Pilot recalls old friend that has become BWI


Passengers aboard a recent US Airways flight from Charlotte to Baltimore felt as if they had passed through a time warp; some suspected the pilot had secretly made a loop through the Bermuda Triangle. (Or, something like that.) Toward the end of the one-hour, 16-minute Flight 1538 on July 20, the pilot announced that he was beginning his approach "to Friendship Airport." Whoa! Was the flying ace at the helm a bit addled, or just sentimental? We hadn't heard that one in years. But it reminded us of the wonderful name our airport had more than two decades ago, before it became the blah BWI in 1973. Further, it made us wonder where they are now -- those scattered members of the Change The Name Back To Friendship Airport Society (probably one of them was in the cockpit on Flight 1538) -- and whether they can be reactivated.

Is he onto something?

The uncharacteristic stubbornness the mayor of Baltimore has displayed in the convention hotel fiasco might suggest that he knows something the rest of us don't. Last week, the Greater Baltimore Committee sent him a letter saying it was a mistake to develop the Paterakis-Wyndham hotel at Inner Harbor East before building a hotel much closer -- like, across the street -- to the Baltimore Convention Center. The same has been said by numerous legislative and civic leaders, not to mention experts in the convention trade.

The mayor's response? "My response . . . was the action we took today at the Board of Estimates." (The mayor and the board voted 5-0 to approve the Paterakis-Wyndham deal.) He seems quite sure of himself, doesn't he? A citizen might be tempted to think that our Ivy League mayor is on to something grand, something ingenious, something the rest of us have missed in our contemplations of a major convention hotel being built a mile away from the convention center. Could the mayor actually be right on this one?

No. He's not right. He's just stuck with a bad decision.

"You can't worry about what people will be thinking 30 years from now," the mayor said in an interview with The Sun published over the weekend. "I don't think people remember who the mayor even was."

To which William Donald Schaefer might respond: Speak for yourself, bud.

Pavilion has potential

Go gawk ASAP at the new, smartly designed open-air pavilion at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Its copper roof, clear-story windows and frame of heavy timbers conjure images of a classic Maryland crab-picking house, or perhaps a public market. It makes an impressive centerpiece for the waterfront park that's planned for the site. The park, adjacent to the museum off Key Highway, is expected to be the southern terminus of the 6 1/2 -mile Canton-Locust Point Harborwalk promenade. There's also a water taxi dock there. (Yes, you can get there from here, and it would be cool to have Harborwalk eventually open to bicycle and in-line skate traffic, too.) The pavilion looks like a terrific party locale, a good place for a crab feast or a small concert. There's a nice view of the harbor and plenty of off-street parking. Great potential there.

Fuming over bank fees

A few weeks ago, TJI reported that NationsBank will soon charge customers a dollar for using savings deposit and withdrawal forms. Everyone gets one free use of a form per month. But any deposits or withdrawals after that are subject to the charge, unless a customer uses a personalized form sent to them by the bank. (Customers with Advantage and Advantage For Seniors accounts are exempt.) Our pal Joey Amalfitano has discovered that the new policy applies to checking accounts, as well. After returning from his NationsBank branch Friday afternoon, he called with a gripe. "When I asked why there were no checking deposit forms in plain sight, the teller gave me one and said that after, Aug. 1, it's gonna cost me $1 to use one," Joey says. "She said they can't read them downtown so they want people to use the printed ones. It's a dollar if you don't."

Hey, Joe, you should have seen this one coming.

Surveying by satellite

Carroll County has developed a system for land surveys based on data transmitted from outer space. Global Positioning Satellite technology (GPS) relies on military satellites to pinpoint exact ground coordinates. County engineers are swearing by the system as a way to establish land boundaries accurately and keep track of developments. But one official remains skeptical.

"All signals come from outer space," said Howard Noll, county engineering bureau chief. "There is no chance of an error."

"Except from those little men up there," said County Commissioner Richard T. Yates.

Yates said that with a straight face, folks. And no one in the room laughed.

Pub Date: 7/28/97

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