Picayune Municipal Airport contributes in many ways to our community
Published 7:00 am Friday, May 23, 2014
Picayune Municipal Airport is located at 148 Airport Road and offers 24 hour, seven-day-a-week access for its pilots and their passengers.
It features a 5,000 foot runway which was resurfaced two years ago and two state-of-the-art Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance approaches, which Airport board member and pilot Frank Ford described as an aircraft guidance system that will bring pilots down to 200 feet visibility to assist in landing.
“The previous system would get pilots down to a 500 foot level but this new system can make the difference in you getting home when weather is marginal,” Ford said.
Airport Manager Andy Greenwood said the 14-year-old facility has the distinction of being the first terminal in the state to be funded by Federal Aviation Association grant money.
“The airport is actually funded by grants which are funded by fuel taxes and airport parking fees,” Greenwood said. “Each year we apply for them and must have five to ten percent in matching funds. This is how we make improvements here.”
This summer through fall there will be a surface sealant placed on the taxi way and apron through Airport Improvement Funds from the FAA.
He said the airport is the perfect location for a stop for people flying from Florida to Texas and vice-versa.
Greenwood said that the airport is an economic driver for the area because large corporations usually have corporate jets and they need fuel, hangars and other miscellaneous items. This, along with overnight accommodations for the pilots and passengers and purchases from local retailers and restaurants, add to the area’s tax base.
“When corporations are looking for relocation potential, they look at access to an area,” Greenwood said. “Picayune has rail, Interstate and airport access. We have ports in the near vicinity via the Gulf Coast. We have a lot to offer.”
The airport serves as an educational tool for local students who are able to experience flight simulators and military personnel who take advantage of the rural darkness to practice night maneuvers.
Greenwood said the Hammond Army-National Guard, Coast Guard stationed at Calendar Field and Eglin Air Force Base all use the field for practice.
Flight instruction is available through one of the facility’s fixed based operators. These on-site vendors provide necessities such as maintenance, fuel, instruction and cleaning chemicals for the aircraft.
“We try to show our guests, whether they are pilots, school children or passengers, that we have a lot to offer at both the facility and in our area,” Greenwood said.