Snow and wind-related items converged Monday at the New Castle Board of Aviation Commissioners table. The first item will help clean up a storm while the latter just might cause one.
BoAC members learned the new snow plow had, indeed, arrived and was being fitted with accessories by local firm Davis Towing.
The news was enthusiastically received by the BoAC as they want to protect the brand-new runway dedicated at Marlatt Field just over a year ago. Current snow plow equipment dates back to the 1960s and members have worried that it might damage the new runway.
“The older equipment is a little undersized to do the job with the increased area due to the new runway,” BoAC member Tom Green explained. “The area needing snow removal has increased over 100 percent.”
BoAC members also learned, however, of another wind turbine construction activity. A postcard announced the Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an aeronautical study concerning a proposed new turbine in Losantville, just across the Henry County line.
According to the FAA, the proposed structure would be 591 feet tall.
“The structure described above exceeds obstruction standards,” the postcard read. “To be eligible for consideration, comments must be received on or before 11/20/2019.”
Last June, BoAC members advised the FAA they had “significant concerns” with the potential impacts of the proposed wind turbines in southern Henry County by Flatrock Wind LLC., including radar and navigational device interference. BoAC members stressed then the turbines “would adversely impact” the current and future operations of the airport and potentially hinder business opportunities and economic growth.
A major issue cited then was the height of those turbines, proposed to be 660 feet tall.
BoAC members had no immediate comment on the wind turbine news.
“Notification to airports of potential obstructions is a common practice and there is a standard response if there is an objection,” Green explained. “The objection is based on safety and operational impact and will be addressed by Woolpert engineers. It may or may not have any impact on our operations.”
In other discussion, BoAC members approved a three-month extension of the management contract with John and Jeff Marlatt for their services that keep the airport operational.
The three-month extension will provide BoAC time to discuss a new contract. The current contract – calling for an annual fee of $12,000 – was called “the bargain of a lifetime” by BoAC member Keith Pritchett, who praised the Marlatts for their dedication to the community.
“I don’t think anybody else would work that hard that long for that much,” Pritchett said.
Board members are also discussing a potential transition in airport management with the realization that the Marlatts may want to retire in the not-too-distant future.
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