Hopes Soar With New Hangar

After 10 years of work and planning, pilots now have a place to call home because the Marshall County Airport completed construction on a new hangar for recreational, private and business planes with small engines.

“It’s been going on since at least 2003,” said Marshall County Airport Authority member John Richmond.

“It’s been a long process because we had several issues,” Kurt Allen, also a member, said on Monday. He said the airport had to satisfy a number of regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration to be eligible for funding.

The hangar features what is called a “nested T-hangar” design, in which planes are positioned with their tails toward the center of the building on two different sides. Airport Manager Susan Board said this is an increasingly common design for airport hangars which better utilizes space. While the building was designed with single engine planes in mind, Board said, it will also be able to accommodate double engine planes. To date, the airport has worked with both.

Airport authority member Dan Masters said funding for the project came from three different sources. He said 90 percent of the funds came from the federal government in the form of a grant from the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program. The other 10 percent came from the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission. Even after that, Masters said the airport came up $105,000 short on construction costs. The Marshall County Commission loaned $75,000 to the airport to cover much of these costs, while the airport authority pulled $30,000 more from an account funded by oil and gas leases. Altogether, Masters estimated the unofficial total cost of the project to be about $660,000.

“We worked with the county commission to obtain the $75,000,” Allen said. Marshall County Commissioner Don Mason also belongs to the airport authority, along with Gilbert “Butch” King. Neither Mason nor King were present for a tour of the hangar on Monday.

Allen said the hangar is something the airport has needed for a long time.

“A lot of pilots had no choice but to take their planes elsewhere,” Allen said. “That hurt our business.”

Allen said planes were always able to land on the 3,300-foot runway, but there was no building to shelter their aircraft while not in use. All members of the airport authority agreed pilots need a place to park their planes and store them safely and they look forward to providing that for them.

“These (spaces) are really state-of-the-art,” Board said.

According to Board they measure 42 feet wide and 33 feet long with electricity, a fire system in case of emergencies and insulation that protects planes from the elements. For security, each space is locked, while the entire airport is wired with security cameras with a 9-foot fence surrounding it.

Rates to rent spaces at the new hangar are still being determined, but Board said they are very affordable thanks to the FAA’s grant. She said two hangar spaces are already rented out with two more being arranged. The leases are going to be set up on a monthly basis.

Pilot Bob Klem already has an aircraft stored in one of the hangar’s spaces.

“I would say it’s an excellent place to keep your craft,” Klem said. “I love it.”