Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Commissioners approve funds to design airport tower: Somerset County (2G9), Pennsylvania

SOMERSET COUNTY—  The Somerset County commissioners approved a $3,800 supplemental engineering and design agreement with L.R. Kimball of Ebensburg Tuesday for a 40-foot automated weather observation system tower as part of the airport’s rehabilitation project.

The airport has a tower, but it does not comply with Federal Aviation Administration regulations and must be replaced, said Somerset County Airport Manager Dave Wright. The county has been working on the project for 18 months, he said.
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In 2012 the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and FAA released hundreds of thousands of dollars to update the airport master plan and rehabilitate navigational aids. The county will be responsible for about $7,400 for both.

“I always look at best ways to use the money and to save the money while using it for the best of our needs,” Wright said. “Originally, when the grant was written, we didn’t include replacement of our existing AWOS tower” because it was functional and adhered to federal regulations at the time.

The FAA came back with new regulations and found that the airport’s tower was too low relative to the height of the terminal building, he said.

“When the wind hits the top of the building they were concerned it could give off false indications for direction and strength of wind, a crucial piece of decision-making information for pilots,” Wright said.

The grant money also will be used to replace the airport’s beacon tower with a more efficient lighting unit.

With the commissioner’s decision the project will be put out to bid within a month or so, he said.

“I’d not expect the work to start this year,” he said.

Source:  http://www.dailyamerican.com