Hardeman County adds fuel, sets new course

BOLIVAR, Tenn. – Hardeman County Airport/William L. Whitehurst Field (M08) has defined a new course for its future, thanks to Federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds. Using a block grant from the state of Tennessee, two 12,000 gallon fuel tanks (one for 100LL, the other for Jet-A) were installed April 5.

Hardeman County Mayor Willie E. Spencer explains, “The airport fuel project was completed with two federal grants administered by the state. One grant required a local share of 10% and the other 5% for a total of $64,000. That’s the only local money we used and it will return to the county in short order now that the airport can sell more fuel.”

Airport manager Dennis O’Connor says the focus now shifts to airport users.

“Since the overhead remains low in Bolivar, aircraft operators can save money to make it worthwhile to come here,” he said.

Prices at the airport in Bolivar are among the lowest of area airports: $5.15 per gallon for avgas; $4.55 per gallon for Jet-A. Reviews on AirNav.com seem to be rather positive as well.

Prior to the fuel tanks, projects included a 2009 runway extension to 5,000 feet and a new 10-unit hangar facility in 2010. As a result, the airport recently completed a year of full occupancy.

And, as O’Connor reports, an outgrowth of the new fuel system has been added convenience for customers.

“Restrooms are now available 24/7 and we’ve added conference capability,” he said. “New projection equipment has been installed in the main reception area that can accommodate 8-10 people for a meeting.”

The end of the fiscal year, June 30, saw airport revenues from both fuel sales and hangar rents remain productive for Hardeman County, he added. Total revenues with hangar rents increased 9% over the previous fiscal year.

O’Connor says the fiscal year revenue activity represents a steady increase year-over-year since 2011. The results are attributed to a combination of new interest in the airport, marketing efforts and the implementation of updated airport policies, he noted.


  1. Eric E Barnum says

    Just like Kent, I immediately was surprised to see AIP Funds for a fuel farm project. Regardless of the sizing issue it seems someone should have a close look at the funding for this project.

  2. says

    How great is it that GAN offers comments to keep its audience informed? M08 is moving towards Mogas sooner rather than later. If plans for budgeting and logistics work, we should have it here within a few months. Meanwhile, fuel depots are not normally supported by AIP, but we didn’t pull strings and even FAA allows for exceptions. Instead, you could say we benefited from the state of Tennessee policy for airport support that’s been in place since 1939. It also has its own Transportation Equity Fund. Combined with the status these days as an FAA block grant state, the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission has more leeway and interest in the projects it supports. M08’s new fuel facility will generate revenue for one of the state’s more economically distressed counties, support about another dozen based aircraft and assist the regular operations here from Civil Air Patrol, Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

  3. says

    Congrats to Bolivar! I’ve been there a few times as the best Cessna 150 mechanic in the south is based on the field. Visit TN Wings, Shelby will treat you right and Rocky the dog will greet you at the hangar door.
    As for Kent’s comments, while what he says has some validity, from what I understand, the master plan there should result in growth, which will make the fuel farm appropriately-sized. I wish one of those tanks was for unleaded, ethanol-free mogas, then we could really save some money!

    • Kent Misegades says

      Congratulations to the airport and its consultants for having secured funding for a gold-plated fuel system. I’ll bet it cost them well over a quarter million? Divided by the 18 airplanes AirNav claims are there and this sounds like a great deal for pilots. An airport without fuel will die, so in principle this is a good thing. But there is no free money anywhere, whether it is called AIP, Block Grant, Equity Fund, Distressed Region fund, etc. A fuel system half this size probably would have been plenty, except for the consultants who generally like to super-size airport improvements as long as the money flows freely. Spending this kind of money from limited funds because an airport has a friendly dog worries me.

  4. Kent Misegades says

    Two 12,000 gallon fuel tanks for an airport with a dozen airplanes is about 3-4 times more than they need. This is an excessive expenditure for a small publicly-owned airport. Normally federal AIP funding excludes revenue-generating improvements such as fuel farms, so the airport and its consultants must have pulled some strings somewhere. When money is free from the Feds, we get gold-plated airport facilities like this that help few pilots but make the consultants and suppliers rich.

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