By Keith Gushard
VERNON TOWNSHIP — Crawford County Regional Airport Authority is hoping sorely needed new t-shaped airplane hangars will become a reality at Port Meadville Airport.
“There are 15 people on a waiting list now,” Jack Lynch, the airport’s interim director, said of the need for additional hangars.
There is a growing interest in general aviation at Port Meadville, Lynch said.
In November, the authority approved a request by North Coast Flight Group of Erie to open a flight school at the airport at no cost to the authority.
There are nine t-hangars now at the airport in Vernon Township — four owned by the authority and five in private ownership.
The authority’s new 12-year plan for capital improvements calls for construction of up to 10 new t-shaped aircraft hangars.
The state capital budget has $275,000 as a line item for construction of six t-hangars at the airport, but the project has not been funded yet.
Airport authority officials plan to push the state and local legislators to get funding released, Lynch said.
The authority also would seek matching funds to build an additional four hangars, Lynch said.
New hangars are part of $2.2 million improvement plan at the airport for the next several years.
Most of the projects would be 95 percent funded by the Federal Aviation Administra-tion with the remaining 5 percent split between the state and the authority.
Associated with the hangar project would be construction of the first phase of taxiways for the new hangars in 2006 for $100,000. It would be 95 percent funded by the FAA.
Other work in subsequent years includes installation of a generic visual glide indicator to provide pilots with visual glideslope guidance during approaches for landing; construction of a snow removal equipment building and purchase of the equipment; construction of the second phase of the t-hangar taxiway; construction of an airport access road; and acquisition of land on the approaches to the main runway.
There are other improvements planned at the airport in 2006.
The authority has received a $40,700 federal Department of Homeland Security grant through the Northwest Pennsylvania Counterterrorism Task Force to improve airport security.
The grant will include installation of new fence gates with an electronic fob system, security cameras and repairs to the fence.
The electronic fob system will be tied into the authority’s computer system and will track who enters the airport gates and when, Lynch said.
That equipment will be installed after the first quarter of 2006, he said.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Keith Gushard