Agency discusses improvement program

NEW KNOXVILLE – The Auglaize County Airport Authority (ACAA) met Tuesday, March 9, at Neil Armstrong Airport to discuss development ideas with their new airport consulting agency, BF&S.

Jason Clearwaters of BF&S came to review and discuss the current Airport Capital Improvement Program and what recommendations and thoughts the ACAA would like to share. The ACAA plan to submit their ACIP recommendation to Auglaize County Board of Commissioners.

One topic discussed was changing the airport lighting. The BF&S rep talked about retrofitting some of the existing lighting with LED, as halogen bulbs do not do as well with directional lighting. It was agreed further study and cost evaluation is needed with the age of the system.

Also examined was the path toward replacing the fence around the perimeter of the airport. Clearwaters and the ACAA members discussed the length of time it would take to do wildlife studies and how to manage the funding to the airport’s advantage.

Another ACIF 2022 project planned was to apply for ODOT funds for to repair or replace the apron for transient aircraft parking.

In other news, the ACAA heard about a proposal from Tim Quellhorst to move his business, DERA Aviation, from the second floor of Hanger G to the larger first floor office space. The first floor offices were occupied by airport personnel before the new terminal was built. Airport Manager Ted Bergstrom said Quellhorst is looking to begin operations for classroom and simulator training, along with private, commercial, instrument multi-engine add-on ratings for single engine pilots interested in twin engine Cessna aircraft.

He added DERA is also acting as contractor for TAS Aviation (Defiance, OH) and interested in other possible future services or rentals. The ACAA secretary signed the lease agreement, which would cost DERA $250 per month.

Bergstrom said plans for the June 12 grand opening of the new terminal were moving along, include a morning pancake breakfast, lunchtime activities and possibly music and food, with an after-dark 5K race at the end of the day.

The manager said the 5K race will follow the airport runways. He said he is working with 5K organizer Amy Kentner and St Marys FFA on event details.

Also in regard to the new terminal, Bergstrom said the terminal’s contractor Baumer Construction had received a Varco Pruden Best In Class in Transportation award in recognition of Baumer’s achievements for constructing the terminal at the Neil Armstrong Airport.

In other news, Bergstrom reported there had been a glitch preventing the starting up the terminal’s new generator. He said a gas meter regulator recently installed by contractor Vectren had failed. When Buschur Electric began the startup sequence and did a load transfer test, the switch gear malfunctioned and sent electric into the control board. A warrantied replacement switch gear and control board have been shipped.

In regards to a project to install a mural in the terminal lobby, Bergstrom said the New Terminal Mural Committee has posted a Request For Proposals (RFP) through the Ohio Arts Council. The RFP is open from March 1 to April 2, 2021.

Finally, the airport manager said that the next round of FAA CARES Act funds has authorized $23,000 for their airport, although funds were not yet available.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.