Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Airport buzzing with activity

Hangar, new runway, grants in the works


by: TOM BROWN - The first fully outfitted and painted Erickson Aero Tanker MD-87 arrived at the Madras Municipal Airport earlier this month.Even with below-freezing temperatures, activity at the Madras Municipal Airport has barely slowed.

Just north of the Erickson Aero Tanker hangar, a concrete foundation for the company's new hangar was completed earlier this month, and the company took delivery of a fully painted and operational MD-87 airtanker.

The 64,000-square-foot hangar, designed by Steele Associates Architects, is being built by CS Construction. The hangar will be used to store aircraft for maintenance, as well as Jack Erickson's collection of World War II aircraft, which will be moved from the Tillamook Naval Air Station Museum.

by: HOLLY M. GILL - The new hangar will be constructed on the completed concrete foundation north of the Aero Tanker hangar."The crane will arrive and start erecting the building right before Christmas," said Rob Berg, airport manager. "They’re finishing the rest of the infrastructure and will be ready to assemble it. The metal structure and siding will all go up in 45 days."

Aero Tanker has been testing the MD-87 this week, Berg said. "It passed all its preliminary testing this week; the airplane will now leave and go down to California for final testing and certification."

Erickson Aero Tanker is doing an engineering and feasibility study on installation of a grass runway for the museum aircraft. "Once they do their due diligence, we hope to move forward with a 75-foot-wide by 5,000-foot-long grass runway just to the west of our existing paved runway."

City officials had planned to seek grant funding for a crosswind runway, but changed their minds this week, he said.

"If they put the grass runway in, we don’t need to put in the crosswind runway," said Berg. "They’re going to invest in that themselves — a big investment on their part."

The grass runway would be used for the antique aircraft. "It’s more forgiving than the pavement for the pilots and it’s easier on the complete aircraft and tires," said Berg. "These old, antique tires are getting harder and harder to find."

On Monday, the city submitted a proposal for grant funding from Connect Oregon V for just under $700,000 to allow the city to remove and replace an ancient fuel tank, expand and improve the north ramp, and provide matching money for a grant request from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The city had already applied for a $3.78 million FAA grant to reconstruct the main runway, which is 75 feet wide by 5,080 feet long, but won't find out whether or not the grant is awarded until early next year.

"This is a scheduled repair and maintenance that’s in our master plan," said Berg, noting that it needs to be done next year. "We have to catch that before failure."

In other airport news, the city signed an agreement with Juwi Solar Inc., of Boulder, Colo., to install a solar farm on up to 100 acres on the north end of the airport.

The privately held solar energy company will lease property that had been used for farming.




Local Weather

Cloudy

48°F

Madras

Cloudy

Humidity: 63%

Wind: 17 mph

  • 23 Apr 2014

    Showers 55°F 43°F

  • 24 Apr 2014

    Few Showers 59°F 36°F