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Military, civilian representatives discuss MCRA proposals
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Civilian Joint Management Board leaders met with Fort Stewart Garrison Commander Col. Kevin Milton on Thursday to discuss progress on projects and future proposals for the MidCoast Regional Airport/Wright Army Airfield.

MidCoast Aviation Services, a recently formed flight group that spoke before the civilian board during a meeting last month, made another presentation about the services it would like to offer on-site, which include aviation instruction and running a Computer Assisted Testing Service center.

The CATS testing center would offer Federal Aviation Administration knowledge tests and would have the potential to offer tests for culinary and chiropractic certifications and more, MidCoast Aviation Services cofounder Kathy Boykin said.

Rick Mansford, airfield operations officer, mentioned that another flight school, Coastal Empire Flight Training Academy, recently discontinued its operations at the airport.

MidCoast Aviation staff also provided the board with copies of a letter of support from Rep. Jack Kingston, who wrote: “At present there are not CATS testing facilities in the immediate area for use by a variety of trades and certifications … I hope that it is able to move forward if deemed worthy by all parties involved.”

Mansford said he and his team would conduct a cost-benefit analysis study and make a recommendation to Milton within the next couple of weeks.

Officials also discussed the runway extension project, which is on the list of Transportation Investment Act referendum projects in the Coastal Region that will be voted on July 31, 2012. If the 1 percent sales tax passes, approximately $6,060,000 of the tax revenue would go toward the extensions of runway 6/24 and taxiway C.

“The reason it’s so important to pass is because if it doesn’t pass, we know we’re not going to get much federal money,” Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas said. “If we get the sales tax passed, we can begin construction a whole lot quicker.”

The earliest stages of the project, such as feasibility and environmental impact studies, are under way, according to county airport consultant Michael Thomas, who works for Wilbur Smith Associates. The project should go into design in the spring.
In other news:
• The airport will host a barbecue fly-in Oct. 8 to show support for its pilots and users, according to Randy Bisgard, director of training with ABS Aviation, the airport’s fixed-base operator.

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