Sunday, May 16, 1999

Grant lets Lunken add hangars


More airplanes will soon be able to take cover

BY TANYA ALBERT
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Some of the 150 people on a waiting list to get their plane into a hangar at Lunken Airport may soon get a chance to park it under cover.

        The airport, eight miles east of downtown Cincinnati, received $1.3 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants that will allow Lunken to put a safety fence around the airport, develop an area of land into an apron so T-hangars can be built on it, and to add a lane leading to the taxiway.

        With the apron and lane, the airport can open bids for a developer to build and operate 30 to 40 new T-hangars. How many planes those will encompass will depend on design plans yet to be developed.

        The city now owns 62 hangers, and many plane owners must store their planes outside or at another facility.

        “It's pretty miserable,” said Bob Erbs, with the Cincinnati Warbirds. The group offers aerobatic thrill rides out of Lunken and stores its plane under a canopy cover.

        “It sits out in the snow and ice,” Mr. Erbs said. “It's not good for any plane.”

        Airport officials believe the new hangars could increase Lunken's business by about 25 percent.

        “It's exciting,” Lunken Airport Manager Dan Dickten said. “It brings in more airplanes and new business.”

        Construction on the taxiway and apron should start by the fall. After Jan. 1, Lunken airport plans to open bids for a company to build and operate new hangars, Mr. Dickten said.

        Some plane owners are encouraged by the news but believe new hangars will fill up quickly because the demand is so high.

        The Cincinnati Warbirds have several members on the waiting list for a hangar at Lunken. Some have been on it for about four or five years.

        “It's one of those things where you put your name on the list but never expect to get called,” said Mr. Erbs, a Warbirds member. “I'm sure they (the new hangars) will be absorbed immediately.”

        The federal money will pay for about 90 percent of the perimeter fence, taxi lane and apron. Half of the remaining $143,700 needed for the project will come from Cincinnati and half is expected to come from the Ohio Department of Transportation Bureau of Aviation. The perimeter fence will help keep wildlife off the runways.

        Lunken Airport has also applied for another $700,000 in federal money to build more infrastructure that would let a private company come in and build more hangars. Mr. Dickten said they should find out next year if they will receive that money. In all, he hopes about 100 new T-hangars will be built at Lunken.

       



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