“I’ve been around airports and airplanes basically my whole life. When I was growing up in a small town in West Virginia I would wash the pilots’ airplanes or polish the tires for a chance to go up,” Fidler said.
His interest made him uniquely qualified to give a detailed outline of the jetport to the gathered Rotarians Tuesday afternoon. Rotary members sat side by side in the terminal’s corporate conference center on the second floor. The room capacity fits 50 with standing room.
The corporate conference room is just one of five areas designed for meetings and gatherings.
A project summary handed out by Fidler said the airport expects more than 4,000 visits a year. These annual visitors are expected to come from corporate and charter pilots and corporate executives; contractors and visitors for area industries; recreational pilots and travelers; business and community conference and meeting attendees; area school field trips; and airport staff and contractors.
Fidler pointed out a unique aspect of the jetport’s construction.
“A concrete manufacturer was placed on-site [at the south end of the jetport]. This enabled us to construct in such an abbreviated time,” Fidler said. “... We estimate there were approximately 48,000 trips of the concrete trucks from the site to the location they would offload.”
The jetport’s runway is 5,500 feet long and 100 feet wide. Fidler said these measurements allow for large jet aircrafts like the ones used by Merck. There is also a 500-foot runway safety area extending the length of the runway and 1,000 feet beyond each end of the runway. Other features include four 16-unit T-hangars, 18 corporate hangars, four conventional hangars and two 10,000-gallon above-ground fuel tanks.
Fidler said there are several vacancies remaining in the T-hangars.
He also said the hope is to have Hardwick Field sold by June 30. The airport is currently closed to all but resident flights. All transit flights are advised to come through Cleveland’s jetport.
The jetport is not currently in the Federal Aviation Administration’s pilot databank. Fidler said the FAA has Cleveland’s information and officials are hoping for the new airport to be in the next round of publication. The FAA expects about 26 flights a day for the jetport. Fidler and his associates believe there will be more flights than the FAA’s estimate.
“This is your facility. We are happy to have you all join us here. We look forward to having you come out and utilize these facilities. We will try to accommodate you in any way possible,” Fidler said. “This is a great building, and we are pleased with it.”