Grant will bring airport upgrade with new executive hangars 4/18/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2014

Grant will bring airport upgrade with new executive hangars

By John Howell Sr.
A $331,596 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will fund the construction of two large aircraft hangars at the Panola County Airport, County Administrator Kelley Magee said.
The office of Congressman Bennie Thompson announced the FAA award to Panola County last week.

“The construction of a hangar building will assist the airport be as self-sustaining as possible by generating revenue,” Thompson’s announcement stated.

“We need a hangar for large aircraft,” former Panola County Airport board chairman David Floyd said.

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Construction of the two new executive hangars will utilize a concrete slab that remained following destruction by fire of a large hangar several years ago. Construction of the large hangars follows completion of “T-hangars” built in several stages over recent years with annual FAA funding. T-hangars house smaller, general aviation aircraft parked head to tail.

“We’ve been very successful at showing we use the money properly, therefore we get it again,” Floyd said of the FAA grants the county applies for annually.

Rent for aircraft storage is paid by owners “directly back to the county,” Floyd said. “As fast as we can build them, we fill them up.”

Floyd said that the Panola County Airport is ideally located and equipped. Airports owners from Memphis, Hernando, Olive Branch and Oxford store planes here because rental hangar space elsewhere is “crowded out” and more expensive.

The Panola airport is also equipped to handle all-weather landings and takeoffs and its runway of sufficient length “to handle just about any (general aviation) jet,” the former airport board chairman said.

The county also permits aircraft owners to build their own hangars on airport land leased from the county, Magee said. Leases run from 15 to 25 years, then the hangar becomes county property.