Pilot exodus follows closing of airport hangar - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Pilot exodus follows closing of airport hangar

© Many pilots in the Port City are in need of a new place to store their planes. © Many pilots in the Port City are in need of a new place to store their planes.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Many pilots in the Port City are in need of a new place to store their planes.

Harry Cool of Wilmington is one of those pilots. Cool operates a single-engine Cessna. He stores it at the Aero Services hangar on ILM Airport property when he isn't flying it. However, he will soon have to start keeping his plane at a hangar in Wallace.

In April the ILM Airport Authority Board voted to boot the Aero Services hangar off the property when the two sides could not agree on a new lease. A new company, The Brixtel Group, is being brought in to operate on the property. According to ILM Finance Director Jim Morton the airport is still in negotiations with the company.

"It just doesn't seem as pilot friendly unless you've got some big large airplane, but you know this is all I got," Cool explained.

Gerard Tremblay, Aero Services Manager, said 20 pilots have already permanently removed their planes from the hangar.

"They're taking their airplanes and moving to Southport, moving to Wallace, moving to Topsail airpark in Pender," explained Tremblay. "It's been quite a stage of emotions. It was shock in the beginning because we thought we were a good family here."

Tremblay said he will follow suit with the other pilots.

"We would prefer not to move, but if I have to put my planes in other airports, it's a long commute every day so it would mean that we have to sell our house out of Wilmington and move closer to the other airport," Tremblay said.

Cool has the same sentiments.

"It's handier for me. I would rather stay here, but conditions are a lot friendlier elsewhere," the pilot said.

As it stands, Tremblay plans to be out of the property by the end of April.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved

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