CLAREMORE, Okla. — Construction of a new 12,700 square foot t-hangar at Claremore Regional Airport means Claremore is now offering more space for those wanting to park their planes out of the elements.
But as FOX23′s Amy Hybels learned, not only there is a growing demand for hangar space, but the president of a local flying club says there’s a growing interest in flying itself.
The sight of a student doing a “check ride” to become a certified private pilot is not an uncommon sight at Claremore Regional Airport.
The small general aviation airfield in Rogers County has a 52-hundred feet long runway that can accommodate small to medium size regional jets.
It’s also home to a new t-hangar that the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority or CIEDA secured the financing for, providing the city with enough hangar space for ten planes.
The coveted slots in the new facility which cost just over $800,000 were leased quickly according to Meggie Forman-Knight, the Executive Director of the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority.
“In less than an hour we had all ten spaces reserved with paid deposits,” she said.
The last time Claremore had a hangar built at the Claremore Regional Airport was back in 2005.
Airport manager Eric Winn explains why the spaces are so sought after in Oklahoma:
“We’re in Oklahoma so it’s a little bit more higher demand to get your plane out from off the ramp and inside a building just because of the crazy weather that we can experience around our area.”
There’s also private and commercial hangar space at Claremore Regional Airport but Winn said he still has a waiting list.
“There’s some final drainage work being done right outside the new t-hangar on the 40-acre parcel of land purchased by the city in 2019 for future hangar development.
“We’re going to do a strategic plan to develop that area be it industrial, t-hangars, private hangars, we just have to sit down and really figure out and get to the nuts and bolts and see where we want those hangars to be at,” Winn explained. A federal grant is paying for a site survey.
There’s not only a waiting list for hangar space, but Oklahoma Airmen Flying Club President Lee Burk said he has a waiting list for those wanting to fly with his organization that seeks to keep aviation accessible and affordable for anyone wanting to participate.
His flying club has 3 planes at Claremore Regional Airport, two are in the new t-hangar. we asked Burk why he thinks flying is growing in popularity:
“It’s fun, flying is fun,” said Burk who was raised around aviation and both of his parents are private pilots.
Burk also said he thinks the pandemic has brought more of focus on the benefits of private air travel.
“I’m either at the home, work, church or the airport I guess,” he said. “And probably more at the airport more than anywhere, don’t tell my boss I said that.”
Burk said his flying club has just over 60 members and 20 on a waiting list right now. Despite the name, the Oklahoma Airmen Flying Club has men and women members.
In order to raise funds for the flying club, a plane will be raffled off. Entry for the tickets ends on September 17.
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