A newly rehabilitated runway at Pottstown Municipal Airport (N47) in Pottstown, Pa., is the beginning of enhancements at the Philadelphia-area airport.
The refurbished 2,704-foot runway was recently reopened after a month-long closure, according to Erica Weekley, assistant manager of the borough of Pottstown.
“The runway was constructed in the 1960s and has had a few crack seal repairs and an overlay completed in the mid-1980s,” she said. “The age of the runway proved to be an issue. A full rehabilitation, including the milling, crack seal, and a fabric overlay of the runway, was proposed to help increase its useful life and improve conditions.”
According to Weekley, contractors were able to get everything but the fabric overlay and final top coat done before the winter weather set in. The finishing touches will be applied in the spring.
The $1.7 million project, paid for with FAA airport improvement funds, included the full rehabilitation of the runway, reconfiguring of the taxiways to FAA standards, and extending the safety area on the Runway 26 end by 15 feet.
“The new design improves the taxiway geometry to reduce runway incursions and increase situational awareness of aircraft,” she said.
Weekley noted the borough has long-term plans for the airport, which include the potential for the construction of new T-hangars and a runway extension in the future.
There are 44 aircraft based at the field, which sits on 63 ares in the central Philadelphia area.
“There are a diverse range of industries that draw people to the airport,” said Weekley. “We have pilots in biopharmaceutical technology, agriculture, animal rescue, and other emergency services. Many pilots are based in Pottstown simply due to their love of aviation.”
Currently there are three main businesses at the airport: U.S. Hot Air Balloon, which provides scenic hot air balloon rides; Witmer’s Aircraft Service, which provides aircraft maintenance and restoration;, and Fly Elite, the new FBO.
The borough is not the only entity making enhancements at the airport, noted James Rouiller, the FBO manager.
“We have started to upgrade the terminal and flight school area,” he said. “We are trying to create a clean, safe, and modern look for the airport. We are hoping in the near future to not only have a runway extension, but to build a restaurant, more tie-downs, and also hangars.”
According to Rouiller, although the airport is not the largest in the area, he puts an emphasis on providing the best customer service possible.
“I tell my employees, ‘we don’t have the biggest runway or the biggest FBO, but we are best when it comes to customer service.’ To us it doesn’t matter if you are buying one gallon of gas or 1,000 gallons of gas, you are important to us. An example of this is an Archer comes in around 5 p.m. the other day and the gentleman needed to get down to his mother’s house, which was about 15 minutes away. I took my personal car and drove him to his mother’s house. Judging by the look on her face, it was the best surprise ever. There is nothing we will not do for our customers, no matter how big or small.”