Municipality must fix main
airport runway, says manager

By Liz Dadson


Kincardine council

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Kincardine council must address fixing up the main runway at the Kincardine Airport.

That's the word from airport manager Blake Evans as he gave his annual report in committee-of-the-whole Wednesday night (April 16).

He told council that 2013 was a successful year with completion of two capital projects, as scheduled: replacement of the municipal hangar door and a utility equipment room in the hangar; and the access road servicing the hangar development area.

Evans said fuel sales last year fluctuated mainly due to weather. The GPS (Global Positioning System) used at the airport is very valuable, receiving favourable response from pilots who are able to land even in bad weather.

He stressed consultant surveys (by AMEC and Genivar) have found that the main runway (31-13) is seriously distressed. Crack-sealing is required annually, and is planned for both 31-13 and 05-23 this year.

"The runway is starting to show its age," he said. "The crack-sealing fixes it temporarily."

This past winter season was a tough one, said Evans, adding praise for the Kincardine public works department that kept the runway clear of snow, particularly for charter operators.

He said the varied price of fuel sales (by about five cents per litre, as permitted by council) didn't make it that attractive for pilots.

"We did, however, see a number of planes from Oshawa, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay here for the Gathering of the Bands weekend," he said.

The airport will be hosting more school visits, encouraging youth to become interested in planes and possibly getting their pilot's licence, said Evans. "Over the next few years, Canada will need 10,000 new commercial pilots."

This year, he said, the Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) is to be donated and installed in conjunction with the Armow Wind project. Also, new siding will be put on the municipal hangar, and the municipal terminal building.

Deputy mayor Anne Eadie asked what the cost is for the crack-sealing, and noted that the airport management group was hoping to redo the main runway either this year or next.

"Last year, the crack-sealing cost about $7,000," said Evans. "It helps reduce the rate of deterioration."


He said moisture gets into the asphalt, causing it to heave. Along the edges, there are often bits of asphalt which could damage a jet engine. So, proper maintenance means staff must drive the runway every day and keep it clear of this debris.

Evans said it's not just the volume of traffic at the airport that is hard on the runway, it's the type of planes.

"Your typical single-engine plane weighs 15 tons, has 28-30 pounds of pressure in the tires and lands at about 70-80 knots," he said. "But these larger aircraft weigh a lot more, have about 100-140 pounds of pressure in the tires, and land at 140-150 miles per hour. Something has to be done about the main runway in 2014-15."

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014