Madison Municipal Airport manager Brent Spry shows the outdated lighting system on the taxiway at the airport. Spry says the lighting will be replaced with more efficient LED lights. That, he hopes, will increase traffic at the airport. <br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->
Madison Municipal Airport manager Brent Spry shows the outdated lighting system on the taxiway at the airport. Spry says the lighting will be replaced with more efficient LED lights. That, he hopes, will increase traffic at the airport.

Brent Spry took over as manager of Madison Municipal Airport at the first of year, and he already has his sights set on improving the facility and drawing more users.

This summer, Spry is working on a project to install a new lighting system throughout the airport's taxiway. The taxiway is what links to Madison's 5,000-by-75-foot runway.

The lights are needed for aircraft to maneuver the airfield at night. There are currently 10 incandescent lights at the entry points of the taxiway system, but the lights do not follow the entire length of the taxiway.

Spry and the local board of aviation is seeking bids for new LED lights, which give off a crisp light at night and are energy efficient. The bids will be opened at the airport on June 26.

"It's going to make it more attractive, and it's safer for the pilots when they're taxing here around here at night," he said.

The cost of the project has not been determined, but Spry said the Federal Aviation Administration covers 95 percent of the cost.

The airport catalogs operations - so a landing and takeoff equals two actions. It averages about 13,000 actions every year.

Spry said the new lighting system could increase the overall traffic at the airport because some pilots are instructed not to land at facility's without a full taxiway lighting system.

"What we're trying to do is increase jet traffic out here," he said.

The airport has been used by business and industry leaders and even celebrities booked in Louisville or the nearby Belterra Casino. But Spry said the airport also sees pilots coming from Bowman Field in Louisville for fuel because the Madison fuel is a little cheaper.

Spry, a Jefferson County native who replaced Ralph Rogers and Hazel Wilkerson in January, is the first manager to be hired as a city employee. Wilkerson and Rogers were considered sub-contractors.

Madison Municipal Airport covers about 174 acres and has about 50 aircraft in its on-site hangars.

Spry studied aviation at Vincennes University and Indiana State University and holds a commercial license. He flew for Rogers before taking over the airport.

In addition to facility upgrades, Spry's working with the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce to let businesses know the airport exists. On the other hand, he wants to show new airport users the perks of Madison and Jefferson County.

"When you land out here, it looks rural," he said. "You don't see Madison. You don't see the town. And that's the disconnect that we've got."