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News Macon County Airport runway extension ‘progressing well’

As the extension of the Macon County Airport runway moves forward, the Macon County Airport Authority has received estimates for the construction of aircraft hangars as part of the expansion of the airport.

Airport Authority member Harold Corbin reported at last Tuesday’s meeting that the cost to construct 13 hangars would be an estimated $861,000. That estimate includes three 65’ by 60’ hangars and ten “T” hangars for smaller, single engine airplanes. Corbin said that the cost for the three large hangars would be approximately $151,000, while roughly $710,000 would be needed to build the smaller hangars.

“We’re hoping to get started with [hangar] construction sometime this year,” said Authority chairman Milles Gregory, adding that at the moment, finding funds for the project could be difficult, as both federal and state budgets for the year have yet to be released.

Funds from both the state and federal government are disbursed among the 76 airports in North Carolina, according to the amount of need, explained Gregory. He said that if the Authority can keep all of its project plans up to date, it “stands a better chance” of receiving the funds needed to assist in project development.

With county finance director Evelyn Southard postponing her retirement until October, Corbin said her “financial expertise” could help drum up funding for the hangars without the assistance of county funds.

Airport project engineer Eric Rysdon reported that the runway extension project is coming along smoothly, due in large part to favorable weather conditions in recent weeks. “It seems to be progressing well,” he said.

Rysdon projected that construction crews would be finished filling in and compacting dirt for the foundation of the runway in about two weeks. “If things go well we could look at completion of the runway at probably the middle of April,” he said, emphasizing that the date is dependent on weather conditions.

The Authority also approved a rules and regulations manual for the airport, along with amendments which revised the language of the manual for the sake of clarity. One of the revisions in the manual solidified the role of the airport’s Fixed-Base Operator [FBO] as an adjunct of the Authority. The FBO, currently Neil Hoppe of Franklin Aviation, has the power to prohibit takeoff and landing at the airport if imminent danger is an issue at the runway.

The FBO also bears the responsibility of providing fueling, hangaring, aircraft rental, flight instruction and tie-down services.


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