Picayune’s airport benefits from grant funds

Published 12:14 am Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Picayune’s share of $3.5 million in airport funding will build a new helicopter landing pad and correct a drainage problem.

Of that total, Picayune’s Municipal Airport will receive $87,500 to fund those projects, according to a press release from the offices of Sen. Roger Wicker and Sen. Thad Cochran.

Picayune Airport Manager Andy Greenwood said the funds will build that additional landing pad, brining the total to five. Helicopter landing pads help keep the fixed wing aircraft and helicopters at separate locations at the facility.

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In Picayune’s case, the helipads have been constructed away from where fixed wing aircraft are stored at the airport. The new pad will be constructed near the other four. Greenwood said helicopter landing pads built away from where fixed wing aircraft are stationed minimizes wind damage to the planes created by helicopters.

There is a drainage issue that plagues an area between two T-hangars at the airport. Currently, standing water in that area is causing the cement and asphalt between the hangars to deteriorate. That problem should be remedied when some of these funds are used to build a drainage system between the two hangars, Greenwood said.

Work on both projects is expected to begin in about a month, the airport manager said.

The press release states that the funds come from the U.S. Department of Transportation and are administered by the Federal Aviation Administration. Funds for the grant were provided through a fiscal year 2008 Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.

Other work is still planned at Picayune’s airport using funds from a previous grant. Greenwood said the fuel farm mentioned last year is still planned for construction between two of the the helipads. Construction will use existing gas plumbing at the current fuel farm to create a new fuel farm between the two hangars. That work will negate the need for helicopters to land near the fixed wing craft.

The contract for the fuel farm work has been awarded and Greenwood expects crews to begin construction in the next several weeks.