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Airport group discusses taxiway options, approves annual report

  • Members of the North Cedar Aviation Authority, ex officio members and others discuss plans to build a new taxiway to the Northeast Iowa Regional Airport’s main runway, at the group’s regular monthly meeting Wednesday. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

  • A corporate jet sits at the Northeast Iowa Regional Airport after having just landed Wednesday afternoon. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra

By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress.com

Business has been good for Bill Kyle and the North Cedar Aviation Authority.

Corporate jets fly in and out of Northeast Iowa Regional Airport on a consistent basis just three miles east of Charles City.

Kyle, the airport’s manager who in 2016 celebrated 50 years of being involved in aviation, reminisced Wednesday at the monthly meeting of the aviation authority.

“Everything that we’ve done – you sit back and you look at it. I’m 68 years old now and I’ve been here my whole life,” said Kyle, who rose to the title of airport manager in 1982 after starting out as a line boy in 1966.

One big project that is on the horizon for the airport is $2.2 million to build a new taxiway on the grounds. The current taxiway is actually a former asphalt runway that only goes about half the length of the 4,000-foot paved main runway and is too close to the runway, according to Aviation Authority Chairman Jeff Sisson. The plan is to break ground next summer.

“This airport is head and shoulders above most airports when it comes to projects and planning. I have some experience because I have two other airports,” said Kyle, who took over as president of Charles City Aeronautics after the passing of his father and co-founder of the company, Lyle, in 1998.

The Federal Aviation Administration will fund 90 percent of the taxiway construction if approved. Bids for the multi-million dollar project should go out sometime next May, according to Kyle.

Kyle and several other attendees of the meeting, along with board members Kip Hauser and Kathy McGregor, reviewed the design plans for the taxiway.

“I like the wide access to the apron,” said Sisson.

Support was unanimous for option B of the blueprints that would create a straight shot and direct access from the corporate hangar to the taxiway. Option A devised a route that required planes to make a 90-degree turn and then proceed to the runway, according to Kyle.

“I think the direct access to the ramp to the end of the runaway makes sense,” said Mike Bearden, a consultant with Clapsaddle-Garber Associates of Marshalltown.

Kyle and Bearden will meet with FAA officials at the Four States Conference in Kansas City in two weeks to further discuss the taxiway project.

“We’ll know more about which one they’re going to want us to engineer,” Kyle said of the different taxiway options.

Also discussed at the meeting was what to do with a $12,750 grant that was awarded to the airport from the Iowa Department of Transportation in February  2017. Initially the board had planned to construct an avigation (overflight) easement to runway 30 with a portion of the money. Now that grant could either be canceled or used toward mitigation of old or dying trees in the grove area near the manager’s residence.

Kyle said trenches and holes have been dug for the new beacon light. The $60,000 tower project is 80-percent state funded. Part of the project’s work is to remove the old base. Kyle suggested keeping it so a storage building could be erected on the site. A target date of completion for that is Thanksgiving.

The board also approved the airport’s annual report. Kyle said not much has changed on the report from last year but he did want to add a plan regarding a joint-sealing project for the runway. Kyle said he would work with Lezlie Weber, the Floyd County emergency management director, to address the airport’s security plan.

“I think we still need to think about trying to find some way to get a modern emergency generator,” said Kyle.

The annual Lions Club pancake breakfast fundraiser that took place at the airport last month gave 137 airplane rides to those interested. Airport office manager Dawn Gourley said there were 38 fly-ins for the breakfast.

Kyle said the airport runway has seen plenty of use this summer. Planes at the airport are also busy with agriculture spraying of farm fields as well during the summer months.

“We have two corporate jets and two corporate turbo props that are based at this airport and they’re flying virtually daily,” said Kyle.

The Northeast Iowa Regional Airport is owned by the North Cedar Aviation Authority. The authority was formed under an agreement between the city of Charles City and Floyd County in April 2006.

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