New Hangars Good for Pilots, County - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/11/04

New Hangars Good for Pilots, County

They're not quite your average garage: a Low Country airport is unveiling two dozen new hangars, which has two dozen plane owners pretty happy. The Beaufort County Airport on Lady's Island has put in more than $1 million for the project, which could have a ripple effect.

Plane owner Richard Warden has been waiting for years to put his plane inside its very own hangar. "I told the airport manager I felt it was like Christmas when I pushed the airplane in," he said.

And he's not the only one. The 23 other hangars are already protecting 23 other planes. "They were filled the first day they were open, and we still have as many people on the waiting list as we did before," said airports director Thomas Olson.

Until these new hangars came along, pilots on Lady's Island had to keep their planes out in the open, where they were subject to all problems related to the weather. "Sun and the elements take a toll on a plane, just like they do on a car," said Olson. "Airplanes are expensive, so everyone wants to keep them under cover unless they're flying them."

But the hangars aren't just helping these select few pilots. There's a lot of money coming into the county now that may not have been there without the hangars. "They may keep their airplanes at another airport somewhere," explained Olson. "We lose tax money, we lose fuel money, we lost the revenue that comes in from the hangar."

Beaufort County's spent almost $800,000 on the improvements and the FAA's thrown in another $300,000. With the new additions, the airport on Lady's Island now has 34 spots for the planes.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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