Progress 2015: Improvements planned for local airports

The area’s airfields will be seeing some improvements this year.

Serena “Renny” Manuel, general manager of the Winchester-Frederick County Airport, said construction will resume on a $3.8 million renovation to the facility’s southeast ramp. The ramp is used to “tie down” aircraft, Manuel said.

“They have metal anchors that are driven down into the asphalt, two for the wing, one for the tail,” Manuel said. “It’s for smaller aircraft so they don’t blow all over the place.”

Manuel said the existing ramp’s asphalt has deteriorated, so it will be removed and then shifted 100 feet toward Airport Road, away from the runway, to meet Federal Aviation Administration design standards.

“No matter what, we were going to have to replace the ramp because [the] pavement only has a lifespan of 20 years and that is an original section,” Manuel said. “We have to meet the standards, so we’re just going ahead and doing it now.”

Manuel said the project “is phase one of a major project where we’re relocating our taxiway another 100 feet away from the center line of the runway.”

“Because of the size of the project and the cost of the project, this will be done over numerous years to be phased in sections,” Manuel said. “This is the first little portion.”

She said the project will be completed by June 2015 and in the 2016 budget, which begins July 1, there will be land acquisition and design of a connector on the north side of the runaway. Manuel also said 90 percent of the project is being funded through FAA grants.

At the Warren County Airport, preparations are being made for a future industrial park, said Reggie Cassagnol, airport manager.

The airport bought 32 acres of land adjacent to the airport at the tail end of last year and is now in the process of clearing the land for an aviation industrial park, Cassagnol said.

“We want to establish a revenue-producing complex for the airport,” Cassagnol said. “We will recruit different businesses. I’d like to have a one-stop shop concept of rebuilding an airplane … any businesses who want a store front, we’ll provide them a hangar.”

Cassagnol said the airport is getting funding from the FAA to clear the land.

“There’s a lot of trees on the land, so they’re helping us with knocking them [down],” he said. “They’re helping us getting rid of the obstruction.”

Cassagnol said while there are plans for extending the runway, those are primarily based on need and are not on the horizon.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com