Monday, May 18, 2009

OU Airport to put Stimulus Money in use

by Jonny Griffith

The Ohio University Airport has received $3.15 million as part of the 2009 federal funds from the Recovery and Investment Act, which will be used to make much needed repairs to its terrain. Its runway safety area, which is a piece of real estate which all airports have running parallel to their runways, had a number of discrepencies that had kept it from meeting the latest airport standards.

According to Ken Carley who is the Director of the OU Airport, the dire need for repairs to the runway helped the airport receive the money in a timely manner. Carley says creating safety around the runway is the main goal the airport has with the use of the money.

Director of OU Airport-Ken Carley

Carley also says safety is especially important at airports where student training is taking place, like the OU Airport.

Director of OU Airport

The OU Airport is a general aviation facility without commercial flights. The airport sees around 50,000 operations a year, most of which are training operations involving OU students. The airport has 53 aircrafts, 20 of which are owned by the University, with others belonging to private owners.

Students in the Department of Aviation have to go through a number of steps before they are able to reach the sky. According to senior Matt Dipaola, students are expected to take a quarter of ground school, take a few written exams, take an oral exam on flying specs and complete a certain number of training hours before they are able to fly. Dipaola says that instructors main concern with new students is landing because of the difficulties some students have controlling planes. Getting students to go through checklists, take all safety techniques and scan for air traffic are also important steps that instructors teach students while flying.

According to Dipaola the biggest drawback to the department is the number of fees students are required to pay. Aside from tuition, students have fees that cover aircraft operating costs and fees for instructor training. Due to the high cost of being in this program, Dipoala stresses the importance of student commitment if they're in the program.

Matt Dipaola-Senior Aviation Major

The Ohio University Airport is the biggest general aviation facility in the state and is open to the general public. Carley says anyone is welcome to come to airport and check out how it operates. For a shuttle to the airport click here.

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