NTRA runways ready for big, small planes

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
North Texas Regional Airport - Perrin Field Director Mike Livezly addressed Grayson County commissioners Tuesday at the county courthouse with good news about the county's airport

Grayson County commissioners got an update on the county’s airport, North Texas Regional Airport  - Perrin Field. NTRA Manager Mike Livezey told commissioners that losing USA Aviation as a tenant back in May was a blow, but the airport is still doing well and he had a lot of good news to share.

"The operations are down," he said. "But I want you to know that even though they have dropped, with the number of operations we're currently having  [an operation is either a take off or a landing] we're still in the 40 to 45 percentile of contract towers out there."

The airport was up at around 75-80 percent before USA Aviation left.

He also said that the airport had leased the former Aviation Hangar to Rise Aviation for a 10-year term.

"As part of that agreement, Rise has agreed to rehabilitate that hangar," he said. That includes new flooring and lighting, remodel all of the bathrooms and redoing all of the office areas.

"It's really going to be a showcase," he said.

Livezey said they have also been working on updating the airport's master plan and that had been slowed down a bit due to the pandemic but they did recently manage to have a meeting that was a hybrid in-person and Zoom meeting at which they were able to discuss things like the airport's inventory of runways, taxiways and other assets. They also were able to discuss the forecast for the base aircraft at the airport and the operations.

But what he said he was really excited to talk to them about was the pavement study.

"You know this airport was built initially back in the 1941 as an Army Airbase and then became an Air Force Airbase after that., so some of the pavement has been there a while," Livezey said.

He added that there have been a lot of people who have been concerned about the condition of the pavement after all of those years.

Grayson County Commissioner Bart Lawrence said there had even been persistent rumors over the years that the facility was even built to a less standard because it was only ever supposed to be a training facility for pilots in small aircraft.

"That it was just a glorified highway," Lawrence said the rumor touted.

Livezey said the pavement study laid all of those fears to rest.

"The way they started it out (the report) was they said the worst part of our pavement was our runway which was kind of alarming," he said.

He then explained that every piece of pavement out there has a national classification number.

"Our runway has a pavement classification number of 54 now," he said. And, he said, every aircraft has a classification number that tells one what weight is and where it can line.

"The 737-800, which is probably one of the most prolific single isle airliners has a aircraft classification number of 53 and our runway is a 54."

"So does that mean it can land there, Mike?“ Grayson County Judge Bill Magers asked him.

"It means it could land here as often as was needed," Livezey said.

So could the Airbus 320s, 49,757, 300s are all less than a 54, he said.

"Basically pretty much any airplane can land here," he told commissioners.

He added that even heavier airplanes could land at NTRA, they would just have to limit the usage if that were to start happening.

"So our pavement is in great shape which we were glad to hear," he said.

The last master plan was done in 2012 but they did another one because of the increased usage at the airport.

"Our success is the reason for this master plan," Magers said.

Not all of the new was good however. LIvezey said the crosswind runway was rated as poor.

He said part of the master plan is to do away with that runway rather than try to maintain it.