WILMINGTON – The most recent runway in the United States to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as Category III is located at the Wilmington Air Park. The Clinton County Port Authority and LGSTX Services, Inc. received word from the FAA that the Instrument Landing System (ILS) on Runway 22R has been officially certified at Category III/E/3.
“This certification provides a significant opportunity for our current customers, as well as a compelling benefit for prospective tenants and users of the Air Park, as it puts our ILS capacity on par with any major airport around the country,” said Port Authority Executive Director Daniel Evers.
The Clinton County Port Authority Board of Directors authorized the purchase and installation of a new 20-antenna array, that met the technical standards required by the FAA, earlier this year. This $250,000 investment facilitated the upgrade in technical capacity and service necessary to achieve Cat III certification.
The Wilmington Air Park is the only airport in the United States with an FAA-certified Cat III/E instrument landing system that is not owned, operated and maintained by the FAA.
A Category III Instrument Landing System (Cat III) enables aircraft to land in very low visibility conditions – in this case, down to a runway visual range (RVR) of 600 feet. The Wilmington Air Park’s certification of a Cat III runway allows flight operations to continue at the airport in inclement weather, if the flight crews and aircraft also are certified at Cat III. The “E” and the “3” in the designation refer to the tolerances at which the ILS is set, along with the level of flight crew training and aircraft instrumentation and capability.
“The installation of the antenna array and subsequent ground and flight checks are the result of a joint effort with Thale, the antenna array manufacturer and installer; Vaisala and DBT Transportation, navigation aids vendors who provided technical assistance for the installation; and, most significantly, LGSTX Services, Inc. personnel who worked closely with the vendors and the Port Authority to ensure this investment would result in a new system which could be certified by the FAA and significantly elevate the already excellent aviation capabilities in place at the Air Park,” said Evers.
As part of the preparation for the upgrade to Cat III, the Port Authority also invested in additional airport signs and markings as part of a Surface Movement Guidance Control System (SMGCS) plan. This system enhances the crews’ ability to navigate safely on the ground in lower visibility conditions.
These enhancements at the Wilmington Air Park ensure that flights scheduled to land at the airport will be able to do so in nearly all conditions.
Owned by the Clinton County Port Authority, the Wilmington Air Park is comprised of more than 1,900 acres with a fully functioning airport, as well as three million square feet of office, warehouse and hanger space.