Large plane at airport to survey area

WILLIAMSTOWN – For the next several weeks, the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport will house a large plane, which has been commissioned to do a survey of the area for an oil and gas company, officials said Tuesday.

The DC-3 transport aircraft has been at the airport for about a week with expectations for it to remain at the local facility at least another four weeks, airport manager Jeff McDougle told the Wood County Airport Authority.

“It is currently being rented by an oil and gas company out of Houston, Texas, which is using it to do survey mapping of the area,” McDougle said.

It is unknown what the geo-mapping survey is looking for, but because the work is commissioned by an oil and gas company, it is believed to be related to the natural gas industry, McDougle said.

Geo-mapping is an aerial view of the geological makeup of the area.

The company, which is not being named, is paying $40 a day in rent as well as purchasing roughly 500 gallons in fuel each day.

“This is a real boon for us in fuel sales,” McDougle said. “We did have an issue finding a place to park the plane because it needs to have access to electric lines in order to run the air conditioning for the onboard computers.”

McDougle said the transport plane is owned by a company in Canada and leased to corporations for various geo-mapping studies.

“Before it came here, it was in Los Angeles, Calif., and when it leaves, it is headed to Antarctica for the winter,” he said.

In other business:

* The airport had its largest month in fuel sales in years with 49,965 gallons of jet and unleaded fuels sold.

“Over half of the sales was to the military,” McDougle said.

Military units often test new aircraft around this region. Because the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport has a military contract for fuel sales, units stop at the airport to fill up, he said.

“This helps our budget,” said authority President Bill Richardson.

McDougle said fuel sales in past months have received a boost from private planes related to the oil and gas business.

* Enplanements for July were down with 528 passengers having flown to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland.

“July was another bad month,” McDougle said. “It’s because of the question of the service and the fact there are not a lot of connecting flights left out of Cleveland.”

Because all major airlines have left Cleveland as a hub, to reach most major cities, travelers will need to make at least one more stop between the local airport and their destination.

The Silver Airways flights to Cleveland will continue through September as the new service with the airline to Washington Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., will begin Oct. 1.