The Planning Goals
Our planning process started with developing goals. In turn these goals would point to the direction for creating specific plans. Our initial goals were:
Safety. Using FAA guidelines and
regulations, which would be a major factor in all future grants, we would
strive to: (1) separate aircraft and automotive traffic; (2) reduce local
aviation hazards through tree-topping, brush clearance, animal control and
zoning regulations; (3) establish the best possible navigation aids
compatible with our size and revenues; and (4) provide for security and
Diversity. As a public, general
aviation facility, we would strive to provide a comprehensive support
posture for all users including recreational flying, commercial operations,
and aviation-related light industrial facilities.
Economics. Whatever our plans,
operating costs must be supported with local revenues; capital costs would
maximize the use of governmental grants and private source funds. The
transition from the current posture must conform to cost-effective
Expandability. Throughout the planning process, all features must be designed to have flexibility and expandability to conform to future changes in technology, customer/user mix, and economic trends. This will include runways/taxiways, navigational aids, hangar facilities and infrastructure.
The Planning Overview
This picture provides an overview of the previous (pre-2012) facilities at the Zelienople Airport. A glance reveals that taxiways and roadways are not in conformance with the "Planning Goals" stated above. A closer examination revealed that the roadbeds under the taxiways would not endure the heavy loads of construction vehicles used during the construction of additional facilities.
A closer look at the hangar facilities reveals that over one half of them have succumbed to the wear and use of many years ... they simply must be replaced. There are other hangars that do not have extensive wear; however, there must be consideration for feasibility of moving them, replacing them, conserving them and how their present location aids or hinders the overall built-out plans for the airport.
This part of the web page is intended for an overview of the planning process ... not the detailed rationale that went into it. In response to audits and inspections of the PA Bureau of Aviation (BOA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), simple plans were prepared by the airport staff prior to 1987. In 2001, the BOA / FAA gave us a $43,000 planning grant for a professionally prepared plan that would consider the future needs and uses of the airport. A contract was awarded to Kimball Engineering, a highly recognized firm in aviation engineering and planning, for this purpose.
The early stages of the planning process involved the formation of several advisory committees representing nearby residents, pilots, township and borough officials, and surrounding businessmen. A large amount of data was collected representing eastern Beaver County, western Butler County, and the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration for these demographic areas.
In 2006 a comprehensive Zelienople Airport Plan was approved by the ZAA, BOA and the FAA. Immediately applications for grants were made, approved, and applied to runway rehabilitation, aviation navigational aids, and elimination of aviation hazards.
From 2006 to 2012 aviation related improvements have been made as funds were available. Implementation of detailed plans, conforming to "The Planning Goals" described earlier were elusive because of (1) lack of funding; and (2) the lack of public water and sanitary sewage. This literally prevented the building of facilities such as roadways, hangars and an airport infrastructure.
With almost 10 years of non-accomplishment in the areas of infrastructure, the ZAA took two actions: (1) the capital costs of replacing and expanding hangar capacity would be done through the use of private capital; and (2) the issues dealing with public water and sanitary sewers were taken to state and federal courts ... with favorable decisions for the airport.
At the current time new roads, sewer and water lines, stormwater facilities and hangars are under construction.
The picture below is an "artist's sketch" of a built-out version of the Zelienople Airport.
The picture below focuses on the airpark and commercial areas of the airport expansion.
As the planning process becomes more detailed, hangar specifications are being designed. Basically there are T-hangars and box hangars of various sizes as shown below:
In 2015 -2016 the emphasis is: (1) continuing hangar construction [ see The Changes ]; and (2), acquire more land for runway safety and runway expansion. We expect airport property to grow from about 300 acres to 400 acres; and the runway to expand from 4,933' X 75' to 5,655' X 100'.
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