University Wants To Build Satellite Campus Where IGX Sits
The fate of Horace
Williams Airport in Chapel Hill, NC rests squarely on the leaders
of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill... and it looks
like they don't want it, says state House Speaker Joe Hackney.
UNC officials want instead to put a 250-acre satellite campus
there, called Carolina North. According to Hackney, state lawmakers
would prefer to keep the UNC medical school's Med Air but it will
likely be moved to another airfield.
"That's up to the university, and I don't think that's their
plan," he said.
He said the airport, which is about 70 years old, will probably
close no matter what a legislative oversight subcommittee
That subcommittee will discuss where to relocate the air
ambulance - some time. Hackney couldn't pinpoint a specific
timeframe as to when that might happen.
The subcommittee did recommend the next committee study "whether
the ... airport is more valuable continuing to operate as an
airport or being developed as part of Carolina North."
UNC-CH plans to build a hangar at Raleigh-Durham International
Airport. Area Health Education Centers' doctors oppose the plan,
saying the commute would be too much and might cause them to drop
out of the Air Med program.
Doctors, pilots and university officials were invited to speak
to the subcommittee in June about the issue.
Although several town officials, the chamber of commerce and
university trustees all say the airport should be closed, there are
still a few that say otherwise.
Hackney's law partner Bob Epting is one of about two dozen
pilots who keep a plane at IGX.
"There's a whole community of aviation enthusiasts who are
interested in the issue, but I think the legislature's interested
mostly from the point of view of AHEC," Hackney said. "[Epting]
does use [the airport]. I have no connection one way or the other,
but he's already made other arrangements in the event of the
Hackney believes the motives behind legislators' discussing the
airport is to protect AHEC, not to serve the interests of private
pilots. This is unfortunate, since its private pilots who account
for about 75 percent of flights at the airport, according to
university and Federal Aviation Administration data.