06/23/05 — Survey needed for Mount Olive Airport extension

View Archive

Survey needed for Mount Olive Airport extension

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on June 23, 2005 1:45 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The airport committee voted unanimously Wednesday morning to hire a surveyor to look over the land at the south end of the runway for expansion possibilities.

The 4,300-foot runway needs another 700 feet to reach the 5,000 feet necessary to accommodate larger jets, and the airport committee had planned to ask the state to close Kelly Springs Road and extend the runway farther north.

But neighbors to the north didn't like that idea. Joe Wilson told the committee he has fields that would be split in half if the road were closed.

Airport officials met with an engineer and state officials to discuss what to do.

Airport Manager Mike Bass told the committee Wednesday morning that state Division of Aviation officials suggested the town extend the runway southward toward town, although a radio tower nearby would hinder approaches for pilots landing from the south.

"They said they need a survey and a letter from the town," Bass said regarding the instrument approach pattern that would result from extending the runway to the south. "They said the survey would establish the coordinates for the new end."

The asphalt would be 5,250 feet long, with both ends of the runway displaced. The north end of the runway comes within a few feet of the Kelly Springs Road, and an extension south would also come close to Northeast Church Road. The minimum altitudes at which pilots could come to the runway would be higher than if they came in from the north.

The Mount Olive Committee of 100 owns part of the land off Northeast Church Road. The airport is important to nearby industries, Town Manager Ray McDonald said. He and the mayor are members of the airport committee. He said the airport is as important to the Committee of 100 as it is to anybody.

"If the airport doesn't succeed, they're going to have problems," he said.