LAKE CITY, S.C. – A June, 2014, notice to airmen, otherwise known as a NOTAM, issued for the C. J. Evans Field Lake City Municipal Airport, and overcast weather that limited visibility, brought down the numbers of attendees to the annual Lake City breakfast fly in on Jan. 18.
The event brings aircraft owners from around the south east to a different rural, municipal, or other small airport every other weekend for a breakfast and fellowship. The group, though not an official organization, has met every two weeks since 1938 with brief interruptions only during World War II.
The group began revisiting Lake City just four or five years ago after bypassing the town for about 20 years. Last year 44 small aircraft attended the Lake City airport breakfast bringing about 90 visitors. It was an increase from the previous year’s 38 planes.
This year however, the number plummeted to just half of the number attending in 2013: 16 aircraft with about 45 pilots and passengers that filled the intimate dining room of The Patio for breakfast.
Dusan Fridl, chairman of the Airport Commission, said the weather was a major set back but that visibility improved early enough for some to make the event but others that normally attend can no longer land at Lake City.
The NOTAM issued in June, 2014, limits aircraft coming into the Lake City Airport to a 5,000-pound maximum gross-weight in landing configuration. The NOTAM downgraded the airfield from 10,000-pound single wheel because of its aging foundation and runway degradation and, according to last year’s reports, impacted the air traffic by about 35 percent within a month.
The runway was originally constructed in the 1960s and redone in 1985; the airfield is earmarked for $400,000 in road and parking improvements as a project of the second Florence County Penny Sales Tax. However, matching grants that had in previous years been available to the commission are not available for the airport projects at this time.
At their June, 2014, meeting, the commission’s revised improvements and repair budget called for $336,307 in work: $247,363 on the airport’s road, taxiway, ramp, runway, and the construction of foundations for new hangars and electrical work; and $88,944 for four new hangars.
Fridl said that at the moment, it is not known when those funds will be issued for the airport.