Program overview and history of the aircraft transformation
This project focuses on the economic viability of converting military aircrafts into a civilian commercial airline in Southern California, with a specific focus on the much-praised V22 Osprey. As Andrzej and Buchaman (2007) state, V22 Osprey is one of the most efficient US military planes with the capacity to carry heavy cargo and land like a helicopter, using a three bladed proprietor and a turboprop engine.
It is common phenomena in the United States to see a government corporation converted into private utility through sale. It is also common for a public company within this country to be publicly traded such that the ownership is changed. However, this project covers what is beyond this. The military of the United States is considered as the best in the world. Military operations in the world and especially in the United States are always considered a high secret that no civilian should be made aware. The United States, being the only super power in the world, has so many enemies that it has to face in the process of carrying out various activities. For this reason therefore, it is always very keen to ensure that it keeps all operative measures a secret. They have to keep all their operations away from public knowledge. This would involve keeping all the materials they use away from the reach of the public. Some of the most important materials that the military use in their operative processes are the planes and the airfield that they use in their operations. By converting the military plains and airfield to commercial planes and airports may expose the military intelligence to the public and even the enemy. As such, the military of this country has been keen to avoid such awkward situations. Laws and regulations have been put in place to ensure that such cases are avoided at all cost to ensure the security of the country
Despite these security concerns and measures put in place by various agencies within the country to avoid such conversions, a few cases have been recorded where such conversions have taken place (Taborda, 2011). Japan was one of the countries that considered converting some of their warplanes and military airfields into commercial planes and airports. During the World Wars, many countries increased their military capacity, especially the planes and the airfields. When the war ended, these facilities became idle and this prompted the government to turn them into commercial planes. Since then, Toffler (1991) observes that many other countries, including the United States have considered taking this approach.
This project therefore seeks to investigate the process of converting military planes and military airfield into commercial planes and airports respectively in Southern California. It is a project of its kind, and it is hoped that this decision would bring positive impact to the government and people within this region.
Justification of the project
It is a common knowledge that the military must maintain secrecy of its operations and such actions as releasing their materials that have been in use for public use. However, instances do arise where a plane is no longer of use to the military. The public could only use the plane. In such cases, it would only be logical to convert that plane to a commercial plane so that it continues to be productive. V22 Osprey is one such special case, which would demand a lot of attention to ensure that is done successfully and without putting the military operations at risk. A number of issues can cause this relocation. In that case, again it would also be prudent that the facility is converted into a commercial airfield to increase its productivity. This project therefore seeks to investigate a safe process in which a military plane and airfield can be transformed into a productive commercial planes and airports.
As stated in the proposal, the idea of the conversion of V22 Osprey from military to civilian use is to allocate available resources for economic benefits. This chapter therefore seeks to come up with management operations and principles that would ensure total compliance and success of the project. The following are some of the specific objectives of the project
- To determine the best approach through which military planes, and specificallyV22 Osprey can be converted into commercial airplanes to the benefit of the locals and the government.
- To communicate the benefits that would accrue from such conversions to the public and the government.
- Clearly states some of the risks that this project may face and determine mitigation measures to ensure that the project is as productive as possible.
This chapter seeks to investigate some of the literatures that exist on this topic. Aviation as an industry and as a discipline has attracted a lot of attention of the world’s societies. Many scholars have therefore come out strongly to help explain some phenomena in this field. Because of this, there is enough literature that exists in this topic. Anderson (2011) says that the aviation sector in the United States is one of the most developed in the world. This scholar notes that this sector has had a growth since the onset of the First World War. Daft, (2009), who argues that one of the most developed air forces in the world is that of the United States, supports this fact. This scholar notes that the department of defense in the country has several planes that are within the military facilities but are not in use. This, according to the scholar, is brought about by the dynamism of technology. Technology is changing very fast and with these changes comes the need to ensure that the military adapts to them. Emerging technologies have rendered various military planes irrelevant, according to Fayol (1949). The scholar emphasizes that when new technologies bring about new and better designs of planes, it would force the concerned authorities to avoid usage of the previous planes due to their vulnerability. Griffin (2002) suggests that such planes should be converted into commercial planes to be used by the public.
Andrzej and Buchaman (2007)) report that Southern California is not new to conversion of military airfields into civilian airports. This scholar notes that immediately after the Second World War, various military airfields were converted into airports. According to the above scholar, various military airports in this region have since been converted into commercial airfields. Some of the military airfields that were converted into civilian airports include Camarillo Airport and then known as Oxnard AFB before it was closed in 1971. This scholar also identifies George AFB, March AFB, Norton AFB, and MCAS El Toro that were formerly military facilities. Palmdale Plant 42 and NAWS Point Mugu. A number of challenges faced the Air Force Camp in this region. There was an increasing population in this region. Los Angeles was first turning into a mega-metropolis. The region became very congested and pollution was a common phenomena. The concerned authorities were concerned of the repercussions of the growing slums and therefore felt that there was every need to ensure that the trend was changed. As such, the authorities made all the efforts to reduce any form of pollution in this region. Even with these changes, the Commandant of the Air Force in this region constantly received constant complaints from the public about the noise from the military jets. It therefore forced the Air Force Commandants to relocate the camp to a different region that was not as congested as this region. This facility was therefore changed from a military airfield to a civilian commercial airport where planes, which were a lot less noisy, landed. This turned out to be very profitable and a lot more beneficial to the people around this place. With this conversion also came a number of conversions of military aircrafts into civilian commercial airplanes.
Aviation legislation is one of the most important factors that regulate the process of converting a military facility into a civilian institution. According to this scholar, this process is considered to empower the community. This scholar argues that a military Airbase would have very limited benefit to the community around it. With a military facility, the community would have no benefit to this society in direct terms. However, by converting it into a civilian commercial airport, the region would be turned into a business hub. It would be a transport center and therefore would open up to new investments.
This chapter focuses on various aspects of research development. It includes methods of data collection, analysis and presentation. Every research project applies a certain research method to achieve its objectives depending on its goals. The methods used to conduct research in this project are compared closely with the methods proposed in the project proposal (Anderson, 2004). In research, design deals primarily with aims, uses, purposes, intentions, and plans within the practical constraints of time, location, money, and availability of staff (Hakim, 2000). In this study, respondents were briefed in advance. The officials of Southern California Association of Governments were given relevant notice by the researcher. The study population was also amicably informed to get prepared for the study. Briefing was important because it could enhance reliability of the study. It is also ethical to inform people before researching on them. The findings were also made public to the researched as one way of ensuring morality in the study. Furthermore, the researcher observed researcher-researcher ethics by keeping away from criticism (Delving, 2006). The response rate was high because the researcher insisted that the study was purely academic. This encouraged many of the respondents to fill in their questionnaires.
This research utilized quantitative research methods in conducting the study and collecting data. Quantitative research was used although because it aims at summarizing data mathematically. In this regard, the research took the form of a survey, whereby the researcher identified some individuals and posted questionnaires to them. The sampled population was selected randomly to eliminate biases. The researcher made follow-ups by conducting respondents on phone. Interviewing is another method of data collection that was used in this research. The researcher extracted more information from respondents by calling them.
There were two key methods used to gather information in this report. The first one was through a questionnaire, which was administered online to the staff at the Southern California Association of Governments. The questionnaire sought to capture various attitudes of staff at the Southern California Association of Governments regarding their attitude toward the process of converting military airfields and planes to civilian airports and commercial airplanes. The second source of information used for the research was literature on various issues relating to aviation and the process of converting a military facility into a civilian utility. The focus of the literature review was to find information on the process of converting the military airfield into civilian airports and also to determine the current state of research in the conversion of military planes into commercial airlines. The questionnaire had four Parts. The first part sought to capture the biodata information of respondents. The second part dealt with the demography and gender of the respondents. This was to ascertain the prevalence of views in various categories to ensure that if any differences came about, then they would be captured in their demographic space. The third part dealt with academic credentials and work experience. The motivation for this section came from the understanding that different sections of population respond differently to motivators, based on age and academic credentials. The fourth part delved into the specific issues relating to the conversion of military airfields and planes into civilian commercial airports and planes, starting from the understanding of the concept to the possible effects it would have on the people around this locality.
The questionnaire also employed a mix of open ended and closed ended questions to capture different aspects of issues studied. Open ended questions were used because they give respondents more time to figure out their opinions, which would make them volunteer more information related to feelings, outlooks and comprehension of the subject. This would allow a researcher to understand the position of respondents as regards to feelings. Open ended questions minimize some errors that could have been created in the course of research. Respondents rarely forget answers if allowed to respond freely. Furthermore, respondents cannot ignore some questions because they must go through all of them. Open ended questions generate data that can be used in data analysis by other researchers. In other words, they allow secondary data analysis. On the other hand, closed-ended questions are analyzed easily. That is why they were used in this study (Earl, 2009). Each response can be coded for statistical interpretation. Nonetheless, closed-ended questions are compatible with computer analysis package. The technique is more specific meaning that its answers are consistent in all conditions. This aspect is impossible with open-ended questions because each respondent is allowed to use his/her own words. Finally, closed-ended questions take less time to administer unlike open-ended questions, which are detailed hence time consuming.
The questionnaire was sent to respondents through the internet that is, the researcher mailed the questions to respective respondents. The researcher arrived at this decision after considering time and resources. The method is costless and less time consuming. Furthermore, the method allows respondents to reflect on the questions and answer them accurately. Employing research assistants would be problematic because of the sensitivity of the study. Many people would be reluctant to give their views freely. The method is ineffective because answers are not independent of themselves. The respondent might not have filled the questions themselves. Moreover, the method is affected by the respondent’s level of literacy. One big disadvantage of the technique is that there is no interaction between the researcher and the researched. This means that respondent’s reactions are not captured. Reactions are important because they give more information regarding to the feelings of respondents. Generally, the technique is more applicable where the researcher is interested in numbers, not deep feelings of the respondent. In this study, the researcher is interested in identifying the number of people who felt that okay to convert a military aircraft, especially V22 Osprey, into a civilian commercial airplane.
The literature collected provided information regarding various theories related to project management spread across the last four decades. This provides a historical perspective since the area of project management started receiving specific attention at that period. Secondly, the literature availed a number of theories dealing with the projects and project risks in the business world. The Southern California Association of Governments fits well within this parameter. Finally, the literature provided information on the state of research on the field. Various researchers have conducted studies on various elements of project management and all other factors that are related successful implementation of various projects (Marczyk, DeMatteo & Festinger 2010). This gave the study a sound academic backing and a strong basis for drawing comparisons and conclusions.
The use of the questionnaire made it possible to capture issues that are unique to the Southern California Association of Governments. This is because there was no accessible literature with required degree of relevance to the subject matter about the Southern California Association of Governments. The targeted staff responded to the questionnaire online. The availability of staff influenced the choice of this method because the Southern California Association of Governments operates throughout and therefore it is not possible at any one time to find all of them in one place. An online questionnaire reduced the costs of data collection, assured confidentiality, and was available throughout for the staff for a fixed period. After collection, the data went through analysis, culminating the observations and conclusions discussed in chapter three and four, respectively.
Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
The study utilized deductive scaffold because some theories were used to give a certain picture of the study. Deductive reasoning starts by analyzing some concepts before moving to the field to confirm the claims. The researcher analyzed some theories related to project management before moving to the field to collect data. The technique is constructive because it equips the researcher with relevant information. In other words, deductive reasoning moves from generalizations to the specific idea. Two theories were first analyzed before moving to the field.
The most applicable sampling method for this exercise was random sampling. Considering that the targeted population consisted of a section of the officials at Southern California Association of Governments, there was not much risk of having biased data. If the survey needed to cover the entire staff of the Southern California Association of Governments, systematic sampling coupled with stratified sampling would be ideal to ensure cross-departmental representation. However, this survey targeted just a section of the staff hence random sampling proved sufficient to collect required data.
Secondary Data Used
Secondary data for analysis in this project came from various publications. These included reports, journal articles, and research publications. Most of it related to the work that other researchers in the field of motivation undertook. The other areas where the literature review covered include principles of project management. The nature of material used varied. Journals dealing with specific aspects of project management provided specific information on specific research elements investigated by researchers. Some reports from intergovernmental organizations proved useful in providing information on the conversion of military airfields into civilian airports. From these sources, several findings came to the fore.
The online questionnaire provided the means of collecting primary data for this project. The survey covered 15 officials working across various shifts at the Southern California Association of Governments. This sample is representative of the entire cadre of staff targeted by the survey in the Southern California Association of Governments. The choice of respondents was by random sampling based on the individual’s willingness to participate. The questionnaire had a mixture of open ended and closed ended questions. This design enabled the study to provide as much detail as possible while eliminating the risk of high variance in responses. The administration of the questionnaires took place online because of varying working hours. In addition, it eased access to the questionnaire. After filing in the soft copy, respondents sent it to a designated email address. This measure resulted to reduced costs of transport and accommodation. The expenses could be occasioned by physical administration of questionnaires. Moreover, it saved research time because it was easy to transfer the information from a soft copy to the analysis software (Bouma, 2000). Finally, it did not generate any paper waste hence contributing to environmental conservation.
Validity and Reliability
Reliability means appropriateness, applicability and truthfulness of a study. Research instruments can produce results that are in agreement with theoretical and conceptual values. In this study, internal validity was ensured through checking the representativeness of the sample. The researcher ensured that the sample used captured all important characters at the Southern California Association of Governments. External validity was ensured through triangulation that is, the researcher used more than one technique in collecting data. External validity was also guaranteed by asking respondents to give their views.
Reliability means that the study is consistent and lacks any ambiguity. It is related to the accuracy of instruments that is, how accurate the measuring device is in measuring what it claims to measure. In this study, it was achieved through increasing verifiability of the perspective. The researcher adopted the principles of coherence, openness and discourse to guarantee reliability.
Research methodology is an important aspect of any research because it determines the successfulness of any study. This study employed quantitative research method because it was interested in summarizing facts mathematically. A questionnaire was utilized in collecting data because it could easily be mailed to respondents. The researcher made sure that validity and reliability are catered for in the study. Validity and reliability of a study increase its viability. The researcher ensured that the study is viable by following all the rules and principles of academic research.
Analysis of the Data
Case Study: Palm Spring International Airport
Palm Spring International Airport is currently one of the leading commercial airports in California State, located approximately 3 kilometers eastern part of the central business district and serving Inland Empire Metropolis in Southern California. This airport covers a land area of 940 acres and uses two runways. It is very seasonal.
This airport was not originally constructed as a civilian airport, but a military airbase. It was constructed as an emergency landing airfield for United States Army Corps in 1939 on a land that was owned by Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The motivation to build this airbase in this location was because the clear weather and its closeness to the March Field. This made it easy for the military personnel to practice easily. In 1941, this airbase was improved to act as a staging field for Air Corps. This was considered as the main airbase within this region and it acted as the training ground for the newly recruited army officers in this state. The Air Force Commandants found this location as an ideal to train and live in. By 1942, Palm Springs Army Airfield was improved and many army officers stayed at Lapez Guest Ranch, which was near the facility.
The city was fast turning into a highly cosmopolitan place. People from various locations around the world came to this city to trade, for job opportunities, as tourists or for other reasons. The military airbase was then considered as a nuisance in this locality, especially due to its noise. The locals could not withstand the noise from the military planes, especially the jets. As such, they partitioned the government and the military commandants to consider relocating the facility to a different place where people were not highly populated. Although it started as a small complaint by a few individuals who were residing along the pathways, the entire region soon joined the call to eliminate the airbase because the noise was unbearable and was negating the tourism and many other sectors within this region (Brause, 2000). The authorities gave in and on June 1, 1944, the training operations were moved to Brownsville Army Airfield in Texas. The airfield was reserved for light military flights for the Navy and Army until mid 1945. The Airfield was transferred to War Assets Administration in 1946 for disposal after it was declared excess. This unit was later sold it to private buyers. In 1961, this land was purchased by City of Palm Springs, which converted it to a commercial airfield. It was renamed as Palm Springs Municipal Airport. Since then, the airport has been considered as one of the most successful projects within this region. It was a clear demonstration that a military facility can be converted into a civilian commercial utility with much success.
Analysis of the research questions
Every research must have a research question that would guide it in the entire process of undertaking the research. In this research, the researchers developed three main research questions, which were used to develop the questionnaire. The questions are analyzed as below.
How suitable is V-22 Osprey as a civilian commercial airline?
This question was very important to this research because it sought to determine if this project is worth implementation. The sampled population had considerable knowledge on both civilian commercial airplanes and military planes and therefore stood a better chance in responding to this question properly. Of the 15 respondents, 11 felt that V-22 Osprey is very suitable as a civilian airline while three felt that it was not suitable. One respondent was not sure. The pier chart below shows this.
What are some of the challenges that the project of converting a V-22 Osprey may face during the implementation process?
In every project, some risks may hinder the project from being completed. In this research, this question was meant to identify the possible risks so that mitigation measures could be developed to counter them. The graph below shows the risks as identified by the respondents and their likelihood of occurrence.
From the above graph, it is evident that the biggest challenge when V-22 Osprey is converted to a civilian commercial plane would be the cost of maintenance. It would be very difficult to maintain the plane and the concerned individuals should therefore be prepared to meet the costs associated with this. The respondents also felt that the management team of this project should also be prepared to deal with the level of noise generated from this plane. Very few people felt that terrorism would be a challenge in this program (Calabrese, 2006).
Do you think that V-22 Osprey stands as a more economically viable plane when converted to a civilian commercial plane than being a military plane?
This structured question was to compare the effectivity of the plane as a civilian commercial plane other than a military airplane. The figure below shows their responses.
The number of those who felt that the plane was suitable for civilian commercial use was twice as many as those who thought that it would be better of being a military plane
It is evident from the above analysis that conversion of V-22 Osprey from a military plane to civilian commercial plane is a viable project. The case study above clearly demonstrates that a military airfield was converted into a civilian commercial airport with a lot of success. It shows that even this project stands to succeed if properly implemented. The above three research questions also paint a positive picture in to this project. Majority of the respondents (11 of the 15 interviewed) feel that V-22 Osprey is suitable for commercial use. This shows that by converting the plane into a civilian commercial, the partnership between the private and public sector would be strengthened. The second question only insists on aircraft worthiness, which when maintained properly, the project would be very successful. The possibility of success of this project is confirmed in the last question of the research. It would therefore be prudent to conclude this research by stating that conversion of V-22 Osprey from a military plane to a civilian commercial plane would be economically viable, and in all fronts possible.
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