Millington’s airport flunks FAA inspection
By Wayne Risher
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Millington Regional Jetport has temporarily lost certification to land passenger aircraft after flunking a Federal Aviation Administration inspection.
It’s expected to have virtually no impact, because the former Naval Air Station runway has no scheduled passenger service. Airport officials said they’re working to correct the problems and should regain certification within 45-90 days.
“For 99.9 percent of the pilots who use the airport, there is no difference,” said Don Lowry, chairman of the city-owned airport’s governing board. “The small planes are not going to have a problem coming in here and refueling.”
Nor will the loss of an FAA Part 139 airport operating certificate affect Millington’s status as an emergency backup for FedEx plane landings. Lowry and FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said private, corporate and cargo flights aren’t affected.
Lowry said repaving of the 8,000-foot-long runway will begin soon. The airport will close half the runway at a time to stay open for small planes.
“We’re going to be in compliance and we’re going to be a safer airport,” Lowry said.
The airport was hit by flooding and the departure of director Tracy Williams this year. The board hired Rodney Hendrix, retired manager of McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport in Jackson, as interim director.
Lowry said the authority hasn’t received paperwork yet, but an FAA inspection Aug. 26 found a number of minor problems.
They included lack of signs and windsocks at both ends of the runway and depressions in the land adjoining the runway, apparently caused by the flooding in May.
Lowry said there have been no passenger flights into the airport since Memphis Motorsports Park closed. The airport has an air traffic control tower, firefighting unit and instrument landing system.
Lowery and Millington Mayor Richard Hodges said it’s important for the city’s future to have the capability to land passenger aircraft.
“I know they’re striving in that direction, but we haven’t had anybody to bite on that,” Hodges said.
Private pilot George Cates said he didn’t notice anything amiss when he flew out of Millington last week. “Everything seemed about as routine as it gets,” Cates said.
–Wayne Risher: 529-2874
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