High-flying success stories Two airports chosen tops in state for improvements, operations.

July 22, 1996

CONGRATULATIONS to the two Carroll County airports that won top honors as the best in Maryland at a recent conference sponsored by state and federal aviation agencies.

The inaugural awards speak to the importance of general aviation in this area and to the commitment of the Carroll community to these smaller airfields that form a vital part of the national air transportation network.

Significant airfield improvements and excellent safety inspections were key factors in the selection of the Carroll County Regional Airport in Westminster and Clearview Airport, near Bloom, to receive the awards from the Maryland Aviation Summit Conference. The conference, sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Maryland Aviation Administration, focused on promoting and improving operations of the 144 airfields in the state, particularly the 36 open to public use.

Small airfields are finding it harder to stay open. Neighbors complain of noise and safety concerns, developers covet the open land for building, and private airport owners feel squeezed by taxes and the soaring costs of maintenance and required safety improvements. Some 50 airports close each year in the United States, and they are seldom replaced.

That's why the achievements at the two Carroll airports are significant in their expansion of services and facilities.

Clearview's owners, Lowell Seal and Tom Chapman, repaved the 1,845-foot runway, installed a new heating system and opened an aircraft parts and supply store. Like a lot of these small airstrips, they relied on the volunteer labor of local fliers to help with the work and win private-airport honors.

Carroll County Regional, county-owned and privately operated, has benefited from a new mile-long runway that opened in 1994. More planes are using the facility, prompting the commitment to build a larger above-ground fuel storage system and more hangars. But scrupulous attention to operating details won particular praise from inspectors.

Operator June Poage and airport manager Stephen Brown, who took some flak when he was appointed a year ago because he is son of the sheriff, merit the statewide recognition for their efforts to keep 'em flying in Carroll.

Pub Date: 7/22/96

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