henhouse.
We have all heard the statement, "if you build it, they will come"....it has been nearly 20 years and they have built it,
and NO ONE HAS COME. Maybe it's time to use this property for something other than an airport
Lake County Lost Nation Airport