In recent months, more than $192,000 in surplus equipment and machinery has been secured for the Mercer County Airport at a very minimal expense. In fact, the only cost incurred by the authority board was just the expense associate with transporting the equipment from the location where it was decommissioned back to the airport.
The award of the surplus equipment is great news for Mercer County, and another positive step for this all-important general aviation facility. The Mercer County Airport Authority board is participating in a Federal Aviation Administration program that oversees the distribution of the surplus equipment to qualifying facilities. As a result, local officials were able to bid on the surplus equipment.
A listing of the free equipment is placed on an FAA website for review, according to Mercer County Airport
Manager Clint Ransom. Agencies such as the Mercer County Airport bid on the surplus equipment that is listed on the federal website and the equipment is then awarded by the FAA to the agency with the most need, Ransom said.
Thus far, the Mercer County Airport has placed successful bids for a “man lift” valued at $25,000 for use in changing lights in the airplane hangar; an aircraft tug valued at $18,000 for moving aircraft around; a bulldozer valued at $76,000 for earth-moving projects around the airport; and a dump truck with low mileage valued at $73,000, for usage including potential for snow plow duty.
“I have to compete with other agencies,” Ransom said last week. “All the cost for us has been for transportation.”
Random said the surplus equipment program has enabled the airport to tackle important jobs that were difficult to do in the past. For example, the man lift was used just last week to replace the ballast in the hangar lights.
Ransom, and members of the airport authority board, are to be applauded for their foresight in pursuing and their success in securing the surplus equipment. Such proactive leadership is critical to the continued growth of the airport. Having a strong general aviation airport is critical to future growth not only in Mercer County, but across our region. In fact, prospective industries and companies looking at the area for a possible expansion or relocation certainly demand a robust general aviation facility.
All of the recent improvements and additions, including the new annual air shows and the recent addition of Appalachian Flying Service to the facility, are important steps in the right direction for the Mercer County Airport.