published Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Cleveland Regional Jetport plans to celebrate first year

  • photo
    The Cleveland Regional Jetport is northeast of Cleveland, Tenn., on Dry Valley Road.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Plans are in the works to celebrate the Jan. 25 anniversary of the opening of the Cleveland Regional Jetport.

On Friday, the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority board discussed the possibility of dovetailing the first anniversary event with a celebration commemorating the completion of the massive Jones Airways hangar, located next to and dwarfing the airport's two-story, chalet-style terminal.

A January date will give more time for completing other construction and groundwork at the jetport, said Lynn DeVault, secretary-treasurer for the authority.

The construction of two communal hangars, each with the capacity to accommodate 10 aircraft, is on track for December completion, said Mark Fidler, director of operations at the Cleveland Regional Jetport.

"The hangars are coming along at a brisk rate," he said. "The doors are in the process of being hung."

Electrical service work has started and the roofs will come last, Fidler said.

A taxiway connector to the runways also is under construction, he said, as are a number of private hangars.

In other business, Fidler said that the Federal Aviation Administration certification process for instrument approaches to the airport is nearly completed. Recent test flight checks went well, but unfortunately a technical problem with the certifying aircraft's instruments has prevented official certification, he said.

Fidler said the best estimate for FAA publication of the jetport's instrument flight path will be February.

DeVault said she couldn't believe the airport will have been open for a year by the time the instrument approach is published.

Flight training has been doing well, said Taylor Newman, director of operations for Crystal Air, which provides operational services for the airport.

In January, Crystal Air plans to offer a 10-week ground school for pilot training, Newman said. The classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays and will be free to anyone who has taken the training previously and wants a "refresher," he said.

Newman said such a class is a good way to build bonds in the flying community.

DeVault said the preliminary processes required to dispose of Hardwick Field, Cleveland's oldest airfield, are underway.

All paperwork, which includes appraisals and environmental studies, is nearly complete and soon will be submitted to state and federal aviation officials for review, DeVault said. Hardwick Field is expected to be ready for disposal by February or March, she said.

Airport officials have not yet decided whether to sell the old airfield property by auction or sealed bid.

Hardwick Field is scheduled to be closed by Dec. 31, officials said. All aircraft must be removed from it by that date.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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