Serving the county for 50 years


Fayette County Airport honored for anniversary

Submitted article



Surrounded by Chamber Ambassadors and members of the Fayette County Pilot’s Association, retired airport manager Tom Esper (left) and current manager Jerry Van Dyke, hold the plaque and certificate from the Fayette County Chamber in honor of the airport’s 50th anniversary. Esper served over 30 years while Van Dyke has been on the job for five.


Dedicated on Oct. 23, 1966, the Fayette County Airport, 2770 State Route 38, was recently honored for 50 years of service to the community by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

Currently under the direction of airport manager Jerry Van Dyke, the airport has a long history of growth and expansion to meet the community’s needs. Constructed in 1966 on county-owned land, the airport was part of the State of Ohio plan to have a county airport in every Ohio county.

An asphalt surfaced runway 75 feet wide by 4000 feet long with a partial-length parallel taxiway was constructed. The state and county provided funding for the airport. The county constructed an office building in late 1966 or in 1967 and put up a 60 foot by 60 foot maintenance hangar in 1969. A five-unit open bay T-hangar was built with private funds in about 1970.

After World War II, many of the returning service personnel took advantage of the GI Bill and received training selected from a large number of occupations, including commercial pilot and aircraft mechanic. Shortly after the airport was built, the operator received approval to offer GI Bill training towards a commercial pilot certificate and related advanced ratings. A prerequisite for the GI Bill pilot training was a Private Pilot certificate.

The airport provided a large amount of pilot training at both the basic and advanced levels. A large number of local residents took advantage of the opportunity to receive pilot training and subsequently purchased and based their aircraft at the airport. Several of the local school systems began offering aircraft mechanic training and are still doing so today.

A tie-down spot for your aircraft was hard to come by and usually required aircraft owners to put down a concrete slab and tie-down anchors.

Unfortunately, the pilot training portion of the GI Bill ended in mid-1977. This caused a significant reduction in the activity at the airport. Pilot training is still offered for certification up through Commercial and Instrument, single engine land aircraft, however with no financial help from the GI Bill.

Fayette County, being largely agricultural, had a built-in need for crops to be sprayed, fertilizer to be applied, and seed to be spread by aircraft. A local resident, Warren Coil, provided aerial application services for many years. He eventually sold his business to Joe Vick, who was based at the Madison County Airport. During the season for spraying and seeding, the aircraft would be based at Fayette County as needed. This service is still available, being conducted in the same manner by Butch Fisher, an operator based at the Morrow County Airport.

A Navigational Direction Beacon was installed in the 1970s, providing Instrument Flight Rules capabilities for pilots to use when weather is bad and they don’t have visual capabilities, and has more recently been augmented with a GPS approach.

From the late 1980s to mid-1990s, the runway was extended twice using state and county funding, bringing the total runway length to 5,100 feet. In addition, Precision Approach Path Indicator and Runway End Identifier Lights have been added to the approach end of runway 23 (formally 22). Again, all funding was through the state and county.

The 1990s also saw the addition of two new privately-owned hangars and the county-owned hangar was moved to allow proper runway clearance.

In 2008, the new terminal opened, offering a pilot’s lounge, flight planning area, conference room, passage waiting area, and pilot’s supplies. There was also another 50 by 50 hangar built for private use.

The year 2010 brought more changes to the airport: the aircraft fueling system was upgraded and relocated with the addition of self-serve fueling. The aircraft parking ramp was also enlarged to accommodate larger aircraft using the airport.

The airport offers flight instructing, light aircraft maintenance, aircraft hangars and is housing 25 aircraft at this time.

Surrounded by Chamber Ambassadors and members of the Fayette County Pilot’s Association, retired airport manager Tom Esper (left) and current manager Jerry Van Dyke, hold the plaque and certificate from the Fayette County Chamber in honor of the airport’s 50th anniversary. Esper served over 30 years while Van Dyke has been on the job for five.
http://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2016/10/web1_Airport-50-yrs.jpgSurrounded by Chamber Ambassadors and members of the Fayette County Pilot’s Association, retired airport manager Tom Esper (left) and current manager Jerry Van Dyke, hold the plaque and certificate from the Fayette County Chamber in honor of the airport’s 50th anniversary. Esper served over 30 years while Van Dyke has been on the job for five.
Fayette County Airport honored for anniversary

Submitted article

comments powered by Disqus