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Middletown to receive federal grant for airport runway improvement

An airplane takes off from Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
An airplane takes off from Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded a grant for more runway improvementS at Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field.

The office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced today that the $112,500 grant will go toward installing new precision approach path indicators (PAPIs) to Runway 5/23.

Middletown officials had not been officially informed that the city was awarded the grant as of this afternoon. However, the grant is part of the annual allocation provided to the airport by the FAA, city officials said.

City officials said PAPIs are bright lights that shine out on a line and are visible about four miles out that indicate to a pilot that they are on the correct glide path as they approach the end of the runway. Too low and they turn one color and too high they turn a different color.

MWO had attempted a few fixes to the older system (installed in ~1980’s) but when we attempted to certify them last year, they did not meet standards.

Explore MORE: Middletown planning two safety improvements for its airport runway

The city’s 6,100-foot runway is one of the largest uncontrolled runways in the state.

“Ohio airports are vital to supporting travel and commerce in the state,” Brown said. “This investment will help to ensure the safety of the Middletown Regional/Hook Field Airport for residents and businesses for years to come.”

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The FAA supports public-use airports included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) through the Airport Improvement Program. The program supports projects that improve airport safety, capacity, security and environmental impact.

Explore MORE: Possible skydiving drop zone in Middletown park area leads to packed council meeting

The NPIAS identifies nearly 3,330 existing and proposed airports that are included in the national airport system, the roles they currently serve, and the amounts and types of airport development eligible for Federal funding under the Airport Improvement Program over the next five years. The FAA is required to provide Congress with a five-year estimate of AIP eligible development every two years.

The NPIAS contains all commercial service airports, all reliever airports, and selected public-owned general aviation airports. Middletown Regional Airport is considered a regional reliever airport for Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and Dayton international airports, according to Matt Eisenbraun, acting economic development director.

In the past several years, the city has received close to $4 million in airport improvement grants from the FAA and the Ohio Department of Transportation/Aviation Division, and the city’s matching funds for those grants have been less than $300,000, Eisenbraun said. He said the funding is broken down at 90 percent from the FAA, five percent from ODOT and five percent from the city.

Fast facts about Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field

  • The general aviation airport features the longest uncontrolled asphalt runway in Ohio at 6,100 feet. It is the longest runway in Butler and Warren counties and is one of the longest in southwest Ohio.
  • The airport's main runway can accommodate jet aircraft as large as a Boeing 757.
  • There is also a 3,040 foot turf runway at the airport.
  • The airport also offers private, commercial and helicopter pilot training.
  • It is the home of Start Skydiving and Team Fastrax.
  • Approximately 110 aircraft are based at Middletown Regional Airport which logs more than 40,000 aircraft operations annually and sells 400,000 gallons of aviation fuel each year. The airport is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The airport contains 13 city-owned buildings that consists of 66 T-Hangar units, two 50 foot by 50 foot aircraft hangar units, an 8,000 square-foot Terminal Building, a 24,000 square-foot maintenance hangar, and 39,000 square feet of corporate/community hangar space. The city also owns and operates a 40,000 gallon above ground aviation fuel storage facility.
  • The airport is in the process of installing a self-service low lead aviation fueling station for 2020.

SOURCE: City of Middletown