Category Archives: Airport

Drones Used in KDOT Airport Inspections

KDOT leads airport inspections utilizing UAS

The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) Division of Aviation has received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) test flights at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (ICT) beginning today.

Planned inspection missions include obstruction analysis, foreign object detection, wildlife hazard management and airfield emergency response. FAA authorization was received through partnership with the Wichita Airport Authority, Kansas State University’s Polytechnic Campus and George Butler Associates (GBA).

Operations will focus on UAS integration to increase Kansas airport efficiency by condensing the process time in half and improving accuracy. The authorization also includes a precedent-setting FAA waiver to conduct night operations at the airport and allows KDOT to provide the FAA much-needed data on UAS integration in complex airspace.

The operations are part of the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP).

“We identified KDOT’s involvement with IPP as a prime opportunity to investigate the effectiveness and operations procedures necessary to implement safe UAS operations at ICT,” said Victor White, Executive Director of Airports for the Wichita Airport Authority.

“This FAA approval will significantly improve airport efficiency and safety,” said KDOT Director of Aviation Bob Brock. “We look forward to expanding Kansas airport inspection capabilities across the state and developing new capabilities to drive industry growth.”

K-State Polytechnic and GBA are part of a joint operations crew to establish procedures and operating methodology for the airport operations personnel.

“Incorporating UAS into a range of airport lines of business, such as detecting foreign object debris on runways, defective airfield markings and the integrity of the security infrastructure may be done more effectively and efficiently than current methodologies,” said Kurt Carraway, UAS Executive Director of the Applied Aviation Research Center at K-State Polytechnic. “We look forward to exploring these use cases to further enhance safe airport operations.”

“This authorization will allow us to provide data-driven operations in real-world operating environments,” said Ben Linder, GBA’s Advanced Robotics and Remote Sensing Group Leader.

IPP involves nine regional efforts to conduct advanced UAS operations to yield sufficient data for rule making that will result in access to new technologies for the nation.


KDOT Awards Fort Scott Airport $152,000

Seth Simpson, Fort Scott City Airport Manager, as of Dec. 2018.

The Kansas Department of Transportation awarded Fort Scott Airport a grant in the amount of $152,000, with notification being given on April 30.

The grant money is for an Airport Geographic Information System and runway expansion, according to the KDOT announcement.

“We don’t have the contract with details,” Seth Simpson, Fort Scott Airport Manager said Tuesday.

“We will use it for any design, such as the layout of runway extension, possible land acquisition, that type of thing,” he said.

The future impact on this local airport is “huge”, Simpson said.

The airport expansion will allow bigger jets to use the Fort Scott Airport and “it will be better to bring more companies in (Bourbon County),” he said.

“Length of the runway and strengthening for weight purposes will be part of the runway expansion,” Simpson said. “We are coming due for a resurfacing, that will cost less money if we can do it all at once.”

Currently, the runway is 4,400 feet and is to be expanded to 5,500 feet.

Fuel sales increases and medical flights will also be positively impacted by the runway expansion, Simpson said.

During the preliminary phases of the expansion, a Native American archeological dig was held on the northwest section of the airport property on Indian Road, southwest of Fort Scott.

“One tribe said they would like to do more archeological digging,” Simpson said. “To find things pertinent to their tribe.”

“This phase is part of the process,” he said. “We have a series of boxes we have to check off.”

“The City of Fort Scott works closely with KDOT Aviation to improve the runway in Fort Scott,” Fort Scott Economic Director Rachel Pruitt said. “I am encouraged to see continued funding towards our project.  The overall improvement project will take ongoing collaboration at the state and federal levels.  There are still several steps to complete.”
Rachel Pruitt

Upcoming events at the airport:

  • The Fort Scott Airport is the beginning of the Combat Warrior convoy on May 1, with city officials and first responders invited to the airport to welcome the military veterans to town, on their way to the E3 Ranch. The public is invited to welcome the veterans by lining the streets on National Avenue and Wall Streets and waving.
  • The Fort Scott Airport will be hosting the Kansas 2019 Association of Airports Conference on June 25-27.




KDOT announces Kansas airport improvement projects


Topeka – Forty-one projects totaling a combined award of $5 million have been granted for the Kansas Airport Improvement Program (KAIP) funding for planning, constructing or rehabilitating public use general aviation airports.

The aviation industry represents $20.6 billion economic impact and employs more than 92,000 Kansans. In addition, 94 percent of the state’s population is within 30 minutes of air ambulance operations.

“We are proud of the collaboration between our department and airport sponsors to increase safety, enhance economic development and support the transportation needs of Kansans,” said Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz.

The KAIP program requires airport sponsors to share in project costs by paying a portion of the total project. The KDOT Division of Aviation, which manages the program, considered 119 project applications this year with a combined total value of more than $29 million.

“KAIP has not only funded key improvements at local airports, it has helped create a statewide aviation network that enhances both the health and economic wellbeing of the entire state,” said Bob Brock, KDOT Director of Aviation.

Communities selected for funding and the amount requested include:

Anthony – Airports Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) survey and flight check – $52,250

Atchison – Surface seal of runway – $56,925

Atwood – Update fuel card reader – $17,000

Augusta – Reconstruct apron access to community hangar – $76,500

Beloit – Airfield maintenance equipment – $16,250

Benton – 17/35 runway preservation – $321,867

Elkhart – Airports Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) Study – $76,000

Emporia – 1/19 runway sealcoat and preservation –$411,500

Fort Scott – Airports Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) updates and runway extension design – $152,000

Gardner – 8/26 runway/apron/taxilane pavement preservation – $90,000

Garnett – 1/19 runway seal and repair high severity cracks – $40,500

Hiawatha – 10/28 runway edge lighting design – $19,000; 17/35 runway edge lighting design – $19,000; taxilane renovation design and construction – $61,890

Hoxie – Phase II: runway rehab – $303,440

Independence – South apron runup area renovation – $721,500; fuel systems – $36,335

Kingman – Precision approach path indicator (PAPI) replacement – $182,963

Kinsley – construct tiedowns – $10,949

La Crosse – Operations support equipment – $45,000

Lakin – Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) III – $176,250; 14/32 runway mill and overlay design and construction – $303,250

Liberal – Runway marking removal and replacement – $248,500

Oberlin – Height and hazard survey – $38,000

Ottawa – Pavement preservation on parallel and connection taxiway system – $173,250

Pittsburg –Replace Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) ceilometer –$43,200; remove obstructing trees – $18,000

Quinter – Install Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) III – $135,000

Rose Hill – Crack seal– $16,200; upgrade fuel credit card terminal – $14,875; mill and overlay runway 17/35 – $174,600

Salina – Phase II: ramp reconstruction – $720,000

St. Francis – Extend SE taxiway – $133,200

Seth Simpson Hired As New Airport Manager

Seth Simpson, Fort Scott City Airport Manager, as of Dec. 2018.

Seth Simpson has been hired as the Fort Scott Airport Airfield Operation Flight Manager.

His hiring was announced at the airport Monday afternoon.

The Fort Scott Airport entrance at 187th and Indian Road.

A 2002 Fort Scott graduate, Simpson, 35, has worked at Elgin Air Force Base, Florida for six years as an Air Force Air Traffic Controller.

He then entered the Air National Guard and served in Stillwell, OK; Manhattan, KS; Montgomery, AL; Biloxi, MS, and most recently St. Joe, MO.

Simpson is married to the former Amy Cozens and his parents are Scott and Becky Simpson, Fort Scott. They have three children: Lydia, Maylie, and Alex.

“Five people applied,” said Kenny Howard, the current airport director, who will be retiring in  December 2018.

“We selected Seth because of his experience in aviation, plus he was a local boy,” Howard said.

“He will be training one day, every other week, until December 21,” when Simpson will become fulltime and Howard will step down, Howard said.

“I will be in charge of air traffic control, airfield operations, and landing systems maintenance,” Simpson said.

Simpson will continue in the Air National Guard one weekend a month, two times a year, he said.



Howard To Retire As Airport Director


Retiring Fort Scott Airport Director Kenny Howard, left, and Economic Director Rachel Pruitt, at the Chamber of Commerce Coffee Thursday morning at the airport.

Kenny Howard, Fort Scott’s Airport Director for the last 18 years, is retiring.

“I can’t say enough about Kenny’s leadership,” City Manager Dave Martin said at the Chamber of Commerce Coffee Thursday at the airport. “We’re definitely going to miss him.”

Howard will retire December 31 and the city is currently interviewing for the position, Martin said.

Howard told about some of the planned events in his tenure which included clinics and fly-in breakfasts.

There have been increased fuel sales at the airport, since changing fuel vendors, he said.

Last year approximately 77,000 gallons of fuel were sold there, and as of August 2018, approximately 92,000 have been sold thus far, he said.

Fort Scott Airport has two onsite fuel tanks: a 10,000 gallon Jet A gas tank and a 9,000 gallon AV gas tank.

Agricultural flying operations, corporate flights, medical emergency flights and more recently a request from the parents of some St. Martin’s Academy students for charter flights, are a part of the job.

His additional duties are overseeing the mowing of 190 acres of grass and overseeing the insurance piece for the airport.

He said he was able to drop the premium for the insurance coverage in the last few years.

Two recent grants for improvement were received: a grant that will upgrade the Automated Weather Observation Station, and one for improved runway lights.

Fort Scott Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said there is currently a Federal Aviation Administration opportunity for rural airports.

“I submitted an application in August…there is no matching grant required…to expand the runway,” Pruitt said.

“The last six years, the airport has seen 60 percent growth,” she said.

The Fort Scott Airport entrance at 187th and Indian Road.


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Airport Receives Two Grants To Update

Airport Receives Two Grants To Update

Fort Scott Airport runway.

In June, the Fort Scott City Commission approved a Kansas Department of Transportation grant in the amount of $109,600 for the Automated Weather Observation Station upgrades at the airport with the city match of $12,118.

Fort Scott Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt, along with Fort Scott Airport Director Kenny Howard informed the commission that the city received this and another grant from K.D.O.T.

Howard stated that the A.W.O.S. upgrade is badly needed at the Airport as the current system is about 19 years old, according to the meeting minutes.

“The A.W.O.S. is the on-field reporter of weather, visibility, etc.,” Howard said.

Fort Scott Airport Office.

The other grant received from K.D.O.T. is for lighting the runway, Howard said.

The PAPI (Precision Approach Path Indicators) and REIL (Runway End Identifier Lights) Grant from KDOT is for runway lighting at the airport in the amount of $177,462. The city match for the grant is $19,718.

The commission discussed the airport 2,100-foot runway extension and how this lighting would be affected, according to the minutes.

Kenny stated that the grant can be delayed if the runway extension occurs within the next two years.

“We are waiting for more grant money for the extension,” Howard said.”The design for the runway extension is not completed yet.”

Pruitt stated that she is applying for another grant for the extension July.

The office and pilots lounge of the Fort Scott Airport.

Design Of Airport Runway Expansion In The Works

The Fort Scott Airport Advisory Board discuss improvements at the facility Wednesday morning at city hall. From left, clockwise FS City Clerk Diane Clay, Bill Waldren, Matt McGhee, Greg Post, Mary Pemberton, Jim Gladbach and Kenny Howard, airport manager.

Fort Scott Airport is in the design stage of expanding its runway.

The FS Airport Advisory  Board met Jan. 24 for an update from Kenny Howard, the airport manager.

“We signed a contract for the design of the (runway expansion) project,” Howard told the board. “That part of the project should be done in April.”

The runway expansion designer is Olsson Associates, Lincoln, Nebraska.

“It will be paid for by the city and private donations,” Howard told

The design plan will estimate the cost of the runway expansion project, he said.

Once the cost is projected, grants will be sought to fund the expansion project, Howard said.

The current length of the airport runway is 4,400 feet, the proposed runway expansion would increase that to 6,150 feet, according to Howard.

In addition, the city has applied for a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to rehabilitate the runway lights, Howard said. The estimated cost of that project is $290,000.

Howard said approximately 600 aircraft took off and landed at the facility last year.

Pilots file and cancel their flights using their cell phones, he said.

Most air traffic at the facility is between 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A property owner near the airport, Kenneth Merriman, told the board “the noise decibel is pretty bad over my house.”

Merriman lives one mile south of the airport.

Howard said a noise analysis done on the airport shows the noise is staying on the airport property.

“People that have concerns can come out and talk to me,” Howard told Merriman. He said 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the best time to reach him at the airport.