OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Recently, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission awarded state grants to several Oklahoma communities for various airport infrastructure projects. The Commission awarded the grants through its five-year Airport Construction Program (ACP).
“We know from our recently completed Aviation & Aerospace Economic Impact Study that the 108 airports in the Oklahoma Airport System are responsible for $10.6B of annual economic activity. It is important to maintain and continually improve our state airport system to meet the needs of users of the system such as business, aeromedical, and personal. The Commission is pleased to provide Oklahoma communities with federal and state financial assistance to develop and maintain their local airports,” said Director of Aeronautics Victor Bird. “These airports are gateways to the world for communities across our state.”
The grant was made for Richard Lloyd Jones Jr Airport (RVS) for rehabilitating the secondary runway 1R/19L and connecting taxiways. The total project cost was $2,506,200 and was funded with $2,254,515 in federal grant funds, $125,251 in state grant funds, and $126,434 in sponsor matching funds. The Commission provided half the sponsor’s required federal matching funds.
Justifications for the project included that the current pavement condition index (PCI) of the runway pavement is 64 just below the threshold PCI rating of 65 at which pavement begins to deteriorate more rapidly. Currently the pavement is exhibiting distresses due to seasonal environmental conditions (i.e. aging, oxidation, and weathering). Distresses observed include low to medium longitudinal cracking, transverse cracking and patching. No major structural failures were observed, therefore the pavement section is concluded to be structurally adequate to support the existing traffic. Overlaying the pavement will protect the base structure and extend the life of the pavement.
The aviation and aerospace economic impact study showed the Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Regional Airport has annual economic activity of $94.9M. The regional business airports are the backbone of our state’s air transportation system and are located at the economic centers across the state. The Commission continues to focus the majority of federal and state funding on regional business airports and projects that make significant improvements to the system.
The airport, often referred to Jones Riverside, has 344 based aircraft and is used daily by energy companies to access oil wells, drilling sites, and regional offices. Laredo Petroleum, Unit Corp, and Ventana Exploration & Production are examples of these companies. Many of these companies also have vendors and suppliers such as Lariat, Paragon Industries, Asphalt & Fuel Supply, BRG Energy, and White Buffalo Environmental that use the airport on a regular basis to support their area operations. Del Aviation, a Tulsa-based company, provides air patrol of pipelines and transmission power lines from the airport. These airport-supported employers and activities are important to many area jobs.
The airport plays a key role in supporting the development of Tulsa and the surrounding areas. Many land developers and construction companies, such as Rasmussen Group and Precision Construction Group, fly into the airport when looking for development sites. Once land has been acquired, these and similar companies continue to use the airport to oversee construction.
The airport supports missions conducted by the Veterans Airlift Command. This group provides free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. Flights are offered for medical and other compassionate purposes. The airport also supports the area’s healthcare needs. Angel Flight Oklahoma, Tulsa Life Flight, and Eagle Med all use RVS on a regular basis to transport patients to/from hospitals and
clinics. In addition to transferring patients, Tulsa Life Flight frequently provides transportation for specialty neonatal teams to Saint Francis Hospital, Eastern Oklahoma Perinatal Center, and the St. John Medical Center NICU. Angel Flight Oklahoma, based in Tulsa, is a volunteer organization that provides free air transportation for medical care.
Oklahoma is a leader in aviation education and training; statewide, it is estimated that there are over 1,560 jobs devoted to this endeavor. RVS plays an important role in training tomorrow’s pilots and aviation professionals. Educational activities at RVS include Tulsa Tech’s courses on airframe and power plant, avionics, and composites, Tulsa Community College’s Riverside Community Campus and Aviation Center, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology’s flight training program, and numerous private flight training operations. Hundreds of students start their formal aviation training every year at RVS.
The ACP is the method used by the Commission to determine where federal and state funds will be invested. These decisions regarding airport development are consistent with achieving the goals laid out in the Oklahoma Airport System Plan (OASP). Airports included in the OASP are functionally classified as regional business, district or community. For more information about the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission programs and the 2017 Aviation Economic Impact Study results, visit oac.ok.gov.