By Joe Mahoney Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Hope is taking wing at the small but ambitious Sidney Municipal Airport after federal regulators allowed the resumption of night flights in and out of the village-owned facility.
“This is really a boon to our operation and is going to be a big factor in helping us to bring in more business here,” airport manager Gary Klindt told The Daily Star.
He said he anticipates traffic is going to pick up “significantly” after the Federal Aviation Administration allowed the Sidney airfield to have night landings and takeoffs this week.
The airport has about 8,000 flights in and out per year, Klindt said.
The night flights had been discontinued at Sidney and similar airports with incomplete terrain maps after a landing incident at another airport in 2010, he said. They were resumed briefly, but stopped again in 2013, he added.
Both Klindt and Sidney Mayor Andy Matviak thanked Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, for going to bat for the airport with the FAA, saying the congressman’s involvement in the matter was crucial to getting the night flights back at the airport.
“Congressman Gibson worked very hard to make this possible,” Matviak said. “Having these flights is going to help our carriers.”
Sidney is the only paved airport in Delaware County, Klindt said. Many people flying into the region on small planes for festivities at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, he said, prefer it over other local airports because it is only about a half-mile from Interstate 88.
The airport is expecting particularly brisk business this summer when seven new inductees are enshrined at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Klindt said.
He said the airport is also expecting an upsurge in usage if the proposed Constitution Pipeline — a natural gas transmission line that would send gas from Pennsylvania to Schoharie County and run past Sidney along the way — is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Engineers working on the pipeline project have already been using the airport, he said. The airport is also regularly used by executives for Universal Forest Products, Pizza Hut and other companies doing business in the region.
Sidney is home to the Delaware Aviation charter service, and is used regularly by numerous private planes as well as by the Air Methods medical helicopter transportation service.
When night flights were stopped, it inconvenienced passengers of Delaware Aviation, who had to land at other airports after dark because Sidney was not available to the planes, Klindt said.
Klindt said the airport has supplied the FAA with all of the terrain data needed to redesign the flight approach and upgraded its inspection process of the PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicator) — a bar of lights guiding pilots onto the runway.that guide pilots onto the runway.
Because growth is in the plans at Sidney, Klindt said he is working on attracting grant funding for a new hangar.
Klindt said he regularly hosts tours of the airport to familiarize the public with the operations there.