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Mahoning grants hangar for Carbon airport

Mahoning Township supervisors last week granted re-approval for plans to build a new hangar at Jake Arner Memorial Airport.

Supervisors voted 4-0 for re-approval of the Carbon County Airport beyond the 90-day requirement for recording.

The developer or subdivider is to record the plan in the office of the recorder of deeds of Carbon County within 90 days after the date of the approval by the governing body.

The planning commission gave approval on Sept. 21, while supervisors approved it Oct. 12.

In October, supervisors granted the airport authority’s land development plan waiver request.

The waiver request requires drainage easements on each side of drainage facilities to be provided to the township, and is not proposing any new drainage facilities.

That was approved contingent upon LTL Consultants’ review letter dated Sept. 16, as well as satisfaction of all notes listed in that letter, and a flash drive copy or mylar.

The new building, about one-third the size of the existing main hangar, would create a dedicated space for the Life Flight helicopter based out of the airport. It would also create more room for airplanes in the main hangar where the helicopter is stored now.

The airport authority is seeking state grants to fund the design and construction of the project, and already has a matching grant to fund a portion of the project.

The proposed building would be about 3,500 square feet.

Life Flight occupies space in the 10,000-square-foot main hangar, which is more than 50 years old.

The main reason for building a dedicated hangar for the Life Flight helicopter is to save on operating costs at the airport. During the winter months it must be kept in a heated area. Each time the hangar is opened, the building must be heated again. With the helicopter flying to emergencies as many as 100 times per month, the cost adds up.

Jake Arner Memorial houses about 40 planes and has a waiting list for pilots who want to park their planes. Moving the Life Flight helicopter out of the hangar would create space for 5 or 6 more.

Life Flight has leased hangar space at the airport since 2006. Their lease runs through June.

Paul Smith, chairman of the Carbon County Airport Authority, said having the helicopter based in Carbon County saves crucial minutes during emergencies.

The Life Flight medical helicopter owned by Geisinger and St. Luke's health networks is housed in a hangar at the Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO