Fuel prices still a concern for airport


By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News



NEW KNOXVILLE – The Neil Armstrong Auglaize County Airport Authority heard at their meeting Aug. 9 how gas prices are fluctuating but profits continue to be strong. Also, the group heard about the benefits of a recent Airstream testing event at the airport.

Airport manager Ted Bergstrom received ACAA permission to lower Jet A fuel prices to $6, down from $6.67. However, the cost for 100 low lead was raised to $7.45, up from $6.67 set in June.

Bergstrom said on Aug. 4 Airstream hosted an event at the airport to test a proprietary traction-control system from Bosch and Dexter Axle Company. He explained they did multiple test runs and simulated highway road conditions, the later done on aluminum sheets to simulate slick road conditions. He said Airstream and Bosch & Dexter personnel were very pleased with being able to utilize the airport. Bergstrom added it was also a good publicity event, because the participants bought numerous Neil Armstrong hats and T-shirts. Airstream paid $2,400 to use the airport.

Bergstrom reported that the airport beacon has become inoperative. He got the okay to recommend to the Board of Auglaize County Commissioners to pursue replacement options, including relocating the beacon adjacent to hanger E, getting LED lighting and installing a hinge-style ground mounted pole.

The airport manager also said a nearby lightening strike caused hardware failure within the Fuel Master system and the automated weather observing system (AWOS). He said they are still troubleshooting to the AWOS problems. The Fuel Master has been temporarily rerouted back to dial up modem date transfers.

Bergstrom reported the new John Deere tractor they ordered had been moved to Dexter Company for fitting of the rotary broom attachment before delivery of the tractor at the end of August. He also said he wants to get quotes to order a 10 or 12 foot snow pusher blade. The cost is estimated ranging from $3,000 to $5,000.

The airport manager said operations saw a large jump due to Allen county and Bellefontaine airports being temporarily closed due to construction. For example, multiple medical flights arrived. They also were able to accommodate all charter and crop duster aircraft, even with some of their aprons under construction. Five airplanes were relocated to Neil Armstrong during the construction. Allen county airport was closed from July 11 to Aug. 5. Bellefontaine airports primary runway is closed from Aug. 1 to Aug. 19.

Treasurer Mark Howe reported airport income in July was very good, largely due to crop duster activity. For example, jet fuel sales were $68,612 in July versus $34,938 last year. He said operating expenses were $16,640, resulting in a net income of $15,608 vs a $4,692 loss last year. As a result, he said year-to-date net income is $79,608 versus $39,938 last year.

The ACCA agreed to move the bi-annual report to an audit that requires less work, called Approved Audit procedures. Perry and Associates will still conduct the audit but they will not need to file a full report.

BF&S consultant Jason Clearwaters reported that the wildlife assessment will be completed by August 31. Also, committees were formed for the Airport master plan. He said phase 1 of the apron work has been completed. Phase 2 started Aug. 8 and will take 14 days to complete. He said once phase 2 is done, phase 3 will begin but they haven’t gotten word from ODOT for the grant to determine how much of phase 3 will be done.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

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

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