The Upper Cumberland Regional Airport will be working to modernize its Instrument Landing System (ILS).
The ILS provides pilots with both vertical and horizontal guidance during an approach to land. Airport Manager Dean Selby said the device plays a critical role for larger aircraft that utilize the airport.
“The larger operators are the ones that need the ILS. It doesn’t necessarily benefit the guy with the single-engine aircraft that’s out here,” Selby said. “It’s the stuff that we need to grow the area and the economy. That’s the traffic that this will impact. To replace it, our equipment is 27 or 28-years-old.”
The Airport spent about $18,000 on ILS maintenance last year. Selby said that cost could be eliminated if the Federal Aviation Administration agrees to maintain the new equipment.
“That would cut some of the maintenance expenses that this airport incurs,” Selby said. “It’s a two-fold solution. If they will help us take this over, it helps maintain the growth of the airport and it also will shift some of that maintenance cost off of us.”
Selby said getting an answer from the FAA will take some time as discussions will need to go through members of Congress and lawmakers in Nashville.
“I’ve talked to Marsha Blackburn’s people and they’re all willing to help us and support us on this,” Selby said. “If the FAA takes over the maintenance side of this, the state will be more apt to putting state money into this than if not. We can’t put federal money into this. Unless the feds own it, they can’t put money into navaides.”
Selby said the amount of state funding would determine how much money Sparta, Cookeville, White County, and Putnam County provide for the project.