Automated fuel system installed at airport
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
It’s taken four years to lay the groundwork but those efforts have come to fruition with the installation of a new automated fuel system at the Imperial airport.
Testing will begin soon on the new system that will offer aviation gas 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Airport Authority member Bill Bauerle said the bulk of the project will be paid for through a federal grant.
He said the authority received $245,000 in grant funds for the $275,000 project. The grant funds come from the Aviation Trust Fund.
This trust fund receives its funding from surcharge fees on passenger flights and taxes on aviation gas and jet fuel, among other things.
Bauerle said the authority refinanced some of their high-interest bonds which freed up funds to pay for the project.
Big step for airport
He said installation of the system represents a big step forward for the airport.
The previous fuel system had grown obsolete, Bauerle said.
Because of Imperial’s location in proximity to the Colorado mountains, he said this makes Imperial a good place to refuel.
He said planes can fuel up here and reduce the fuel weight while making the climb to pass over the mountains.
With the automated credit card system, he expects more planes to stop here for fueling with avgas known to pilots at 100LL.
The fueling site information will be circulated in the Federal Aviation Administration’s registry, making pilots aware of the fueling stop.
Bauerle said they won’t be carrying jet fuel here for several reasons. First, the demand for jet fuel is not that great and jet fuel requires more environmental control and can go bad if not used in a certain period of time.
The above-ground fuel tank needs no spill containment bunker because of its construction.
The tank contains two stainless steel walls with six inches of concrete poured between the walls. As a result, the tank weighs 32,000 pounds.
This project represents the latest in a number of improvements at the airport over the last 10 years.
Some of these include a lengthened concrete runway and lighting, a new terminal, new tarmac surfacing and an automated weather observation system.
Federal grant funds have paid for the bulk of those improvements.