This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

I learn about PAPIs

The Airport Authority Board held its regular June meeting on Wednesday night; it was the first of their regular meetings that I have attended since last summer. They had items for three projects on their agenda.

The tanks for the fuel-tank farm should arrive Friday and be filled on Monday. They then undergo what is called a soak test that takes several days and is designed to check the epoxy linings of the tanks. The contractor wanted some extra money for work he did that was not in the plan. Some of the requests seemed reasonable to the engineer because they improved value, but other changes seemed to be for the convenience of the contractor. Final decision on them will be at a future meeting.

The Board approved a contract for the proposed T-hangars that will be constructed by Hamstra contingent on County Council approval of the appropriation and approval by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (IDLGF).

A third project that I had not heard much about previously was for navigational aids improvements. The project would be funded by a FAA grant of $150,000 with a 4% state match and 6% of local funds. An important part of this grant would be for Precision Approach Path Indicators, or PAPIs. The airport currently has a system of this sort on the north end, so pilots approaching from the north can determine if they are on the correct glide path, but there is no system for the approach from the south. The addition of a PAPI system on the south is the most requested change pilots suggest to the airport. The Board approved submitting the grant application to the FAA and for moving on the project if the grant is approved. (Often FAA grants must be accepted within a day or two after they are granted, so this motion pre-approves Board acceptance and lets the appropriate people sign the grant papers.)

There was also discussion of getting new signs that direct pilots on the ground. The old signs were given to the airport after being rejected by another airport and are very faded. This would be a project with only local funding.

The Board approved sending the additional appropriation for the T-hangar project to the County Council. Some of the money that would be used would be the LOIT money recently returned to local governments by the State of Indiana.

There was discussion of insurance issues that I did not understand and then discussion of the search for a new airport manager. As of the meeting, 19 applications had been received. The Board agree that they would individually review the applicants and rank them, and from those rankings arrive at a limited number that a personnel committee would interview.

The sun was setting and I left before the meeting concluded. As I left, I took a picture of the beacon tower. This structure no longer meets FAA regulations and may be removed as part of the navigational-aids-improvement project.

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