Jeff Mullin, Enid News & Eagle
Planned joint-use hangar at airport will help protect both military, civilian aircraft
It is a spring evening, and a group of training aircraft from Vance Air Force Base are on the tarmac at Enid Woodring Regional Airport, where they will spend the night.
But the skies are darkening and radar shows a thunderstorm heading for the airport, bringing with it high winds and large hail, along with heavy rain, thunder and lightning.
Presently there isn't hangar space available to protect many of the Vance planes, much less any visiting civilian aircraft that might be taking shelter at the airport overnight.
Vance aircraft routinely use Woodring for training, visual flight rule, instrument and weekend training, as well as aircraft diversions, so their presence at the civil airport is not unusual. Neither, unfortunately, is wild weather in northwest Oklahoma.
If a storm damages a Vance T-1 or T-6, it could be grounded for days, if not weeks, thus putting a crimp in the base's training schedule. Any disruption in the training pipeline ultimately could have an impact on our nation's air defenses. Not to mention the fact repairing a military aircraft damaged by a storm is costly, and replacing one is even more expensive. A new T-1 or T-6 will cost upwards of $4 million.
The planned new joint-use hangar at Woodring will help mitigate this problem. The 120-foot-by-120-foot structure, which will stand 32 feet high, will be big enough to shelter nine T-6s or at least five T-ls at one time should the need arise. In addition it routinely could be used to house visiting civilian aircraft for a fee, of course.
Thanks to the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, the city won't even have to pay half the cost of building the hangar.
During the past two fiscal years the OSMPC has allotted $330,000 for the city to use for construction of the hangar. The total cost of the hangar, to be built by Henson Construction Inc., will be $561,050. That means the city only has to fork over some 41 percent of the cost.
This is just another prime example of the cooperation among the city, the state and the Air Force when it comes to protecting and enhancing the mission at Vance, as well as Enid's aviation community.
The hangar will be a welcome addition at Woodring that will benefit not only the airport, but Vance, as well. We applaud the city, the Vance Development Authority and the OSMPC for working together to make this much-needed project a reality.
The $228,050 the city will contribute to the project is not chicken feed, of course, but we think it will prove to be money well spent.
Mon, September 19, 2011