With funding assistance from the city, some enhancement projects are under way at the Tahlequah Municipal Airport.
The construction involves three projects in two phases. The work will add navigational aids and facilitate runway traffic.
“It is actually three small projects combined into one,” said airport manager Greg Blish. “The first phase involves a redesign of the taxiway area toward the south area of the runway. This will allow instruction and engine runup off the runway so other aircraft don’t need to wait to take off or land.”
Once complete, instructors will have more room to teach flight students how to taxi. “Runup” is the succession of final checks performed by pilots before takeoff.
The second phase includes a NAV AID REIL set - or navigational aid runway end identifier lights.
“They are essentially high intensity strobe lights which will be installed on each end of the runway,” Blish said. “In marginal weather, pilots will be able to visually identify each end of the runway.”
Also included in the navigational aid phase of the project is is a new lighted wind cone.
“People are probably familiar with the orange wind cone,” Blish said. “This new one will be located on the west side of the field. It will have electric power and be easily visible at night or during the daytime.”
Blish said the construction was about a third of the way through a 60-day schedule.
“I am very excited about all of the work,” he said. “This will allow aircraft to conduct takeoff and approach in less-than-ideal conditions. Sometimes, when the weather is bad, aircraft based at Tahlequah or scheduled to use the airport must bypass it and go to Tulsa. This project enhances the facility’s safety and efficiency.”
Funding is through Non-Proprietary Entitlement grants within the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program. An airport can accumulate awards for up to four years.
“This project is funded by two or three years of accumulations,” Blish said. “Ten percent of the funding comes from the city of Tahlequah.”
Blish estimated the project’s cost at $457,000. Construction is through JLT Contracting LLC in Cushing.
Further work on the runway is planned. Blish said the airport anticipates some state funding during 2014, including a grant from the Oklahoma Aeronautic Commission.
“We are going to do a crack repair and seal coat on the entire asphalt surface,” he said.
“That includes the runway, taxiway and ramp. Included in that funding will be work to repair a small place on the existing runway that is settling. It isn’t a problem now, but would become a safety factor in the future if not addressed.”
To read more facts and get information about the Tahlequah Municipal Airport, go to tahlequah TDP.com