Terre Haute Airport Director Reports All Hangars Now Occupied

May 22--TERRE HAUTE -- For the first time in several years, all of the hangars and buildings at Terre Haute International Airport are occupied and in use.

Airport executive director Bill Foraker told the airport authority board on Wednesday that nine people are also on the T-hangar waiting list to park their airplanes at Hulman Field.

"I've had inquiries from two other local pilots interested in moving their planes here, and I've been contacted by two businessmen about building their own hangars," Foraker told board members Darryl Huyett, Rachel Leslie, Darrel Zeck and Chris Doll during the 20-minute meeting.

Such interest in the airport calls for action to accommodate some new tenants, Foraker said, so he has been working with consultant Drew Genneken to finalize a layout plan for construction. The next step would be to solicit contractors who are interested in building the hangars, then working out the deal with the interested aircraft owners.

Foraker said he is also encouraged that the flight programs by Indiana State University and Ivy Tech Community College are bringing activity to the airport.

Meanwhile, an obstruction removal and tree trimming project has been completed, and the costs will be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration for reimbursement.

The project took down a few dozen trees in areas that fall within the approaches to the runways. The trees were possible obstructions for planes if pilots had to abort a take-off or landing and needed to turn away from the runway. The obstructions were not obvious from the ground, Foraker said. A recent photographic fly-over of the area documented that the too-tall trees were removed.

Included in the project were 11 additional trees that were beyond the scope of the project, adding $3,850 to the final cost of $202,250. Of that amount, the FAA will reimburse 90 percent of the cost while the state will cover five percent and the airport authority will pay for five percent of the cost.

In other business, the board:

--Learned that planning is still ongoing for a Sept. 27 USO show and hangar dance for the Vigo County Historical Society. The Indiana State University fly-in April 26 was a success, Foraker said, and a similar event is planned for the fall. And, a Mooney aircraft owner maintenance seminar is being planned for Aug. 9 to 10 at the airport.

--Heard that construction work has begun and the foundation has been laid for the new military maintenance facility for the Air Guard base being constructed adjacent to the airport where wheeled vehicles will be serviced. It's a $10 million project that is planned to be in operation in 2015. The highway improvements on Indiana 42 are associated with that construction project.

--Learned that a proposal has been received from a potential vendor interested in providing breakfast, lunch and dinner at the airport restaurant. Foraker said the restaurant is now closed, but he hopes to get it reopened as soon as possible.

--Heard that some construction has begun for the new Meijer retail store being constructed along U.S. 40/Indiana 46 near New Margaret Avenue. Commercial development in that area could positively impact the airport property by opening nearby land for potential construction of more hangars.

For more information about Terre Haute International Airport and Hulman Field, go online to www.huf.com.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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