By Adam Pack
At their Tuesday, July 18 regular meeting, The Greenbrier County Airport Authority had the privilege of seeing firsthand some preliminary drafts of possible designs for electric car and airplane charging stations at Greenbrier Valley Airport.
Representatives of Beta Technologies Incorporated attended and presented the design virtually to the authority, even demonstrating the use of the electric airplane charging station. The designs are tentative and represent the best positions to place the charging structures based on ease of access to existing electrical infrastructure. Beta explained that the charging of an electric plane would cost the user, “between $25 and $30” with the caveat that this is only an estimate arrived at from extrapolating from the cost of charging a current Tesla battery and that, “prices of course are going to be locally specific.” The airport could stand to see more revenues than just the above quoted charging fee, as electric airplane users will still be subject to taxi and runway fees.
Jon McCalmont of Parrish & Partners has been working closely with Beta on the design phase of the charging station project and was also on hand to discuss the ongoing runway rehabilitation, another project he and his company are working on. While most updates McCalmont had for the authority were protected by executive privilege and not shared with the public, he could state that the project is in a bit of a fiscal waiting period: “We’re currently done with and have submitted the OST Release, which when approved will release the funds we need. Basically, the project is in the grant process, but the latter stages. Once we get approved, we will have those funds and that could be really any day now. Once we get them, we can actually begin getting this project to construction, but we’re hoping it’s soon, as we would ideally like to be putting pavement on the ground in mid-September.”
In other news, Airport Director Martha Livesay announced that the West Virginia Air National Guard will soon be using LWB as their training port. Livesay explained that the 130th Wing of the WV Air National Guard (ANG) will be training personnel at LWB using the J-model of C-130. ANG Leadership is very pleased with the opportunity to train at a less crowded port than they previously had access to, and Livesay reports that the leadership of the WV ANG “really seems to love the outdoorsy nature of the area and the port itself.” The airport runway narrowing project is known to top brass at the WV ANG and does not represent an obstacle to any of their operations. The only request they made is for the painting of “assault strips,” or very small portions of runway which will train the ability of pilots to deliver men and or material into adverse conditions and with less than ideal runway space. These could be as small as 60’ by 150’.
The Greenbrier County Airport Authority meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 2 p.m. in the West Virginia State Fair Administrative Building conference room. The public is encouraged to attend, but to call ahead first at 304-645-3961, as times and dates are subject to change.