Local airports review priorities


August 31, 2023

Representatives from the Thompson Falls and Plains airports met last week to discuss needs and priorities.

Lance Bowser and Ian Warge with RPA, an engineering firm, met with pilots, airport board representatives and county commissioners to review the capital improvement plans (CIP) for both airports. Bowser said the CIPs are updated every year to review needs of the airports and seek funding sources for projects.

Dan Normandeau told the RPA representatives that a pilots’ lounge is the top priority at the Thompson Falls airport. The building would have room for training as well. Normandeau also stressed the need for a weed maintenance plan.

Another priority at both airports is better equipment for snow removal. Bowser also said both airports have expressed a need for resealing and other road maintenance, slated for 2026 in Thompson Falls and Plains. Bowser said the maintenance could be bid as one project.

At the Plains airport, manager Randy Garrison said upgrades to the pilot’s lounge continue. The most recent priority is adding an ADA compliant ramp

The meeting also addressed concerns by a resident near the Thompson Falls airport about the level of noise from the airport. Dan LaMont sent the county commissioner a four-page request for noise abatement, suggesting the traffic pattern be changed on runway 26 at the airport. Airport representatives expressed safety concerns with the proposed change. “Noise has nothing to do with the traffic patter,” said pilot Bob Rice.

Normandeau said that there has been increased traffic with pilots in training at the airport, but didn’t think there was anything to gain with the pattern change so the matter was not pursued further.


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