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

 

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

Just Posted

Port Alberni gym puts the art in martial arts

Matt Goodwin, Shay Hebert offer kickboxing at all levels

Crime rate, drug overdoses still rising in Port Alberni

Major Crime Unit investigating drug trafficking files

Port Alberni business community celebrates excellence

Annual community awards portray diversity in Alberni Valley businesses

Port Alberni’s Community Policing office shuts down

Reopening unlikely to happen, says RCMP Insp. Hunter

Port Alberni man reported missing

RCMP are searching for Jacob Anthony Williams, 27

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

Doctor sees healing power in psychedelic plant as Peru investigates death of B.C. man

Peru’s attorney general has ordered the arrest of two suspects in the killing of 41-year-old Sebastian Woodroffe

Toronto police officer ‘gave himself the space and time’ in van attack

Footage shows officer standing up, turning off his siren and talking clearly to the suspect

$1.18 to $1.58 a litre: Are you paying the most for gas in B.C.?

Gas prices across B.C. vary, with lowest in Vernon and highest in – you guessed it – Metro Vancouver

Inquest set 10 years after B.C. woman shot, left to die

Lisa Dudley, and her partner, Guthrie McKay were shot in their Mission home in September 2008

B.C. hockey team to retire Humboldt Bronco victim’s number

BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to retire Jaxon Joseph’s No. 10 in light of bus tragedy

B.C. Hells Angels invited to rally by anti-SOGI organizer

The Culture Guard group has helped Hells Angels in the past, said its executive director.

B.C. bill aims to keep Indigenous kids in communities, out of care

Changes to Child, Family and Community Service Act could connect MCFD, Indigenous communities

Condo contract rules target B.C. property flippers

Regulations to prevent property transfer tax evasion

Most Read