After several months of negotiations and numerous meetings between the airport, Woolpert (the airport’s new engineering consultants), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Jasper County Airport finally agreed to the scope of services for the airport’s upcoming Master Plan Project that will be completed by Woolpert.
So, What is a Master Plan and Why Does the Airport Need One?
A Master Plan serves as a blueprint, outlining the airport’s future development, based on the community’s current and long-term future needs. Master Plans take roughly two (2) years to complete and typically cover a twenty (20) year period, but are updated every few years or as substantial airport changes occur. While the FAA has an advisory circular (AC 150/5070-6B) governing the sections within a Master Plan, by their very nature, Master Plans should be tailored to the needs of the airport and the community. One size does not fit all. A Master Plan for a large airport, having a large footprint, and serving the needs of a large community will not be the same as a small community airport. Making sure the Master Plan fit our community is a balancing act with the goal of having enough for the FAA to approve the contents and based on the findings, ultimately allow the airport to qualify for grant funding of future airport development based on the needs uncovered within the Master Plan.
Traffic flying in and out of Jasper County Airport has increased dramatically within the last few years. Several local businesses have increased their usage of aviation to serve their business travel needs, while others have indicated the need to fly into the community more often, but are unable to do so due to lack of a suitable runway or facilities. While these may all be great reasons to expand an airport, doing so takes a lot of resources. In order for the airport to meet the needs of the community, allowing the community’s needs to dictate growth, and be able to obtain Federal and State grant funding to cover 95% or more of the development costs, the actual needs of the community must be quantified and substantiated. The FAA requested the airport complete a Master Plan allowing the airport to be in a position to quickly respond to the community’s needs.
What is in a Master Plan?
The airport’s Master Plan will include:
- Project Administration
- Public Involvement
- Environmental Overview
- Inventory of Existing Conditions
- Aviation Forecasts
- Facility Requirements
- Alternatives and Development Evaluation
- Airport Layout Plan Sets
- ALP Imagery Acquisition
- Facilities Implementation
- Draft and Final Technical Documents
Each of these sections includes subsections outlining the true effort needed, but the above offers an overview of the end product that will emerge within the next two years. The airport last completed a layout plan in 2006 with minor updates throughout the years, but has never completed a full Master Plan as it wasn’t always required like it is now. The FAA and INDOT have applauded the airport’s commitment to completing a Master Plan and the recent progress in negotiating the scope of the Master Plan project.
More information will follow as the project progresses. Be sure to follow the airport’s social media for up-to-date information.