Aviation View | Volume 2, Issue 3

80 AVIATION VIEW VOLUME 2, ISSUE 3 is not, although it did start as an aeronautical company. As Wright explains, “A.W. Research had remote sensing technologies built into an aircraft to survey wetlands and lakes in Minnesota. Their aircraft would fly over the lakes and wetlands, capture water quality data, and analyze their data at the laboratory right next to their hangar. Today, the lab now uses an aircraft on a subcontract basis, but they remain our tenants because they understand that this airport is still a great place to do business.” Other non-aeronautical tenants at the airport include the Wings Airport Café and an upcoming solar installation being built in partnership with Brainerd Public Utilities. “Brainerd Public Utilities is installing a solar array to generate power on a thirty-year power agreement,” says Wright. “We’re renting an unused portion of the airfield out to them and will receive non-aeronautical revenue, a major milestone in our quest to promote non- aeronautical developments within the airport.” For the next three to five years, the airport is focusing on its current developments, including the ARFF/SRE Facility station and laying the groundwork for aeronautical development towards runway 16/34, while exploring more ways of economically developing any idle land within the airport for non-aeronautical opportunities. “One of the pressing matters we’ll need to address in the coming years is the challenge of hangars,” says Wright. “We have multiple aircraft on our hangar waiting list, so we need to determine the plan of constructing hangars. However, with inflation and other factors, construction cost is a fundamental problem for private investors seeking to construct anything in the airport. Another challenge is that we have private assets stored on public land, which raises the question of who should invest in these hangars for short and long-term benefit.” For now, the airport awaits monies coming through a bipartisan infrastructure law that will see major airports like Brainerd Lakes Regional receive funds for infrastructure investment including hangars. “We plan to use the money to ensure our airfields are immaculate and have safe and strong runways,” says Wright. “We will also focus on ensuring that airport safety facilities are complete, and any runway and safety issues are resolved. Once we complete those, we will then be able to use remaining funds to construct much needed aircraft hangars.” Robust infrastructure and more hangars all point to positive growth and a high-flying future ahead at Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport! PREFERRED VENDORS/PARTNERS n A.W. Research Laboratories, Inc. www.awlab.com n Hy-Tec Construction www.hytecconstruction.com