Mason County News
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Airport Advisory Board Examining Airport Issues
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 • Posted January 25, 2012

On Jan. 9, the Mason County Commissioners’ Court approved the appointment of the following to the Airport Advisory Board: Don Daniels, Vance Turner, Tom Doell, Laird Palmer, and Stephen Mutschink (the County Court representative). Later on the same day, the board met with TxDOT Aviation Division Project Manager Michelle Hannah. The main topic was replacement of hangars that were destroyed by a windstorm last summer. Rural Airport Maintenance Program grants were discussed, and it was noted that Mason has been approved for a 50/50 share grant up to $100,000. A 90/10 share hangar construction grant was also presented, but no funds will be available before 2013-2014. Maps and plans for the airport were reviewed, and the group then toured the airport. Problems noted at the airport included possible resurfacing of the runway, care of grass runway, extension of existing taxiways to existing hangars, improvements to pilot’s lounge, and some needed minor repairs. The group scheduled another meeting for Jan. 13.At the Jan. 13 meeting, Robert Parr and Kenneth Winjum joined the group, and the possibility of federal funding was discussed. However, we would have to develop a master plan, and have a minimum of 10 aircraft based here to meet federal requirements. But you can’t get planes without hangars. No one wants to bring a plane costing $100,000 and up to this airport and park it without some protection—especially from hail. Types of hangars and how to get them were then discussed. Current airport policy provides for private construction on airport property with a 10-year lease, and a $120 per year maintenance fee. 2 individuals expressed interest in building 3-sided hangars similar to the remaining private hanger, but they stated they would require a 40-year lease. Another wanted an enclosed hangar, and suggested leasing to a contractor that would build a hangar complex on a long-term lease contract. Another suggested that a hangar with both ends open would be sufficient for his needs, and for the occasional overnight or weekend visitors. It was discussed that if the county constructed the hangars, they could expect $75 per month rent for open hangars, $100-$150 for 3-sided hangars, and $200-$250 for closed hangars, and $40-$50 per night.Currently there are two hangar leases in effect. One is for 5 years with Continental Helicopters for $300 per month, and expiring on June 1, 2013, with a 5-year extension at $500 per month if they wish to renew. The other lease is for 10 years with Laird Palmer for $120 per year, expiring on February 9, 2014.Approximate preliminary prices for an open hangar were $10,000 for an open hangar, $12,500 for a 3-sided hangar, and from $16,000 up for an enclosed hangar—if existing concrete slabs are used. Arched, bolt-together styles, along with weld-up rectangular styles were discussed. At least 4 hangars are needed now, and there are probably additional planes that would base here instead of Llano, Brady, or Fredericksburg if space were available. Construction costs would probably be a little cheaper per unit if 6 hangars were built at the same time.This information was presented to the Commissioners’ Court on Jan. 23 so that the county can begin to determine what direction to take to provide a solution to this problem.

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