By Louie Graves
If just a few more aviators keep their aircraft at the county airport, aid for projects will come at 100% from the Federal Aviation Agency.
To help lure more aircraft owners to store their airplanes locally, the Howard County Quorum Court voted to spend up to about $7,500 — the county’s 10% matching share — for projects at the airport, including the availability to store and share aviation gasoline.
A half-dozen aviators — some veteran and some novices — attended Monday’s meeting of the quorum court for October.
Their spokesman was Mark Wiley, a resident of Pike County who will store two aircraft in a newly purchased hangar here.
He said that the lack of a reliable local fuel source was one of the main reasons some local residents keep their aircraft at other airports, or kept other pilots from keeping airplanes here.
One of the pilots, Bill Bean, said he kept and sold some fuel to other pilots, but was reluctant to let his own supply get too low.
The local project would include a large tank and a credit card reader.
Currently, the county owns the land at the airport and leases small plots where individuals can put up their own building.
Most of the buildings have been used as hangars, but some have had other storage purposes.
The county will look into building and leasing hangars as a source of income. Profit from the sale of aviation gasoline will also be a source of revenue.
County Judge Kevin Smith was asked about the county’s recovery from the July flooding.
He said that federal aid was not forthcoming, and that the five affected counties would have to rely on state aid which is much less than federal.
He said that all bridges were now open and passable, but that some work was still needed. Insurance will cover expenses of reclaiming county law enforcement space in the jail.
Present for Monday’s meeting were JPs Dick Wakefield, Don Marks, Jerry Harwell, Kerry Strasner, Bobby Don Turner, Brent Pinkerton and Janice Huffman.