Pilot Pat Floyd of the Alberni Flying Club lands the club’s Cessna 172 on the new end of the runway at the Alberni Valley Flying Club, Sunday, May 21. The plane is the first to land on the expanded runway since it closed last July for construction. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Alberni’s airport reopens with expanded runway

First air traffic includes Cessna four-seaters, 727 jet

The Alberni Valley Regional Airport re-opened to limited air traffic on Sunday, May 21, and already aviation traffic has picked up.

Construction to the runway is two months behind schedule after closing last July for an expansion.

The first aircraft to land on the newly expanded runway was a Cessna 172 piloted by Pat Floyd and owned by the Alberni Flying Club, which had been temporarily relocated to the Qualicum Beach Airport so club members could still use their plane. The second aircraft to land was another Cessna, this one owned by Ray Bowerman of Nanaimo.

“We had insider information” that the airport was going to open on Sunday, said Ray’s co-pilot and wife Marilyn. Their family business, Bowerman Excavating, has the contract for the runway expansion, so they knew the initial paving was completed.

The third aircraft to land, and the most exciting for the small crowd gathered at the airport, was a 727 jet coming in from Tucson, Arizona, for maintenance at the Coulson Aviation hangar.

The expansion is not quite finished, so pilots expecting to land in Port Alberni need prior permission from airport superintendent Mark Fortune. Construction and painting of the runway markings was to continue this week, and the contractor will work around planes needing to land at the airport.

“We probably have another month and a half before we’ll have an official opening,” Fortune said. “We’ll have a soft opening with approximately 2,200 feet sometime in early June; that will allow us to have the lights finished and the painting finished.

“At the east end of the field we still have to put civil works in the ground. It’s finally dried out; that’s been the major setback. We’re almost two months behind schedule with the weather we’ve had this spring.”

Airport lighting should be completed and fully operational by mid-July, he said.

The 727 won’t be the only jet the airport will see: Coulson Aviation has purchased six 737-300s for conversion to air tankers, according to fireaviation.com.

“This aircraft will be converted to an airtanker and is why the airport expansion was so important to us,” Wayne Coulson said, adding that he expects the first B 737-300 to arrive sometime this week.

Coulson Aviation wins USAF contract for tank system

Coulson Aviation has already been converting C-130 aircraft with new tank systems. In 2016 it was announced that Coulson Aviation won a United States Air Force contract to design, manufacture, and install up to seven 3500 US Gallon Aerial Retardant Delivery Systems in C-130H model aircraft.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Pilot Pat Floyd of the Alberni Flying Club lands the club’s Cessna 172 on the new end of the runway at the Alberni Valley Flying Club, Sunday, May 21. The plane is the first to land on the expanded runway since it closed last July for construction. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

A 727 jet from Tucson, Arizona kicks up vortices of dust as it lands at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport, Sunday afternoon. The jet was the third aircraft to land on the newly expanded runway and the largest of the day. TONY SHUMUK PHOTO

Comments are closed

Just Posted

City of Port Alberni receives $2M from community forest

AVCF hands over largest dividend cheque ever after successful year in 2019

Indigenous man behind complaint of BC Transplant’s alcohol abstinence policy has died

David Dennis, who is Nuu-chah-nulth, argued that six-month sobriety policy is a ‘lethal form of racism’

UPDATE: More details released on search for missing Vancouver Island hiker

Searchers scouring Strathcona Park near Gold River for experienced 65-year-old on 40-kilometre trek

ARTS AROUND: Alberni Valley artists come together at Rollin Art Centre

New exhibit features First Nations paintings and carvings

West Coast Hockey Prep Camp returns to Port Alberni, a little smaller

Prep camp owners rolling with COVID-19 changes, including smaller classes

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

UPDATE: Vancouver Island skydiving community mourns loss of one of its own

James Smith, 34, of Victoria, dies in Nanoose Bay incident

Elizabeth May endorses Furstenau in BC Greens race

Former federal party leader backs Cowichan Valley MLA

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Most Read