Dot Grants Pending For Taxiway, Weather System
Eagles Nest Airport will file an application next week for an environmental permit needed to disturb a 300-by-50-foot area of wooded wetlands in order to complete its taxiway system. “Disturb” in this case means to clear and re-establish the wetland area, which lies to the north of the runway in Eagleswood Township.
The plan requires a series of state Department of Environmental Protection approvals, according to airport owner Peter Weidhorn. Two state Department of Transportation grants are also pending – one for $750,000 to construct the western end of the taxiway system, and one for $200,000 to install an AWOS (Automated Weather Observing System), which is controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration for pilots to access weather conditions by radio with the click of a button.
The application will also need to appear before the Eagleswood Land Use Board to seek approval for three hangar home sites with airport access, Weidhorn added.
Heading into 2014, the airport continues to grow and expand as a General Aviation Airport, while at the same time working to be a responsible and cooperative neighbor, he announces last week.
In addition to the runway lighting system, non-precision GPS approaches are anticipated in the coming year, and a shift in the runway, 400 feet to the west, will establish displaced thresholds, Weidhorn explained. The purpose is not, he clarified, to extend the runway or allow for larger aircraft to land there. “The runway shift will facilitate a departure turn to the northeast sooner, thus avoiding the residential area. Landing on (Runway) 32 will continue to overfly both the residential area and Atlantic City Electric tower, however, at a higher altitude, thus reducing noise and enhancing safety.” He said.
Other plans include collaboration with the Eagleswood recreational Commission in the hope to establish an annual community day each September to coincide with the annual 5k run and walk sponsored by the town. It would include EAA chapter airplane rides, food, amusements, a DJ, the local fire company and a pilot fly-in. Plans are in the works for a pilot fly-in for Toys for Tots in December. Also begun is the process of establishing an aviation-themed playground for local kids.
With the support of the Eagleswood community and the NJ Department of Transportation, Weidhorn said, in 2013 the first set of hangars was completed and immediately leased. Construction is 90 percent complete for 18 addition T-hangars, which will be available mid January 2014. Also, 400 feet of on runway overrun area has been paved and another has been stabilized and extended; the airport received a $285,000 grant from the DOT for construction and installation of runway lights, RIELS, a PAPI and rotating beacon, expected to be operational in June; and the airport opened a full-service FBO facility with a computer system – for flight planning and weather briefing – and restroom facilities.
Hangar rentals and tie-down fees will remain the same in 2014, Weidhorn said. He encourages the flying community to participate in monthly pilot dinners and Saturday destination lunch flights.
A flying club – which allows pilots to share the cost of an airplane while maintaining an ownership interest, as an alternative to renting an airplane – is in the developing stages.
Meanwhile, a skydive operation newly opened last year and so far successful, may face a challenge in the year ahead as a neighboring resident has raised the question of skydiving as a generally accepted use for an airport. Weidhorn expects to make another appearance before the land use board to see approval and/or the needed license to continue that operation. – Victoria Ford