November 13, 2014

Flying the friendly skys to New Town

 

Airport reopens after construction

By Jerry W. Kram

It was a small event, just another small plane coming in to land at a small airport. But it was a big deal in the history of the New Town Airport.

The plane belongs to the state of North Dakota and it brought Kyle Wanner, director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, for an inspection that would allow the airport to reopen after a major reconstruction project that saw the complete replacement of the runway and a reorganization of the infrastructure around the airport.

"We’re going look at the final checklist of items to make sure the airport can be opened safely for the general public," Wanner said. "There were multiple airports in the western part of the state that were in dire need of improvement. New Town was one of them. The pavement was deteriorating, there was a need for a longer runway, there was a hump in the runway, there wasn’t any room for additional hangers, there wasn’t enough room to park, so there was a whole assortment of issues to tackle. So here we are with a new airport for New Town and it is really exciting to see."

Wanner was accompanied on the inspection tour by Milo Wolding, president of the New Town Airport Board. Wolding said New Town has had quite an increase in the number of larger planes flying into the airport. Many of those pilots complained that the runway was too short for the larger planes. Part of the project added 425 feet to the runway so it is now 3,400 feet long.

"That was one of our biggest issues," Wolding said. "We are pretty restricted on property, so we were able to trade some property with the transload facility, so we got some property on the southwest end. It would have been nice to get some more length, but that’s about all we can get."

Wolding is also a pilot and he said landing on the new surface was a great feeling.

"The additional length and width just makes things easier and easier," Wolding said. "Our airport was in great shape for its age, but to refurbish the surface of it was something we just couldn’t afford. So the state stepped up and funded a large part of it for us."


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