Airport Improvements Boost Usage
April 17, 2013
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  • A plan to enhance the lighting at Marysville Municipal Airport is the most recent in a string of improvements that have made the facility one of the best of its size in this region, local officials say.

    Airport Advisory Board member Bud Schuette, a pilot and City Council member, said Marysville’s airport now can accommodate small jets. The latest lighting improvements will make it even better and safer, Schuette said.

    “The new beacon will make it easier for pilots to spot the airport,” he said. “This will improve safety for Lifestar helicopter pilots coming in at night.”

    Watts Electric Company, Waverly, Neb., was recently hired by Marysville City Council to install the new lighting improvements. Ninety percent of the $398,000 project is funded by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

    “We don’t do this work unless (the federal government) funds it,” said Marysville City Administrator Rick Shain.

    Lighting improvements include a new beacon on a 40-foot-tall pole, replacing a 30-foot pole. A wind cone will have new lighting to tell pilots the wind’s direction at night.

    Precision Approach Path Indicator lights will be installed on the runway to improve safety, as well as a new runway end indicator light.

    Another boost to the city came this past winter when the state approved funding of 75 percent, or up to $75,000, for a new AWOS-III — an automated airport weather monitoring system — and up to $119,700 for an additional taxiway connector for Marysville’s airport.

    The AWOS will be installed this summer, Shain said. The taxiway connector should be in place next summer, he said.

    Most of the local match for the weather monitoring system has been paid by a $60,000 gift to the city from the R.L. and Elsa Helvering Trust in Marysville.

    The changes enhance a major improvement a few years ago when the city added a taxiway. The work has helped maintain Marysville as the site of the largest general aviation airport in northeast Kansas.

    The new weather monitor makes the facility that much safer, city officials say.

    “And the taxiway is really nice,” Schuette said. “It decreases liability and the possibility of a collision.”

    With a second taxiway connector built next year, “we’ll have one of the finest airports of its size in Kansas,” he said, noting that “comings and goings” at Marysville’s airport include occasional operations from Fort Riley.

    With help to the city from both the state and federal governments in the past decade, several million dollars has been invested in the facility, which services not only the area’s business community but also medical providers, flight ambulance services, recreational pilots and, occasionally, military planes and helicopters.

    “Doctors fly in regularly from Lincoln,” Shain said. “And a lot of transient pilots come through on business.”

    Landoll Corporation, Marysville, houses aircraft at the airport, where it leases land for its own hangar. The company regularly uses a plane for business travel. Other local pilots also lease hangars from the city.

    “You don’t realize how many people use that airport until you read the pilots’ log up there,” said Bob Shipman, a longtime City Council member who will retire his seat this month. Shipman includes airport upgrades among city projects he’s been most proud of in his 24 years on the council.

    Jim Swim Jr., a local railroad engineer and pilot, likes to fly for recreation. He uses a plane regularly leased to local pilots by Don Landoll, president of Landoll Corporation.

    “From a community standpoint, this is a nice facility,” Swim said while at the airport recently. “There’s been a lot of personal, individual support in the community for it. People have donated time and energy to keeping it going.”

    Public funding has made it even more appealing, he said.

    An airport of this caliber, Swim said, helps Marysville market itself.

    “It all involves investment. The community has to be progressive and pro-active if you want to get anything done.”

    Landoll has contributed improvements to the airport over the years, building a handsome black metallic fence with cut-out images of Marysville history. The company also helped refurbish a tiny terminal building used by those stopping through the airport.

    “They’re very active,” Schuette said of Landoll’s involvement in maintaining the facility. “But it’s not just for Landoll, it’s for business in general and medical and recreational fliers. It puts a stamp on your community in every way.”