Wheeling-Ohio County Airport Projects Discussed | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo by Derek Redd Wheeling-Ohio County Airport may be in line for some upgrades, including $1.7 million to improve its control tower.

WHEELING — The Wheeling-Ohio County Airport control tower is slated for nearly $2 million in upgrades, and there may also be drone activity in the airport’s future.

This week, Ohio County Commissioners passed a motion asking for a $1.7 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to pay for a new roof and glass for the airport’s control tower.

“All indications from the aviation people are that the tower is an asset to the airport,” Commissioner Zach Abraham said. Many small airports do not have control towers due to cost. They must be inhabited. »

There are air traffic controllers on duty at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day, and during off-peak hours air traffic control is performed by an automated system.

As recently as 2017, the FAA told Ohio County officials it wanted to terminate its lease for the airport tower.

The aviation community pushed to keep the tower open for safety reasons. Abraham said the curators wanted to consolidate the envelope or exterior of the tower and then move on to some internal projects.

“That could be a swelling point with the aviation community and other things that we’re trying to attract there,” he explained.

The county would have to contribute $85,000 in matching funds to receive the $1.7 million grant, according to Abraham.

Also this week, commissioners agreed to join 18 other counties in West Virginia and Ohio that have airports for a study to determine how drone use could be coordinated in the Valley region. the Ohio River.

The study will examine how drones could be used locally by commercial, industrial and military interests, Abraham explained.

Officials in Lawrence County, Ohio reached out to Ohio County to do the study and learn how drone use could become an economic driver for the region, Abraham said. He explained that a “last mile delivery logistics” center could be built locally, from where drones would fly and deliver packages.

Ohio County will pay $30,000 to participate in the study coordinated by Case-Western University, Abraham said.

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