June 18, 2008

Growing Graves Airport Plans Additional Hangars

By Matt Sanders, The Paducah Sun, Ky.

Jun. 18--MAYFIELD, Ky. -- -- Additional hangar space will draw more corporate clients and private pilots to the Mayfield-Graves County Airport, where other renovation and expansion projects are under way, airport board Chairman Todd McBee said.

The Federal Aviation Administration has earmarked approximately $50,000 for the airport to design three hangars large enough to accommodate the most popular corporate aircraft -- eight- to 12-seat turbo-prop airplanes and small jets, McBee said.

Several corporate operators recently approached the airport about large hangar space, McBee said.

Paducah businessman David Hughes signed a contract Tuesday to rent one of the new hangars. Hughes owns Industrial Floors and Coatings Inc. on Cairo Road and has a six-seat twin-engine airplane he uses in his work. He previously kept his airplane in Mayfield and decided to move back after hearing about the plans for the larger hangars.

Hughes' industrial painting company calls on clients from northern Illinois to the Gulf Coast and from Texas to the East Coast. About 70 percent of his business is handled by airplane.

"For us, flying is a quality-of-life issue," Hughes said. "Otherwise, we'd be two days on the road for one call. The Mayfield airport and numerous other ones are just booming. They'll do anything under the sun for a corporation or individual who flies an airplane. They're interested in doing what the airplane owners asked them to do."

A timetable has not been set for hangar construction.

The 50-by-60-foot hangar spaces also can benefit private pilots, McBee said. Four could go together and rent one hangar in the absence of corporate client, McBee said.

The airport's existing 16 hangar spaces are rented, he said.

Mayor Arthur Byrn and the Mayfield City Council signed the FAA grant application during a special session Tuesday afternoon.

The project pleased Byrn, who said many area businesses and agricultural operations depend on the airport.

Other recent airport improvements include:

--Expansion of the 4,640-foot runway to 5,001 feet, one foot longer than what most aircraft insurers require. The $1 million expansion, paid with state funding, began June 1 and should be completed by the end of August.

--Construction of a 12,000-gallon above-ground jet fueling system to replace an underground system.

The tank is being fabricated and should be delivered within 30 days. State funds will pay for the $300,000 project. The new above-ground fuel tank will be easier to maintain and inspect, and doesn't have the potential environmental concerns of an underground tank, McBee said.

--Addition of five hangars in a T-shaped building two years ago, and the space was rented immediately, McBee said.

--Improvement to the runway overrun three years ago.

"The airport had several expansion projects in the late 1980s , but during the last decade there has not been much going on," McBee said. "We want to bring back the level of service to benefit the community.

"Hangars are a gift that keeps on giving. Pilots pay rent and burn fuel, and hangars draw more business to the airport."

The one existing hangar large enough to accommodate a corporate aircraft was renovated a few years ago.

Monthly rental fees on the existing hangars range from $95 to $250, while the large hangars will rent for between $500 and $750, McBee said.

The 200-acre airport is in a prime location east of Mayfield, with access from Ky. 58 and the Purchase Parkway, McBee said.

Matt Sanders can be contacted at 575-8659.



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