Big addition to local airport could spark future growth

HEARNE A big change is coming to one of the smaller airports in the area, but local leaders say it could be the start of something even larger.

The City of Hearne broke ground Thursday on what will become a new state-of-the-art hanger for military training at the Hearne Municipal Airport.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Hearne Airport. We've always thought that it was one of our greatest assets. We've never landed someone like IDIS," said the City of Hearne Mayor Pro Tem, Emmett Aguirre.

Arizona-based IDIS Corp. provides training services to the U.S. military for free-fall and parachute testing support.

"In order to parachute they've got to have this great big airplane and we don't have a hangar big enough to house their airplane, so we're building an 18,000 square foot T hangar that will have offices for them to be able to administratively work out of, and to house their airplane," Aguirre added.

This project is something IDIS and the City of Hearne said is an opportunity for growth.

"Hearne provided the intersection of a wonderful airport. It's an old World War II airport with a 10,000-foot runway that you don't find very often. It also provided the infrastructure necessary to support our students," said Kathryn Young, one of the owners of IDIS.

"I think that we can maybe bring our airport to the full fruition that we think that it has from an industrial site and maybe in the next 10 years we can become a really major airport," Aguirre said.

The construction on the new hangar is expected to be completed in six months. Its cost will be an estimated $900,000.