June 23--NATCHEZ -- When a national group of Navions pilots flies in to Hardy-Anders Field next week, they'll be some of the first people to see the upgraded terminal at the Natchez-Adams County Airport.
The upgrade, funded by a multi-modal grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, has brought $140,000 worth of improvements to the terminal, which hasn't seen significant work since the 1950s.
"We basically did a facelift, changing the function of the building to reflect its present use," airport director Clint Pomeroy said. "It was originally built as an airline terminal, and at one time we had two airlines and a rental car company operating out of there, but it could never function as an airline building again with the changes that have taken place because of security issues."
The terminal will now function as a fixed base of operations for the airport.
"This is a service facility for the airport, for general and private aviation," he said. "We sell fuel and service aircraft, and this is basically a waiting area for people now."
In the change, the airport removed the old airline and rental counters, enclosed a portion of the building to make more office space, enclosed another area for storage and installed counters in the waiting area.
"We are going to take the old airline office and, when it is finished, it will be a flight planning room for pilots to do their flight plans and make the building a little more functional," Pomeroy said. "It will also give us a little more office space, all for a relatively minimal change to the overall look of the building."
The upgrade also worked to make the building look more symmetrical and energy efficient -- installing, replacing and sealing windows, for example -- and removing decades-old plumbing and tile in the bathrooms.
"I think it is wonderful, that it is going to be a great improvement to the airport," airport commission President Luther Bradford said.
When the Navions group lands next week, they will have several flying contests during the week and will also tour the local area, Pomeroy said.
The Navion is a single-engine, unpressurized, retractable gear aircraft designed and built in the 1940s.
Approximately 40 aircraft will participate in the fly-in.
Copyright 2014 - The Natchez Democrat, Miss.