Friday, January 06, 2017

Building a city-owned hangar at the Searcy Municipal Airport will be a priority of the Searcy Airport Commission

The commission voted to make it a priority, over other options such as new taxiway lights, to the Federal Aviation Administration's five-year capital improvement plan, being prepared by Miller-Newell Engineers Inc. before the Jan. 15 deadline.

"The airport has grant assurance that we have to abide by to receive federal FAA funds. The FAA wants the airport to strive for self-sufficiency," Manager Roger Pearson said. "Having a city-owned hangar is a way to help enhance revenue receipts and up services to make our airport more marketable.

"It is the desired priority over other options to spend the FAA funds on, as opposed to new taxiway lights. ”¦We have the airport in really good shape and now is about the only time we would be able to get the FAA to pay for the hangar."

According to Pearson, the city has one of two grants available to use to improve the airport.

Bob Chatman, the civil engineer for Miller-Newell Engineers Inc. in Newport who is the Searcy Municipal Airport's contracted engineer, gave the commission an update on the FAA 90-10 grant project as follows:

A grant application for additional erosion control work and lens placement for the guidance sign has been approved, Chatman said. Plans for erosion control work are almost complete. It is anticipated the commission will begin receiving bids mid-February. The documents for ordering the sign lens is nearly complete.

The 90-10 grant project splits 90 percent as $222,222 and the other 10 percent as $22,222.

The airport commission also selected a new chairman and vice-chairman at its Tuesday meeting.

Matt House was voted chairman Tuesday, replacing retired Chairman Lee Biggs. House is a loan officer at First Community Bank. Voted vice-chairman was Adam Hart, an industrial contractor and an owner of Hart Cone Construction.

In other business, the commission discussed:

• The transition between credit card software platforms. The airport is transitioning to My Flight Solutions as the fixed base operator, a retail firm that sells general aviation products or services at an airport. The current provider is being replaced and will no longer be supported. The transition could be in place by the end of January.

"It will take a long time to repopulate all the credit cards in the current system," Pearson said.

• Refunding $500 to the Edmonds Aviation fuel bill. Edmonds Aviation had paid a deposit in 2014 to build a hangar, and for multiple reasons it was not built. The commission decided to refund the $500 and examine the current application and lease regarding hangar requests to make sure there is a set period of time in which a deposit is refundable. This will avoid a "records nightmare," Airport Commissioner Jay Moore said.

• Some pilots' concerns regarding new target lane markings that the new markings, running between the north and south on the west side of the hangars, do not provide safe clearance. While the lines are within FAA regulations, an additional mark is being considered that can be considered to provide a wider buffer to further enhance safety.

Chatman said he is looking into the feasibility of adding this extra buffer. The concern is that pilots are parking up to the current line, and sometimes that causes congestion and/or a more tight fit between parked airplanes.

Searcy Airport Commission

What: Makes building city-owned hangar priority

For: FAA's five-year capital improvement plan

When: Plan due January 15


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