Runway extension celebrated

Published 6:41 pm Thursday, May 29, 2014


The City of Troy celebrated an event more than a decade in the making on Thursday. Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the completion of Troy Municipal Airport’s runway 7 extension.

A bit of rain interrupted the ceremony, but no one seemed to mind. In fact, Mayor Jason Reeves said it was the perfect example of a day that would put the runway’s new ILS system to use.

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“This is the type of weather that’s ideal for the system,” he said.

The system is also ideal for businesses and industries Pike County hopes to attract to the area.

“We feel like this is going to be critical. It will help our existing industries and help new industries,” Reeves said.

State Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Troy, compared the impact to Airbus coming to Mobile and bringing about 1,000 jobs with it.

“One of the things that we have that most don’t is aerospace. That is an economic engine,” Boothe said. “I think the extended runway is an asset and will be a strong driver for our area and community.”

The runway extension itself was completed in 2012. Because of the rough terrain adjacent to the 1,000-foot extension, engineers had to either transport truckloads of dirt to level out nine acres of land or use the End Fire ILS system.

The system provides elevation information to help pilots land – even in conditions with poor visibility.

Engineering firm Goodwyn, Mills, Cawood headed the ILS project. Al Allenback, the firm’s vice president of airport planning and engineering, said installing the End Fire was a more economical alternative.

“It was about $800,000 cheaper,” he said.

The City of Troy took advantage of federal grants available to small airports since Sept. 11.

With 95 percent of the funding coming from the grant and 2.5 percent from the state, Troy’s investment was 2.5 percent.

“Two and a half percent on the dollar for what we have here is a very good investment,” said Reeves.

The U.S. Army will maintain the system and operate it daily. When Fort Rucker flight students go on their first solo mission,

Troy’s runways are the first ones on their route to make an emergency landing. Because Troy Municipal Airport acts as this backup for training missions, Capt. Heather Lee said the new landing system was critical.

“Up north, weather changes very quickly. This system will keep our new flight students safe,” she said.