Saturday, June 30, 2018

Willoughby Lost Nation Municipal Airport (KLNN) master plan update given to Port Authority board

There are now 89 based aircraft at the Lost Nation Airport. Airport manager Patty Fulop said they’re almost at capacity for what they can currently house.

The Lost Nation Airport’s master plan process is nearing completion and an update on the project was given at the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority’s June meeting.

The Port Authority took over the airport from the city of Willoughby in 2014, and the master planning progress started the following year.

When that planning process began, there were 76 aircraft based at the airport — meaning the number of operational and airworthy aircraft based out of the airport for the majority of the year. That number has increased to 89 now, which airport manager Patty Fulop said is pretty much at capacity for what they can currently house.

“Until we start building additional buildings, we can’t really go too much higher,” Fulop said.

She attributes the increase to improvements made to the airport since the port authority took over, including repairs to both runways.

“We were actually having some pilots that did not want to bring in some of our critical aircraft,” Fulop said. “As they were going down the runways, the expansion joints had opened up to the point that it was going ‘bam! bam! bam!’ as you went down the runway even to the point of breaking landing lights.”

With those repairs, those aircraft are coming back. Fulop added that the Republican National Convention in 2016 as well as the recent success of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indians, couple with a high-quality customer service from their fixed-based operator, or FBO, has also helped.

“People were coming in from areas that did not normally come into the airport and they were seeing that customer service and now they are coming back,” she said.

The consultants are forecasting a high of 94 based aircraft in 2021 and 98 in 2036.

Additional aircraft storage will be needed and is one of the facility requirements outlined in the consultants’ report.

Fulop said the FBO is already looking at the possibility of building another large hangar. Lost Nation, however does not currently have any Tee-hangars, which are becoming increasingly popular.

Consultant Kim Fabend of C&S Companies described Tee-hangars as individualized hangars that are almost like “personal garages” for aircraft.

“Everything that we know and we’ve heard that’s happening locally, as people buy their own aircraft, spend money on their own aircraft, they would like their own space to park an aircraft” Fabend said.

Fabend said there are plans in place to build 30 Tee-hangars. Even if those are built relatively soon, that will still be 37 short of the anticipated demand in 2036.

Building Tee-hangars can be a costly project and because they are revenue generating, they are not eligible for grant funds from the Federal Aviation Administration. Fulop said they are exploring other possible grant and funding opportunities.

“There are a lot of things we are looking at, we just haven’t found the beast that we need and that’s where we are held up because without that neither the private builders or the airport can build those Tee-hangars, which are crucial to us right now,” Fulop said.

They are also looking at installing parallel taxiways, which the airport does not currently have.

“Right now, somebody lands on one of the runways, they have to turn around and taxi back on the runway to get to any of the hangars,” Fabend said. “That is obviously not a safe situation.”

Other facility requirements identified in the presentation include protecting/controlling runway protection zones at the end of runways and removing or mitigating obstructions.

Fulop said the airport has obtained an Ohio Department of Transportation grant to clear obstructions at the end of runway 10/28 and have applied for a grant from ODOT next year to remove the rest of the obstructions.

Other identified projects include providing consistent fence height, establishing a gateway to the airport and improving signage and relocating hangar building number four.

A name change for the airport is also being considered, something the port authority has been thinking about for a few years. The port authority’s executive director, mark Rantala, said they didn’t want to started that process before the RNC and cause confusion as people tried to find the airport.

Rantala said in the past they’ve had discussion over whether “Lost Nation” is the name of an airport people would want to come to. He joked that changing the name to “Bermuda Triangle” is not under consideration.

“We did talk about whether it should be Lake County Executive Airport or something like that,” Rantala said. “When we get to the next stage we would still like that input from (the consultants) as to if we should change it and what we should change it to or at least what we should consider.” 

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

  1. Why not build taxi ways instead of a parallel runway?