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NTRA now candidate for FAA tower program

By Jerrie Whiteley, Herald Democrat

Posted Apr 3, 2018 at 11:17 AM

North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field’s control tower is now a candidate for the the Federal Aviation Administration’s contract tower program.

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe and County Judge Bill Magers talked about the new status for the local control tower during Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting. For Grayson County residents, getting the tower into the program will mean a $300,000 relief off the county’s $30 million budget and an upgrade to part of the county’s economic engine.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without my staff’s tireless coordination with our home-state U.S. Senators and their staffs, constant contact with the FAA and DOT, and collaboration with Grayson County officials, including Judge Magers and Texas Aviation Partners,” Ratcliffe said in a press release. “Since the Trump administration took charge, I’m glad we’ve made drastic progress on this important Northeast Texas priority at a much more efficient pace, so that the folks I’m proud to represent can start reaping the rewards of our long-fought battle.”

Ratcliffe said there are just a few things the county had to do to get accepted into the program, but he doesn’t anticipate any trouble with that. County Judge Bill Magers said the county had yet to receive the task list for getting in, but has been assured it won’t be a problem.

The $300,000 that the county has had to put toward the airport could be put to work in other areas including, possibly, other transportation-related projects. Magers recently said the $300,000 represents about half a cent on the tax rate and could relate, at some point, to another tax decrease for the county.

Last month, Jamie Baker, director of public policy for U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, told commissioners that the county’s benefit-to-cost-ratio numbers regarding tower spending were up for final review with the federal government. If accepted into the program, the tower could receive up to $500,000 in annual funding, which would be an increase of about $200,000 for the airport.

Grayson County first moved to get the control tower into the FAA’s Tower Program in June 2012. The FAA program currently extends federal funds to most of the nation’s air traffic control towers which are stationed at airports that record at least 100,000 operations, or flights, each year.

Magers recently said NTRA records 80,000 annual operations, but that figure did not include operations which occurred during hours the tower was closed. If those after-hours operations were included in the count, Magers said the tower would surpass the 100,000 mark stipulated by the program.

While both Magers and Ratcliffe were quick to praise each other as they celebrated the announcement Tuesday, Magers also had congratulations for others.

“We want to give thanks to those who came before us,” Magers said indicating the commissioners and county judges who have invested county time and money in the airport in the past.

He said that effort went back decades before he became county judge.

“This moves us from a minor league airport to a major league airport,” Magers said of NTRA’s acceptance as a candidate for the federal program.

He said it should also make a difference to companies that are looking to locate in Grayson County.

Source: http://www.heralddemocrat.com/news/20180403/ntra-now-candidate-for-faa-tower-program

Texas Aviation Partners plans NTRA runway reopening

By Michael Hutchins, Herald Democrat

Officials with Texas Aviation Partners announced plans Thursday to restore and reopen a portion of one of North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field’s two parallel runways to aviation traffic. The runway, which has remained closed since the closure of Perrin Air Force Base in 1971, will be used to separate and segregate the traffic that comes into, and leaves, the airport, officials said.

The announcement was made during Thursday’s meeting of the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority as a part of the airport manager’s report. Currently, the airport is equipped with three runways — the two parallel runways and a third cross runway.

“The main goal of that (opening the runway) would be to segregate your light (aircraft) … away from your jet traffic,” NTRA Airport Manager Sarah Hinton said during Thursday’s meeting.

Hinton said the airport currently has about an 8,000 foot stretch of unused runway space that dates back to the airport’s time as a military base. Of that space, Hinton proposed repairing 3,000 feet so that it can be used by smaller aircraft and training aircraft. This would leave the larger airstrip for more powerful jet aircraft, she said.

Hinton said the repairs needed to this section of runway are primarily crack- and chip-seal work and new painting. Other maintenance, including herbicide and brush removal, are already included in the budget, she said.

Stephen Alexander, a partner with Texas Aviation Partners, said the portion of runway was chosen due to its condition and the relative ease of bringing it up to usable condition. During her presentation, Hinton said the chosen portion of runway would cost about $70,000 to seal and repaint. With a 20 percent contingency fee, Hinton said she did not expect the project to go over $100,000.

When the topic of rebuilding the existing runway was brought up later in the meeting, Grayson County Judge Bill Magers estimated the cost at about $7 million.

The need for additional runway space stems from training flight operations conducted by US Aviation. Alexander said the flight school conducts daily operations using prop-driven aircraft at the airport with regular takeoff and touchdowns on the runway. This traffic could make it difficult at times for larger, jet-powered aircraft to land, he said.

By separating the traffic, Alexander said the airport could alleviate any safety issues related to the two types of aircraft operating in the same space. As an analogy, Alexander compared the proposed layout as a four-lane highway, where as the airport now is close to a two-lane roadway.

With the separation of these uses, Magers said he hopes to attract more jet traffic to NTRA and with it other forms of development and industry. Additionally, by reducing the landing times, Magers said the airport can reduce the cost to use the airport by jet pilots, further incentivizing NTRA as a viable destination.

During public comments on the topic, George Shuler asked what stakeholders, including US Aviation thought about the proposed location of the open runway space. Shuler said he was concerned that the distance between the flight school and the runway space would create an unneeded burden on US Aviation. Shuler asked if it would be possible to instead renovate space to the south that would be closer to the flight school.

Alexander said US Aviation has expressed support for the project, and noted that the distance between where the flight school regularly takes off and the new runway space is not significant.

Magers said Grayson County will be financing the improvements using capital improvement funds allocated in the 2016-2017 budget. During the discussion, Magers thanked Lawrence for his foresight during the budgeting process and making this improvement possible.

While the funding is available now, Magers said he was uncertain whether the improvements would take place during the current or next fiscal year due to timing. Hinton said NTRA will need to wait for approval from the Federal Aviation Administration before it can repair and open the air strip. She estimated it could take about 60 days for the proper permits to be approved.

Source: http://www.heralddemocrat.com/news/20170713/texas-aviation-partners-plans-ntra-runway-reopening

NTRA signs contract for alert hangar lease

By Michael Hutchins Herald Democrat

Officials with Texas Aviation Partners announced the lease of hangar 5513 at North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field on Wednesday. The large hangar, more commonly known as the alert hangar, was kept at the ready throughout the 1960s and early 1970s with interceptor aircraft in the event of an emergency along the country’s southern border.

Under the terms of the lease, A4-L LLC will get 29,000 square feet of space in the hangar for the next five years, with options to extend the agreement for another 15 years in total. Negotiations for the contract were handled by Texas Aviation Partners, who provide marketing and operations services for the airport.

“We’re please to see A4-L grow their business at NTRA,” Stephen Alexander, with Texas Aviation Partners, said in a press release Wednesday. “The alert hangar was a perfect option for their expansion.”

Currently, A4-L maintains and leases aircraft including the titular Douglas A4 Skyhawk for government and commercial contracts. On its website, A4-L lists contract flights, film and stunt photography, and airshows among its services.

“These professional aircraft are ready for contract to specialized operators and military contractors,” the website said, describing A4L’s services alongside pictures of the Skyhawk in flight. “These aircraft have recent experience as target drone tugs, and as mock dog-fight/aggressor training simulation.”

John Tallichet, president and CEO of A4-L, said the company currently owns seven A4 aircraft with three in flight condition at this time. The company has maintained a smaller box hangar at the airport for about three years, but business has stalled recently as they do not have the space to perform maintenance, he said.

“This new facility will provide the space we need to efficiently support existing operations and enable us to expand our business by offering maintenance support,” Tallichet said.

With the additional space, A4-L will be able to expand its maintenance service to other turbine-powered aircraft including Learjets, Citations and King Air aircraft.

“One of the things that will help the airport grow is the ability to do heavier maintenance,” Ken Mabe, representing Texas Aviation Partners, said Wednesday.

Previously, Alexander described the former alert hangar as a hard sell due to its size and age. The hangar was built in 1951 and first utilized in 1955. Ken Mabe, with Texas Aviation Partners, said the building has been mostly vacant outside of aircraft storage for nearly a decade.

Clyde Siebman, chairman of the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority, voiced his approval for the contract on Wednesday. In a unanimous vote in December, the GCRMA board approved moving forward with negotiations on the contract.

With a new tenant in the hangar, Siebman said he expected it to bring more attention to the airport and its economic vitality. Through this lease, Siebman said the airport could attract more tenants, including one for the remaining space in the alert hangar. In total, the building has more than 54,000 square feet of space.

Under the lease, A4-L will pay $7,500 each month for the first 12 months of the lease. For the remaining term of the lease, A4-L will pay nearly $9,500 each month.

When asked about any additional investment or equipment for the space, Mabe said he was uncertain what would be needed, but he expected that there would be some investment in the building.

“With any building of that age, there is going to maintenance and I expect there will be money invested in it,” he said.

Source: http://www.heralddemocrat.com/news/20170315/ntra-signs-contract-for-alert-hangar-lease

RMA negotiates lease for about half of NTRA’s largest hangar

Herald Democrat

By Michael Hutchins

December 15, 2016

In the 1960s North Texas Regional Airport – Perrin Field’s alert hangar was constantly ready to respond to threats against the U.S. With its four large bay doors that were designed for quick release and interceptor aircraft, the hangar provided a quick military response in the event of an emergency along the country’s southern border.

While the golden days of Perrin Field’s military past may be a distant memory, the alert hangar may soon see new life.

Officials with the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority voted unanimously Thursday to authorize contract negotiations with A4L LLC for the lease of half of the alert hangar. Previously, A4L has leased out aircraft including the titular Douglas A4 Skyhawk for government and commercial contracts.

“The plan for A4L is to continue and expand to those operations and conduct maintenance on King Air Leer Jets and other turbine-powered aircraft,” Jim Wimberly, representing Texas Aviation Partners, said.

The lease would include nearly 29,000 square feet of hangar, office and shop space along the northern side of the hangar. Under preliminary agreements, the hangar will be used to store, maintain and refurbish aircraft. On its website, A4L lists services including contract flights, film and stunt photography, and airshows.

“These professional aircraft are ready for contract to specialized operators and military contractors,” the website said, describing A4L’s services alongside pictures of the Skyhawk in flight. “These aircraft have recent experience as target drone tugs, and as mock dog-fight/aggressor training simulation.”

Negotiations will be handled by Texas Aviation Partners, who provide marketing and operational services to NTRA. Stephen Alexander, a partner with TAP, said A4L previously sub-rented a smaller box hangar at NTRA, thus making it one of the first businesses to expand at NTRA since TAP was contracted for services earlier this year.

Alexander said the alert hangar has had several small tenants over the years, but not to the size of A4L. Over the past few years, Alexander said the building has been vacant. Issues with renting the hangar included its remote location, size and age, he said.

“Everyone considers this a hard rent,” he said.

Alexander said he and other officials hope that the large space would give the company room to grow and, with time, expand into the full building space. Additionally, he said by adding another tenant to the space, he hopes that it will generate additional interest in the airport.

When asked about any upgrades to the site, Board Chairman Clyde Siebman said the RMA will pay to put up a partition wall separating the building in half for the lease. Any other upgrades and improvements to the site would be at the expense of the lessee, he said.

Siebman said it is too soon to announce the details of any agreement, but said a draft will likely be presented to the board in January.

Source: http://www.heralddemocrat.com/news/20161215/rma-negotiates-lease-for-about-half-of-ntras-largest-hangar

Perrin Field celebrates 75 years

KXII News

By: Brittany Harlow

December 14, 2016

Denison, Texas

A reception was held at North Texas Regional Airport – Perrin Field on Wednesday to celebrate 75 years in Grayson County.

“I’m just happy to see 75 years,” MSgt. (R) Charles “Charlie” Brown said. “That means I’m getting awful old.”

Brown, who currently serves as president of the Perrin Air Force Base Museum, was stationed at Perrin Air Force Base from 1963 to 1968.

He tells us the first troops arrived in early December 1941, before Pearl Harbor.

“They brought them in out of the railroad station at Pottsboro and hauled them out here on trucks,” Brown said. “And they loaded the barracks and a lot of the barracks still weren’t finished and there was no heating or anything like that and that’s December here in Texas.”

After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Perrin Air Force Base was one of the first basic flight training schools to become operational.

More than 10,000 pilots graduated from Perrin Field during World War II and the Korean War.

Brown said the Apollo astronauts trained at Perrin, as well, back in the sixties.

“They had to go through survival school then fly the F102 at supersonic before they qualified to go to Houston,” Brown said.

After the base closed in 1971, it became the Grayson County Airport, and was renamed North Texas Regional Airport in 2007. Texas Aviation Partners took over managing the airport in May 2016.

“It truly is a diamond in the rough and we at Texas Aviation Partners are excited about getting involved and doing everything we can to promote this great asset and make it a real job creator for Grayson County,” Mabe said.

The two runway, 1410-acre facility is now home to dozens of businesses and corporate and private aircraft, including the U.S. Aviation Academy.

“We have the schools in here and repair shops for aircraft,” Brown said. “People come from all over the united states to get the airplanes repaired here.”

While active U.S. military are no longer training at NTRA-Perrin Field, the flight school is still training pilots from friendly governments through the Air Force.

“I believe Nigeria is in right now doing some transition training into a Cessna Caravan that the flight academy bought in order to support that mission,” Mabe said.

The U.S. Aviation Academy submitted a bid to bring U.S. Air Force initial flight training back to the airport last December, but the ten-year, $200 million estimated contract has yet to be awarded.

Mabe said TAP is excited to take NTRA- Perrin Field to the next level, which includes the Cavanaugh Flight museum taking over a hangar and an announcement regarding another company coming soon.

“Perrin Field has such a rich history and played an important part in our Nation’s Defense for decades,” TAP founding partner Stephen Alexander said. “We look forward to honoring that history, while spearheading the forward progress of the airport and its development for the next seventy-five years.”

Source: http://www.kxii.com/content/news/Perrin-Field-celebrates-75-years-406636495.html

Management company to operate North Texas Regional Airport

KXII News

By Sarah Humphrey

April 20, 2016

SHERMAN, Texas — Grayson County Commmissioners voted Tuesday to pay Texas Aviation Partners $10,000 per month to operate North Texas Regional Airport.

“This is again a step in the process of moving our airport from an old retired Air Force base to a thriving successful general aviation airport,” Grayson County judge Bill Magers said.

The contract begins in May and is scheduled to last five years.

Commissioners said they are still looking for an airport manager, a position that has been vacant since Mike Shahan left to manage airport in Galveston.

Source: http://www.kxii.com/home/headlines/Management-company-to-operate-North-Texas-Regional-Airport-376386991.html