For the week of August 12 thru August 18, 1998  

 

Friedman Airport eyes precise navigational system


By AMY SPINDLER
Express Staff Writer

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority revisited its ongoing effort to install a Transponder Landing System at the airport.

The precision navigational system would eliminate a majority of the aircraft diversions the plague the airport and Sun Valley Resort visitors each winter.

The TLS guides aircraft to the runway with radio signals from the ground and directs the pilot to move the aircraft up, down, left or right; it is much more precise than the Global Positioning System that uses signals from satellites, according to airport officials.

"This is the solution to our reliability problem," said Friedman manager Rick Baird.

According to Baird, the TLS system would eliminate a majority of the busing between Friedman and the Twin Falls airport caused by diverted flights in the winter. The system could result in commercial air carriers adding more flights or regional jet service to Friedman.

According to Baird, a majority of commercial aircraft are already equipped to work with the TLS, which doesn’t require additional equipment as the GPS does.

"It has a significance to the valley that’s unbelievable," he said.

The price tag for a TLS is $750,000, plus $250,000 for installation.

The Friedman staff is working with Idaho representatives on a national transportation bill that would fund five systems for small airports. The staff is also working with Advanced Navigation and Positioning Corp., which manufactures the TLS, to locate a private sponsor to fund the TLS installation.

If the equipment were privately funded and proved a successful solution, Friedman would purchase the equipment from the private owner and Advanced Navigation and Positioning Corp. within a year.

"I think our chances of getting one are good," said Baird, who said the possibility may be as soon as this winter or shortly after.

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 The authority also approved its budget for the 1999 fiscal year.

 Eterna Line Corp. will repair and rehabilitate the taxiways at Friedman; the runway will not close, but will be shortened from 6,601 feet to 5,451 feet during construction to take place Sept.14 until Oct. 14, Monday through Friday.

 

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