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AUGUST 5, 2010

Airport users group meets to review information required for airport plan update

By Charlie Pottenger   

   Orofino airport users and members of the Orofino Airport Commission met at City Hall July 29 to review progress made under the existing Airport layout Plan and begin the updating process required to make potential future Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funded improvement possible.

   Under the existing plan the Orofino airport was able to secure Federal funding for recent taxiway improvements, reconstruction and extension of the runway, runway and windsock lighting and a new security fence.

   Rick Laam, City Manager, introduced other members of the Airport Commission: Doug Donner, Chairman; Roy Clay; and Ron Banks. Users present introduced themselves and then the Project Managers conducted the balance of the meeting.

   The update process was explained by John Watson and Kayla Brown representing Riedesel Engineering of Lewiston, who manages the Layout Plan Update procedure. The government process requires airports to operate under a current plan which is used to prioritize FAA funding efforts to maintain the nationís airport network for the benefit of the public.

   Each participating airport must have in place appropriate five and 20 year capital improvement plans in order to remain eligible for possible future funds.

   The Orofino Airport is a community and regional asset which, according to estimates by the Idaho Airport System Plan, significantly contributes to local economic activity. There are likely at least 60 jobs which in some way are involved with the airport.

   At the Orofino meeting the project managers reviewed the current plan and improvements already accomplished, projects already candidates for future funding and sought pilot input for inclusion in the updated plan. All pilots using the Orofino Airport are encouraged to contact Riedesel Engineering in Lewiston and provide data regarding frequency of operations and whether or not aircraft are based here. Future funding is related to the number of annual operations experienced by an airport.

   Some of the ideas surfaced at the meeting were runway seal-coating and widening, installation of restroom facilities, adding instrument landing aids and adding additional transient aircraft tie down spots.

   Planning work is ongoing and a second meeting is planned for Orofino in September. At that meeting the project team will review current airport issues and needs, review the project inventory and facility requirements and forecast future project work.