Our Airport

 

S.O.A.R. believes that the airport is a valuable asset to Greene County and its communities and we are looking for ways we can work together to make the airport economically viable and to find solutions relating to airport issues and concerns.   S.O.A.R. focuses on the historical aspects of the airport, its present condition, and our vision for the future of the airport and its place in our region.

 

Greene County Airport (KWAY) was integral to the history of Greene County

 

Throughout its history, the airport has served as both an economic and social hub of Greene County. 

 

Although the area where the current airport is located has been in use as an airfield since 1921, it became the official Waynesburg Airport in 1938.  Construction of the airport was funded with federal monies provided by the Works Progress Administration and additional state funds.  Land for the airport was purchased by the Greene County Commissioners, but title to the land was held by Waynesburg Borough.  Waynesburg also was responsible for the actual construction of the runway and buildings. 

 

In the past, the airport served as a transportation hub for passengers and mail.  In cooperation with Waynesburg College, it provided flight training for student pilots.  In 1941, the airport ownership was transferred to the county, and soon plumbing and electricity were installed. 

 

In 1946, Dennis Loughman operated the Waynesburg and Pittsburgh Local Express Company from the airport, hauling both passengers and small freight in two Ercoupe aircraft. 

 

The airport has always had special appeal to youngsters from three to 93.  Airport Days were held annually from 1993 to 2004, offering plane rides, static aircraft display, and free rides to children as a way to introduce them to aviation.

 

Thousands turned out for the 2001 Greene County “Festival of Flight” that featured skydivers, an air show, and a Vietnam era C-123 aircraft.

 

Over the years, several flight schools have been in operation at the airport.  Many of our grandparents, parents, and friends learned to fly Piper Cubs and Aeroncas there after WWII.  At the height of the flight training days, 80 students were enrolled in student pilot programs.  Many commercial pilots who live in Greene County started their aviation careers at Greene County Airport.

 

Famous for its special “Garbage Plate”, the original Airport Restaurant was open 24 hours a day and served as a truck stop for weary big rig drivers and as a take-out diner for employees of the Greene County Memorial Hospital.  Today, the Airport Restaurant is still a popular meeting place for aviators and community folks.

 

Greene County Airport Today (2011-present)

 

Today, the airport is in disrepair and in the red.  S.O.A.R. would like to work with the County Commissioners to make the airport much more attractive, both physically and economically. 

 

The airport is not just for pilots; we see many positive community benefits of the Greene County Airport, including:

  • People enjoy airport days that include rides, static displays, and aerial performers. These days also provide food and refreshments to visitors through the use of vendors.

  • With the addition of a Civil Air Patrol unit, local youths can be involved in aviation and encouraged to pursue careers as aviators, engineers, military personnel, or in aircraft maintenance.The airport had a CAP chapter in the past.

  • Local residents may want to form a flying club so that members can share the flying experience.

  • EAA local chapter 978 can host events, such as a pancake breakfast, and serve as an advocate for the airport.In addition, EAA can host a Young Eagles Day.These days introduce youth to aviation through free rides, and are packed events in places like Clarksburg and Morgantown, WV.

  • The radio controlled helicopter area is very popular and used frequently for events.

  • The airport can serve as a staging area for enhanced emergency preparedness/response.

  • The airport can serve as a base for Angel Flights to urban centers for children in need of medical services.

  • The community and its residents have come out in the past to support cross country meets, Flashlight drag races, and the Easter egg hunt.

 

The county has already invested money on a master plan and feasibility study for the airport. By implementing the plan, the airport can operate in the black and serve as very important infrastructure for the county. 

 

There are many economic considerations and benefits to retaining and maintaining the airport that include the following:

 

  • If the hangars were in good condition, and free of county storage, they would all be rented.At nearby airports, hangar demand exceeds the supply, and new hangars are being built.

  • A full-service airport will increase the overall revenues throughout the county due to aviators choosing Greene County instead of Washington or Morgantown airports.

  • Flight Level Aviation could once again provide simulated IFR training to pilots, resulting in state sales tax and hotel tax revenue to the county.

  • Strope Aviation Maintenance provides a couple of jobs and tax revenue to the state.

  • The county can increase its revenues by selling jet fuel and pricing its fuel competitively.

  • Airport upgrades will result in increased use of the airport by several companies developing Marcellus shale and coal in the area, including survey work using helicopters, cargo transport to job sites, and passenger ferry service.

  • If the airport facilities were upgraded, it would get more use by entities such as Waynesburg University and by companies located in Evergreene Technology Park.

  • Advocate for the use of the airport relating to the new National Guard Armory and its military unit.

  • There are occasions when aerial photographers seek to rent a plane and pilot.

  • Tourism considerations in the form of scenic rides around the country side or premiere gobbler hunting

  • Establishment of a flight school, which provides jobs and tax revenues

  • A fixed based operator (FBO) would be in charge of fuel farm, relieving the county of any costs.

  • Use of the airport by med-evac helicopters

  • Development of aviation courses in cooperation with the Westmoreland County Community College or Waynesburg University

  • Income from an “on call” shuttle service to area hotels

  • More Vending machines would increase service and income

  • Income from a rental car company located at the airport

  • Income from admission to an airport event, such as an air show, rides, or drag races

  • A small meeting/conference room for business travelers for rent could be provided downstairs.

  • Income may be derived from a fee charged to Waynesburg University and schools who use the cross country track, in order to recoup costs of airport employees who help set-up and clean-up after the events.

 

 

 

​​Call us:

(724) 852-4328

Ask for John at Strope's Aircraft Maintenance

To Send An Email Click The Link Below:

 

soarofgreenecounty@gmail.com

 

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