Several projects in the works at Yellowstone Regional Airport will improve the traveling experience and safety for people flying to and from Cody.
Airport manager Bob Hooper recently attended a City Council meeting to seek approval for YRA to submit two Federal Aviation Administration grant requests
One $610,000 grant would help with the purchase of a new plow truck and a second passenger loading bridge at the terminal. Another $100,000 grant would pay engineers to design a project to repair the main taxiway and upgrade electrical for high intensity lighting.
Money does not pass through city accounts but goes directly to the airport.
“It’s just a housekeeping item for us and helps Bob conduct his business,” Mayor Nancy Tia Brown said.
On Wednesday, July 15, Hooper and Morrison-Maierle airport engineer Tim Wick updated the YRA Joint Powers Board on the following projects:
•Airport Board members approved a bid of $542,312 submitted by the Wisconsin manufacturer M-B Companies for a new multi-task snow removal machine. Different heads such as a broom and plow can attach to the front of the tractor chassis.
Three bids were submitted. Wick said the apparent lowest bidder didn’t qualify on the equipment technical specs and so that bid was rejected.
M-B Companies, which manufactured a $600,000 snow plow for YRA last year, was the next lowest bidder.The company has started production; however, estimated delivery is not until May 2016.
Funds are approved; however, bids have not been let for a new passenger loading bridge needed to accommodate the increasing number of passengers at YRA.
Hooper said the airport has had two planes on the ground at one time, and the old loading bridge on hand is pushed by hand.
In addition to $610,000 from the FAA, money to cover the total $650,666 estimated cost to buy the snow machine and loading bridge will come from the state ($24,400) and YRA ($16,267).
•Morrison-Maierele has started design work needed to repair the airport’s main taxiway and upgrade lighting.
“We have CAD drawings put together,” Wick said. “We’re quite a ways on that project.”
The design phase is funded with $100,000 from the FAA, $4,000 in state funds and $2,667 in local monies.
The taxiway project is a multi-phase proposal with another $1.2 million needed for construction, slated for next summer.
•In May the Wyoming Department of Transportation Aeronatics Commission approved a $99,900 grant for YRA to do an Approach Analysis Study.
Morrison-Maierle and Lean Engineering – a high tech company with offices nationwide – are working together to evaluate alternatives to improve flight landing procedures.
“Lean are the new guys on block,” Wick said. “This is what they do.”
They have started the first task, which includes understanding existing flight procedures, airspace considerations and obstructions.
When asked the likelihood of coming up with a different approach, Wick said Lean Engineering has the technology needed.
“The way the contract is written, if they feel they can’t do it, they will stop the contract,” he said.
Hooper said if pilots can fly visually, they land coming in straight.
“If they fly with instruments, they have to fly in a circle,” he said. “It’s a different procedure depending on the airline.”
Wick said the runway to the west makes landing more difficult because of the mountains.
“Most pilots don’t like the circle approach,” Wick said. “Instruments read off the mountain tops. That makes it harder to maneuver landing at the airport because it’s not visual.”
Wick told Board members Lean will put information together and test different models.
“Hopefully at this stage they will find something that will work,” he said.
If a new way to approach is developed, YRA will work with airlines to make sure they support that approach, Hooper added.