A pilot from Florida fuels up at the airport before heading to North Carolina in advance of Hurricane Matthew in Oct. 2016.
Barnwell Regional Airport
he pages of Barnwell Regional Airport’s guestbook Maurice “Reese” Still are the airport’s two employees. The new terminal was built in 2007 and offers space to rest are filled with comments praising the general aviation airport for its friendly staff, reliable service and or work. A courtesy van is available for patrons to use. The airport is also popular because it is “easy to get in affordable fuel prices. While you won’t find commercial planes at Barnwell and out of,” said Freer, who has worked at the airport for 10 Regional Airport, the general aviation airport sees plenty of years. Barnwell Regional Airport was originally built as a B-52 traffic from corporate jets to personal planes coming from all across the country, including New York, West Virginia and Mitchell Bomber training base during World War II because Pennsylvania. The military also hosts trainings at the airport the “Columbia Air Base simply did not have enough room for from time to time, including one in 2015 that brought in 65 the expected large number of planes and pilots in the training pipeline,” according to www.barnwellregionalairport.com. helicopters from six states. “It’s a good advertisement for Barnwell,” said P.F. Beck, Construction on the $1 million project started in September chairman of the airport commission. Beck, who has been flying 1942 and was completed in March 1943 after crews worked out of the airport for nearly 53 years, said Barnwell is known around the clock. Several other satellite bases were built around the state. all over the nation in the aviation community. After the war, the U.S. Army turned the air base over to Beck said the airport creates a big impact locally because the state of South Carolina. they sell fuel and rent hangars Barnwell County was granted – their two main sources of ownership in the 1950s. revenue. However, the impact Since that time, many people spreads into the community have enjoyed the airport, as some guests spend time in including John McKay. The the community by eating at 2008 graduate of Barnwell local restaurants, shopping at High School learned how to stores and staying at hotels. fly at the airport. He is now in “That benefits the local the U.S. Navy where he flies economy,” said Beck, who has Business jets often stop in at Barnwell Regional Airport. F-18s off of aircraft carriers. been on the commission since The dedicated folks at Barnwell Regional Airport truly have 2002. The annual Corvair College attracts nearly 100 people a love for what they do, which they are happy to discuss with from all over, including California and Canada, to Barnwell visitors. Beck and Freer said their love of flying and planes Regional Airport. The event teaches people how to convert goes back to their childhoods. Learn more about Barnwell Regional Airport at www. engines from a Chevrolet Corvair car for use in an airplane. barnwellregionalairport.com or by calling (803) 259-1090. It is The 2017 event will be held in March. Barnwell Regional Airport plays a part in economic located at 155 Airport Road, Barnwell. development efforts in that they provide a place for CEOs and other officials from corporations to fly in and visit. Some own existing industries while others may be looking at the area for a possible site. “What they see here is the very first impression they have of Barnwell County,” said Beck of why they seek to make the airport a clean, welcoming and accommodating place. That’s why the airport’s staff and commission have worked hard over the years to make improvements to the facility, including a new terminal, refurbished runway, new fence and new runway lights. Approximately $9 million in grants have helped make many projects possible during Beck’s tenure on the commission. They maintain a good working relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Columbia office. “We wouldn’t have any traffic here if we didn’t have a nice terminal,” said airport manager Tim Freer. Freer and lineman The airport offers a relaxing spot for pilots to take a break. 14 • Information Please 2017 • The People-Sentinel
A guide to Barnwell County, SC