Hillman nears airport solution

HILLMAN — The Hillman Village Council may be one step closer to meeting Michigan Department of Transportation standards at Hillman Regional Airport.

Village officials have for at least the past three years discussed how to remove trees from both the north and south side of the runway, but have been met with resistance from some of the property owners, officials said. Tree removal is needed so the airport can remain in compliance with state standards.

Village Manager Dave Post told council members on Tuesday that the Aero Pines Club, which owns the property on the north end of the airport, has asked village officials to mark the trees they want removed. He said the club would then remove the trees and charge the village $1,000 for the “stumpage,” or tree removal.

Post explained tree removal is needed so that they are not sticking up into the “glide slope,” or the proper path of descent for an aircraft preparing to land.

“You know we have to work with these guys whatever way we can to get it done,” he said. “Otherwise, we’ll be a shut-down airport.”

Council members agreed they would like to have a contract in place with the club and pay them once the tree removal is complete. Post said they would like the trees to be removed as quickly as possible.

The airport is currently operating under a provisional license set to expire in March. A provisional license is used for “special operations and operating limitations,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

“The state has indicated that as long as we’re showing progress, they’ll renew that provision,” village President Myron McIntire said. “That’s why we need to show progress.”

The airport is located nearly four miles northwest of Hillman at 16999 N. County Road 459.