Bentonville Municipal Airport — Louise M. Thaden Field recently received the 2018 Airport of the Year Award for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Southwest Region and announced it has accepted a $250,000 state grant as part of a project to build a west taxiway. The southwest region includes about 750 airports in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
“The city of Bentonville was recognized for improving the safety of the runways, reducing back-taxing and promoting hanger development by building a west parallel taxiway, as well as accommodating recreational, vintage and experimental aircraft operations by constructing a turf runway that ensured FAA standards were met to enhance airport safe operations,” according to a news release.
The city put a priority on improving the safety area of Runway 18/36, and the project met FAA standards and improved safe operations by decreasing the risk of damage to aircraft in the event of an undershoot, overshoot or departure from the runway. The airport built a circular apron to provide the tie-downs for more than 30 itinerate aircraft in support of the new flight center. The projects were part of the airport’s master plan, and the airport ensured the projects would comply with FAA guidance and grant requirements, the release shows.
“The operation, leadership and management of the Bentonville Municipal Airport has demonstrated their commitment to safety, disciplined capital improvement planning and successful promotion of aviation in the local community,” according to the award citation. The combination of the airport’s planning process, FAA projects and projects such as the turf runway, circular apron and flight center contributed to the airport receiving the award.
“It is an exciting time at Bentonville Municipal Airport,” said Chuck Chadwick, airport manager. “It is humbling for our airport to be recognized as ‘Airport of the Year’ for the Southwest Region of the United States. It is rewarding to be acknowledged for such a distinguished award by those who provide guidance and oversight for the job we do and the dreams we all have.”
Concerning the grant, the airport received a $250,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics as the match for the $2.28 million FAA grant to construct a west parallel taxiway. The airport received the state grant after the project’s completion.