Bowling Green Airport Learns From Comair Tragedy

By Ryan Dearbone | 

Those in South-Central Kentucky are also remembering last year's Comair tragedy.

Probably none more closely than our own aviation community.

The Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport has steadily looked for ways to improve the quality and safety of its product even before the Comair tragedy.

It's a year later, but those at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport are still learning from it.

"We're following that accident very closely, to gain as much knowledge as we can and apply that to our airport here in Bowling Green," explained Rob Barnett, with the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport.

But airport personnel were working long before that to prevent a tragedy.

"We have a master plan that basically puts timeliness for airport improvement projects," Barnett added.

The airport's master plan includes remarking and relighting Runway 3-21, their major runway.

"Toward the end of June, we received multiple lightning strikes on that runway. Our lighting will be upgraded to the most modern standards," he continued.

They recently upgraded their perimeter fencing and acquired additional land to allow for longer runway areas for planes.

"For instance, in the case of an accident or incident, we have a larger area than what is required by the
FAA, for aircraft runoff," Barnett assured.

He said even though this airport is smaller than many strictly commercial airports, it's still subject to the same inspections.

More than 150 items are inspected by the Federal Aviation Administration yearly.

Barnett noted that any and every plane accident is a learning experience.

"Unfortunately, the end result is, we'll all learn from such an incident, and we'll all take a step back and say, 'How can we have done this differently?' " Barnett asked.

It's a lesson that hopefully the aviation community in our area will never have to experience.

Barnett says in the coming years, the airport will "beef up" security measures along with upgrading the asphalt on its runways.

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