Three letter call signs or location codes are assigned to each airport and, contrary to frequent flyer lore, usually make sense. ATL, for example, is the Atlanta Intl. Airport (Hartsfield-Jackson) and JFK is the New York area John F. Kennedy airport. In some cases, you have to know the history of the area to understand why certain combinations are used. In the Chicago area, ORD (O’Hare Intl.), might be assumed to start with “O” for the World War II Navy aviator and Medal of Honor winner Butch O’Hare after whom the facility was named. No, in this case, the original facility was called Orchard Field Airport and retained its locator even after the name was changed.
In the nearby state of Indiana is a facility with a “logical” code: IND. Indianapolis Intl., may not have the heavy traffic of ORD or ATL, but it does have a satellite or reliever airport. A short distance from IND is TYQ, the Indianapolis Executive Airport. So, how did TYQ come to be its locator?
Campbell Aviation began developing Indianapolis Executive Airport (TYQ) as Terry Airport in 1957 with 3,340 feet by 60 feet bituminous runway configured in a north-south direction (in aviation speak: Runway 18/36 for its compass directions 180/360 degrees). The airport was classified as a reliever to Indianapolis Intl., Airport in the 1980s, which allowed the facility to get government funding from the FAA and the State of Indiana.
In the 1990s, TYQ used grants to extend its runway to 5,500 feet. As a general aviation certified airport, it can’t handle commercial jets, like the popular 737, but it can handle private jets and dual and single engine aircraft of all types. As aircraft increase their performance, safety concerns led the Hamilton County Airport Authority, the facility’s owners, to use federal funding to contract with Woolpert to add even more length to the runway.
The runway extension will provide an increased margin of safety for both take-offs and landings for the current mix of aircraft using the airport. This is important during inclement weather conditions such as rain, snow, or ice, as well as during hot summer months when aircraft need more runway length for take-off.
The Indianapolis Executive Airport unveiled its newly completed runway following a five-year, phased extension project. Woolpert led design for the $15 million project and provided construction management, planning, and material testing services. The new runway construction was completed in multiple phases to allow the airport to remain operable for a majority of the project.
The vision for the project began in 2008 following the completion of the airport’s master plan. Woolpert has worked with the Indianapolis Executive Airport for nearly two decades, providing architectural design and engineering support for various projects, including the design of the airport’s 19,000-square-foot corporate hangar for Beck’s Hybrids in 2018. Beck’s Hybrids is the sixth-largest seed company in the United States and uses corporate aircraft to fly in thousands of farmers from surrounding areas for firsthand experiences at its Indiana facilities.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $15 billion in airport infrastructure funding. The money can be invested in runways, taxiways, safety, and sustainability projects, as well as terminal, airport-transit connections, and roadway projects. While most of the funding is focused on improving commercial airports, money is also made available for GA facilities, like TYQ. Smaller facilities can benefit their communities in even greater ways than the sprawling international airports frequented by the traveling public. The federal government isn’t forgetting them either.
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