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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sharp County Regional Airport completes taxiway expansion

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Robert Dollar and Ronald Schmidt display a map of proposed expansions for the future of the Sharp County Regional Airport. A close-up of the map can be seen at the left. A new taxiway expansion was recently completed by SCRAA. Photo/Tammy Curtis [Order this photo]
The Sharp County Regional Airport Authority (SCRAA) recently completed a taxiway extension at the airport, to be in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to maintain the airport's Class 3 airport status.

The goal of the $873,100 project was to build the taxiway in phases, first beginning with the two northernmost sections. The existing apron was cut away from the runway, so planes must use the taxiway to access the runway, which is an FAA requirement. In addition, taxiways are a requirement of many corporations who fly into smaller airports. Because the airport's apron was attached to the runway, the airport commission felt it was causing the airport to lose business from corporations.

The total estimated cost of the project is $873,100. SCRAA had $335,200 available in funding from the FAA. The report says that the allotment of $150,000 yearly can be banked for up to four years. 95 percent of the $335,000 was used for the taxiway, the other 5 percent will come from Arkansas State funding, leaving a remaining $537,900. 10 percent will be funded by the SCRAA in an agreement with Sharp County, Ash Flat, Hardy, Highland and Cherokee Village. SCRAA asked each entity for a yearly contribution of $2,164 for five years to pay off the loan. Each of the cities voted to assist the airport.

Ronald Schmidt, secretary of the SCRAA, explained the small regional airport is the type normally used by smaller business jets, private aircraft or regional airlines which go shorter distances -- such as flying from Cherokee Village to a larger regional hub for connecting flights.

SCRAA has a 5100 foot runway which can handle aircraft 12,500 pounds or less. The airport also has 10 new T hangars which have been constructed within the last five years, and are currently all rented to aircraft owners. The Level 3 airport also sells Jet-A and 100LL fuel, and has tie-down capabilities for 10 additional planes. Schmidt said, although there is a pilot's lounge and sufficient hangars, additional expansion is possible as time and use of the facility warrants.

The SCRAA provides a hub for local business by offering a landing location for parts that are flown into the area, as well as flying out products finished in the area. The airport also provides an opportunity for bankers, salespeople, doctors and others to meet locally. Schmidt explained the airport serves a regional area and leasing hangars and other services generates revenue for the airport. Real estate agencies also use the airport to fly in potential clients who are thinking of relocating to the area, as well as providing an air destination for weekend getaways to the area.

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