Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 16, 2012

Airport Authority approves agreement with Forestry Service

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater Regional Airport Authority  approved a short-term agreement with the State of Oklahoma Department of Central Services to lease tie down space and other services for Forestry Service aircraft associated with wildfire fighting.

Airport Director Gary Johnson said the Forestry Service requires a written agreement for leasing of hangar or tie down space.

“They (Forestry Service) will be operating out of here for an undetermined amount of days or months,” said Johnson. “We’re fortunate to have them here. We’re centrally located so they can travel even 150 miles away.”

Johnson said the planes have made several flights this week.

Justin Biassou, authority board member, asked Johnson why the forestry service chose Stillwater as an operation base.

Johnson referenced the recent wildfires in the area and said the forestry service looked at the airport facilities and “came on up here.”

“The planes can really pump out where the water goes, partly protecting houses and property,” Johnson said. “Of course, there are the unsung heroes that work hard on the ground, but this is more of a surgical attack from above — I believe the planes can drop 800-plus gallons.”

Johnson also gave an update on the parallel taxiway construction project. The taxiway is part of a $4-million dollar project aimed at giving the airport a more efficient layout. The city of Stillwater received $3,497,520 in grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration for the project.

“The project is moving right along. Hopefully major pavement will be done by the middle of next week,” Johnson said.

 

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