WILMINGTON, Ohio — The most recent runway in the United States to be certified by the FAA as Category III is located at the Wilmington Air Park.
The Clinton County Port Authority and LGSTX Services recently received word from the FAA that the Instrument Landing System (ILS) on Runway 22R has been officially certified at Category III/E/3.
“This certification provides a significant opportunity for our current customers, as well as a compelling benefit for prospective tenants and users of the Air Park, as it puts our ILS capacity on par with any major airport around the country,” said Port Authority Executive Director Daniel Evers.
The Clinton County Port Authority Board of Directors authorized the purchase and installation of a new 20-antenna array that met the technical standards required by the FAA earlier this year. This $250,000 investment facilitated the upgrade in technical capacity and service necessary to achieve Cat III certification.
According to officials, Wilmington Air Park is the only airport in the United States with an FAA-certified Cat III/E instrument landing system that is not owned, operated and maintained by the FAA.
A Category III Instrument Landing System (Cat III) enables aircraft to land in very low visibility conditions – in this case, down to a runway visual range (RVR) of 600 feet. The Wilmington Air Park’s certification of a Cat III runway allows flight operations to continue at the airport in inclement weather, if the flight crews and aircraft also are certified at Cat III. The “E” and the “3” in the designation refer to the tolerances at which the ILS is set, along with the level of flight crew training and aircraft instrumentation and capability.
As part of the preparation for the upgrade to Cat III, the Port Authority also invested in additional airport signs and markings as part of a Surface Movement Guidance Control System (SMGCS) plan. This system enhances the pilots’ ability to navigate safely on the ground in lower visibility conditions. These enhancements at the Wilmington Air Park ensure that flights scheduled to land at the airport will be able to do so in nearly all conditions.
Owned by the Clinton County Port Authority, the Wilmington Air Park encompasses over 1,900 acres with a fully functioning airport, as well as 3 million square feet of office, warehouse and hangar space. Both runways, (9,000 feet and 10,701 feet) are CAT III capable, allowing full instrument approach for some of the largest aircraft made today. The Wilmington Air Park is home to airlines, aviation maintenance and repair operations, manufacturing, as well as UAS testing and research.