Alva Review-Courier -

Airport commission hears options for apron enlargement project

 

September 14, 2018

Marione Martin

Garver Project Manager Jeremy Weiland (standing) explains four options for future expansion of the Alva airport apron for aircraft parking. Airport Commission members shown are Dale Logsdon (left) and Caleb Mosburg (right).

A grant for $107,820 from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be used by the Alva Regional Airport to pay for the design phase of expansion of the apron and the reconstruction of the taxiway. Monday the airport commission voted to recommend the Alva City Council approving having the city business manager sign the grant agreement.

The grant comes from supplemental funds of the FAA. The airport commission was made aware of the opportunity for this grant by Jeremy Weiland of Garver, the airport's engineering firm.

Weiland was present at the meeting and displayed several options for adding to the airport apron ranging in cost from $1.1 million to $2 million. Using a chalkboard as a screen, he projected cost estimates and preliminary drawings for the commission members.

The FAA grants are for total cost of the project so the airport does not have to come up with matching funds. Alva has been used frequently by the state forestry department as a staging area for firefighting aircraft. Airport Manager Tyson Tucker said at times they had firefighting aircraft waiting in line to take on fuel and the apron space completely full. As soon as one plane left, another would take its place.

The four options were developed using two different sets of data. Tucker provided figures on the numbers and types of aircraft visiting the airport. Garver determined an average of 45 aircraft visit the airport each month.

Weiland said the apron (concrete area for aircraft near the terminal) contains about 6500 sq. yd. after subtracting the current tie-downs, taxi lanes and fuel pump areas. FAA standards indicate that 8,800 square yards of apron is needed for the number of aircraft coming into the airport, leaving Alva about 2,200 square yards short.

Another way of looking at apron size needs is to consider the number of aircraft permanently based at the airport. Weiland said using that number indicates the Alva airport needs 8,600 square yards more space.

He then displayed drawings of the four options. Options 1 and 2 were based on the lesser space needed and cost $1.1 million each. The only difference was in the location of the added parking area.

Options 3 and 4 were higher cost. In this scenario, the aircraft based at the airport were used to figure needs. These were the higher cost options. Option 3 was a scaled down version of 4.

Airport commission members were asked to examine the options and decide how they want to proceed on the design. The idea is that these plans will then be submitted to the FAA for a 2019 supplemental funding grant.

Weiland cautioned the board members it costs money to maintain pavement. He also discussed the need to be practical in submitting designs to the FAA. If a grant-funded project comes in above the projected costs, the airport could get stuck with paying the difference.

Board member Kelly Parker said he thought the airport should aim for something between option 1 and option 3. Dale Logsdon added that the project could then be adjusted once the amount of grant funding is determined next year. Paul Kinzie agreed that the best option fell somewhere between options 1 and 4.

Visitor Max McDermott asked about the taxiway work mentioned in the grant. Logsdon explained the airport is removing the old taxiway so it will not have direct access to the runway.

McDermott also suggested the airport consider adding a more convenient taxiway access to the new long runway. He said he's seen pilots land and backtrack their planes to get to a closer taxiway than the one at the far end of the runway.

Weiland said that's not in the current airport five year project plan.

Rocketry Launch

Dr. Steven Maier, physics professor at NWOSU, visited the meeting to open a discussion about holding a rocketry launch at the airport. He said some of the students have formed an unofficial rocketry club. A launch event would give them a chance to show the fun of rocketry and give members of the public the opportunity to participate. He indicated the launch would include class one or two rockets using solid fuel.

The board directed Tucker to check into FAA rules that might be involved.

Manager's Report

Fuel sales at the airport increased over 7,000 gallon in August 2018 compared to the same month last year. The airport took in $23, 670.09 in fuel and oil sales including 2,830.4 gallons of 100LL and 6,053.2 gallons of Jet A.

Tucker said the painting and outdoor repairs at the terminal building are to start next week. The work should be completed in seven to ten days, weather permitting.

He suggested a marketing idea to encourage more use of the airport and sale of fuel. He has the tail number of every aircraft visiting and suggested sending a thank you note saying the airport is under new management and offering a 10 cent per gallon discount on their next fuel purchase. The board was supportive and had a discussion about the possible need to put this on the agenda so they could vote approval. Logsdon said he believes that the manager has already been given a discretionary 10 cent discount to use in earlier board actions. He said he would research it.

 

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