Officials with North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field are updating how they record and report aviation operations amid ongoing efforts to bring radar to the airport.
In order to be considered for radar service through the Federal Aviation Administration, an airport must conduct at least 30,000 operations. However, not all operations count toward this total.
“The reason this is important is because we are trying to apply with the Federal Aviation Administration to get radar in our tower and operations is one of the things they consider,” said Robert Brady, chairman of the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority.
Interim Airport Director Mike Livezey said progress on getting radar for NTRA may have slowed due to confusion on if the airport conducts enough operations to warrant the service. While officials said the airport conducts nearly 60,000 operations annually, only about half contribute toward acquiring radar.
In order for an operation to count, it would need to be itinerant instead of local.
Itinerant flights represent operations that left the general vicinity of the airport of originated elsewhere, and made up nearly 30,700 of the airport’s operations in the past year, Livezey said.
“It left here and maybe went somewhere else, landed and then came back,” he said. “Or, it is coming from some other airport conducting whatever business and then leaving.”
The remaining 28,426 operations at the airport were local and primarily based out of the US Aviation flight school. These do not contribute to radar status through the FAA, but Livezey said he believes they should be considered.
The local flight encompass many brief operations and can include what Livezey described as “touch and go’s” — a landing that transitions into a takeoff as a part of flight training.
Even when discounting these flights, Livezey said NTRA still meets the requirement from the FAA and the airport has since been able to show this through its update numbers.
The update on operations is one of many recent steps the airport and Grayson County have made ahead of radar being added at NTRA. Earlier this year, county officials authorized up to $400,000 for the addition of new communications lines to the tower. These lines will be used to transmit radar data from sites closer to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to NTRA.
Brady said county officials opted to invest the money now and get reimbursed later rather than waiting for federal and state funding.
“So, it (radar service) is progressing and we would like to see it in place as soon as possible,” he said.
Airport officials said they plan to meet with a group of six representatives from the FAA next week to discuss future steps in bringing the service to the airport.