Technology at Kincardine airport attracts pilots

Section: 
News

By Barb McKay

The Kincardine municipal airport saw an increase in flight training and charter flights last year, according to the airport manager.

 

Blake Evans provided the 2013 annual report to council last Wednesday and said the fuel card lock system and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology at the airport have been attractive for both recreational and commercial pilots. A good portion of the airport’s revenue continues to be from fuel sales, he said. Pilots like the ease and efficiency of the card lock system. Commercial pilots can land, drop off passengers, refuel and be back in the air in 17 minutes.

 

The airport’s GPS system, installed in 2012, allows pilots to land on the runway within 12 inches of accuracy.

 

“The executives that fly in and out (in corporate jets) comment about how beneficial our GPS is,” Evans said.

 

He said he watched one day this winter when a flight arrived from Miami. Evans said he didn’t see the plane until it had crossed the highway and its landing lights were on, due to poor visibility. Because of the GPS, it had no problems finding the runway.

 

“With our GPS, they can come in a bit shorter and capitalize on the extra runway length,” Evans said.

 

Last year, two major projects were completed at the airport: the municipal hangar received a new door and an equipment utility room was installed and an access road was constructed to the hangars.

 

This year, Evans said, the municipal hangar will get new siding and the terminal building. The main priority is to get going on repairs to the main runway. In 2013, the municipality hired consultants to develop a strategic plan for the airport. It was determined that nearly $15 million will be needed complete

improvements to the airports runways and facilities. The 4,000-foot main runway, 13-31, is in poor condition and would cost $1 million to refurbish. The municipality is also considering extending it to 5,000 feet to allow for larger commercial aircraft, at a cost of $3 million.

 

There are plans to increase awareness about the airport and its operations, Blake said. Having the card lock system frees up staff to spend more time doing school visits and interacting with the public. The Harvard Flight event, held last July, was popular and the airport committee is currently looking for a sponsor to bring the Harvards back this year.