Deer hunters trigger airport improvements & expansion

The Penstone airport in Pittsfield opened back in the 1970s and it has catered strictly to private planes and pilots.

But over the last several years, the airport has seen an increase in traffic especially from about the first of October to mid January.

That increase in traffic is primarily due to out of state hunters that fly into Pike County during deer season to hunt with both their bow and shotgun.

John Guthrie, is the airport manager and said just a month ago that the area that is now part of the new expansion was a corn field. But now the area is going to be a ramp area for overnight parking for planes that fly into the facility.

"We just decided, the council, the airport committee, they mayor and I decided that the extra room for parking would be the best money spent," Guthrie said.

The airport did have about 10 spots for overnight parking, but when the airport expanded their above ground fueling system, about half half those spots were lost back in 2008. When this project wraps up within the next few weeks, Guthrie said he'll be able to accommodate about 10 to 12 more planes on top of the five spots that are already in place.

"Pike County has capitalized on the pay to hunt deer crowd. During those times there is a lot more traffic and they're in and out at all hours and if I'm not here to assist in parking a larger airplane then that gets to be a problem. So this will allow us to not worry quite so much as to having someone park in the wrong place," Guthrie said.

Most of the planes that will park overnight will be at the airport for about two to three days. Because the runway is four thousand feet long, it can handle larger twin props and even smaller Learjets. Making this airport one of convenience for pilots who fly in from around the United States.