Airport prepares for groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 22

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Several projects should be completed in the next few months at the Chilton County Airport with a groundbreaking ceremony planned for Oct. 22.

The Chilton County Airport Authority received word on Sept. 11 that a $1.8 million grant was awarded to the airport from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

The grant will be used to improve the runway lighting system by providing additional lighting and upgrading the current lighting that is more than 50 years old.

Airport Authority board member Billy Singleton said Monday that the new lighting system will save the airport roughly 85 percent in electrical costs due to the more modern system of turning the runway lights off when they are not in use.

“It is one of those things that the money no longer has to go out to electricity and we can reinvest those funds into the airport,” Singleton said.

The lights will be turned on by pilots inside the airplane as they approach Chilton County and is a system used by most airports, according to Singleton.

Although Singleton said a malfunction with a pilot not being able to turn on the lights from inside the airplane is rare, air traffic controllers with the FAA would be able to contact Singleton or others at the airport in the event something went wrong.

The runway will also be resurfaced with new runway markings that will update the runway that has not been resurfaced in more than 30 years.

“We will have lights that will assist pilots in maintaining a proper glide scope to the runway which is an added safety feature that will be added to this project,” Singleton said.

Singleton said with the $1.8 million grant, Chilton County is responsible to pay 5 percent of the grant with the FAA and ALDOT posting 95 percent of the cost for the projects.

“Receiving this grant was tremendous and will help us replace some things that have not been replaced in a considerable amount of time,” Singleton said.