April 21, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
Approval by both houses of the Maryland legislature brings a 1,000-foot runway extension for the 3,000-foot runway at Tipton Airport in Fort Meade, Md., a step closer to reality. AOPA Regional Representative Greg Winton testified in favor of the measure before a legislative committee earlier in the session.
A longer runway allows extended overrun areas where aircraft in trouble can safely stop. Also, additional length for takeoff on hot summer days assures aircraft can clear trees on the west end of the field. There’s an economic benefit as well. Larger aircraft can’t depart from a 3,000-foot runway with a full fuel load. The extension will improve fuel sales and provide greater financial support to the airport.
Tipton was a military airport before it was transferred to civilian use. A provision remaining from that transfer prohibited the runway from being extended, requiring the state to act. The law is expected to be signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley on May 21. With the state’s approval out of the way, the next step is to gain approval from Anne Arundel County. Additionally, an FAA environmental study is required before the project can move forward.
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