Airport Board Meeting

The Dubois County Airport can’t seem to catch a break.  In Monday night’s meeting it was revealed that the night approaches for landings will have to be curtailed because of the tree and tower obstructions at the end of runway 9, which is at the west end of the runway.

The FAA says that the trees are getting too tall and restrict the pilots view of the end of the runway and the lights that the guide the pilots in to land.  Also, the trees that surround the airport are growing too tall to allow circling of the airport before landings because of the same visual obstruction.

Airport Engineer Chris Snyder with Woolpert Engineering told us after the meeting why this is important:

Chris Snyder

He told the board that the best thing to do would be to fix the problem by bringing in an arborist (a tree expert) to log the trees and then determine which ones could be cut back to restore the use of the runway at night.

Also, the three signal towers on the west approach to the runway have now been designated as obstructions, too and the FAA says that they will have to be removed.

This is just the latest in setbacks that the Airport board has had to deal with in recent months.

Previously, the board was trying to find a way to construct an all-new 6,500-foot runway to allow larger aircraft to take off and land which would expand the business use of the airport.

That idea fell through when the cost and difficulty in finding the right configuration forced the board to scuttle the plans.

Since then the board has decided to add just 500 feet onto the east end of the existing runway.

The board has also been hit with resignations.  Jasper Street Commissioner Raymie Eckerle was a board member for years before leaving at the end of 2012.  Bob Duncan, former board president left earlier this year.

Then, last year, the board was handed the Fixed Base Operations to run, serving the planes and pilots who come to the airport.  This forced the Airport Board to create a budget and add incur the cost for supplying those services.

In the end, Snyder recommended that the board pursue getting the tree and tower problem fixed as soon as possible to restore the sight lines for the Precision Approach Path Indicator for unimpeded landings at night.  He said that might include buying 8 to 10 acres just to the west of the airport runway and taking out the trees and towers.

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