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Airport awarded funding from FAA

RAYMOND — Hinds Community College president Dr. Clyde Muse and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will invest $1.85 million for the design and installation of an instrument landing system (ILS) for the John Bell Williams Airport.

The funding is a collaborative result between Cochran, the FAA and Hinds Community College, owner of the airport.

Muse, acknowledging Cochran’s role, said the FAA award would help complete a six-year, $11-million capital improvement program at the airport, which is also the base for aviation-related courses.

“Hinds Community College and our airport patrons are very grateful for the encouragement and leadership shown by Sen. Cochran in helping us achieve this important next step in our airport’s evolution. We have now moved from an outstanding to superior general aviation airport,” Muse said.

The airport is owned by Hinds Community College. Hinds offers aviation technology programs at the airport such as pilot training, aviation management, avionics, airframe and power plant certification and an air traffic control training curriculum that started in the spring 2009 semester.

When the ILS installation and FAA certification is finished in the summer of 2010, the John Bell Williams Airport will have undergone a capital improvement program that included reconstruction and lengthening of its runway and taxiway to accommodate a greater percentage of the worldwide business jet fleet and building new hangar facilities to accommodate regional demand from aircraft owners.

Airport Development Group Inc., Jackson, is providing design, engineering and project management services for the ILS project.

“Our airport is ideally located in the rapidly growing suburban areas west of Jackson.  We are perfectly positioned to offer a dynamic combination of aviation service and business locations to serve this region of the state,” Michele Jackson, airport manager, said.

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