The Walnut Ridge Airport Commission met on April 24 in the terminal building. Commissioners present included Chairman Don Cavenaugh, Ron Ingram, Clay Sloan, Gary Kearby and Adam Davis.
During the meeting, commissioners accepted an offer from the Walnut Ridge City Council to provide necessary funds for the new hangars being built at the airport. The city council will provide the funds until the airport receives money from state grants.
Airport Manager Stacy Hoggard informed commission members that a crack-seal is needed for 18/36. McClelland Engineering is preparing a state grant for the project and additional information will be available at the next meeting.
Hoggard also said that she had been contacted by Scott Tyler from Farm Service requesting an agreement to operate an Aerial Applicator Drone. Hoggard has been in contact with the FAA, FAA Consultant Bob Johnson and several nearby airport managers. There will be a Zoom meeting held with the FAA drone professionals Jamie Black (FAA) and Bob Johnson, area airport managers and Scott Tyler to discuss operating an Aerial Applicator Drone near an airport.
According to Hoggard, the airport needs additional information before any agreement can be signed. She informed commissioners that if an agreement can be reached and all safety concerns addressed, Johnson will type up an agreement to be signed by all parties involved.
An additional safety meeting will be held June 17 to discuss drones. The morning session will be Aircraft Accidents for First Responders and Pilots and the afternoon class will be Aerial Applicator Drones.
Commissioners were updated on the airplane charging station. Beta Technologies will submit a bid in June and construction is planned to be completed in September of 2023. At a later date, an electric plane prototype will be flown into the Walnut Ridge Airport for public viewing.
Also during the meeting, the 2024 eclipse was discussed, and commissioners voted to order 5,000 eclipse glasses for the airport from the Arkansas Hospitality Association. Commissioners also discussed renting spots in the open fields beside the old terminal, the museum and the field directly behind the museum. Manager Hoggard will look into insurance for renting out spots at the airport, as well as different food vendors for the eclipse event.
Manager Hoggard also announced that she will attend the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) Sept. 9-13 in Rogers. This is the first time the event has been held in Arkansas. Also, the AAOE will meet Sept. 18-19 in Little Rock. Commissioners were encouraged to attend.
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