LEWISBURG, W.Va. (WVDN) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is providing airports across the country with grants to facilitate upgrades and promote safety. The Greenbrier County Airport Authority has applied for and expects to receive an $8.1 million grant which will be matched by state, local and airport funds totaling $430,000.
The funds will be used to rebuild the Greenbrier Valley Airport’s runways and install recessed lighting in accordance with federal specifications. However, public outcry from area pilots has arisen over the plan to narrow the runway by one-third.
David Neely of Jet America, a charter jet company operating from Greenbrier Valley Airport, expressed concerns about the safety hazards associated with narrowing the existing 150-foot-wide runway. Neely explained that the airport’s instrument landing system, which guides planes to the western half of the runway, requires a sideways maneuver by pilots, resulting in a disruptive experience for passengers.
With the current “off-set localizer beam,” Neely worries that the narrower runway will make landings more difficult for large jets. “We come in at 140 miles per hour and have in the last 100 feet prepare to jump at touch down and move sideways. We need all of the 150 feet of existing runway width to do this,” he said.
Greenbrier Airport Authority Chair Deborah Phillips assured the public that the airport is actively pursuing funds to maintain safety and proper maintenance. “These lights will be placed in accordance with the FAA regulations,” she stated.
To meet FAA standards, the project will proceed in two steps: 1) repaving the surface and 2) installing recessed lighting to prevent collisions with objects on the runway. No pavement will be removed, but the center of the runway will be resurfaced.
Phillips emphasized the importance of moving forward with the project to avoid delays and potential loss of grant funding. She also reassured that the FAA and engineers have confirmed there will be no restrictions for aircraft currently using the airport.
Airport Authority meetings are open to the public and planned in advance. A meeting and public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, at 2 p.m. at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds.
Article has been updated to reflect a correction in the miles per hour that aircrafts land at Greenbrier Valley Airport.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.