Pennsylvania's Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority Accepts $1.8M Grant

The plan is to build a new fixed base operator office building and help launch a flight school collaboration with St. Francis University in Loretto.

by Randy Griffith, The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.) / August 24, 2017

(TNS) -- A few months after taking on the fixed base operation at the Johnstown airport in 2015, Nulton Aviation founder Larry Nulton said he was “shooting for the stars” with an estimated $800,000 renovation proposal.

On Tuesday, the Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority voted to accept a $1,858,300 grant that enables Nulton to build a new fixed base operator office building and help launch a flight school collaboration with St. Francis University in Loretto.

“This is a good thing; it’s a really good thing,” authority Solicitor Timothy Leventry said during the meeting.

The state Multimodal Transportation Fund grant includes about $1.5 million for a new operations center, $250,000 for startup tuition assistance and marketing at St. Francis and $110,000 for a Redbird Flight training simulator, Nulton said.

Since buying former fixed-base operator MTT Aviation in 2015, Nulton Aviation has been pushed efforts to build noncommercial aviation business at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.

Nulton connected its flight school with Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and St. Francis. The partnerships give students interested in aviation-related careers an opportunity to get pilot training as part of their college education.

The Federal Aviation Administration-approved flight simulator is vital to the flight school because it helps students advance their training.

“It is used as flight time toward a degree,” Nulton said.

“That’s why it’s so important to the academic program. It’s not a toy.”

The flight simulator will be set up with controls identical to the Diamond aircraft Nulton’s flight school is purchasing. The new plane is not funded by the state grant.

With the authority’s acceptance of the state grant, Nulton said he’ll be ready to buy the simulator and start the bidding process on a new office building, with pilots’ facilities and reception area.

The existing FBO office will be razed to make way for the new, larger building, Nulton said. It will connect to an existing building that holds the flight school and the existing large hangar. The structures are located adjacent to the airport terminal in Richland Township.

The airport authority’s acceptance of the grant was approved, pending a final agreement with Nulton. Leventry said he is finalizing the papers, meant to protect the authority against unanticipated costs.

Construction could begin soon, Nulton said.

“I want to go to bid ASAP,” Nulton said. “I am prepared to move when they sign it.”

©2017 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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