BOWLING GREEN - Freezing rain used to mean that pilot Tom Tuel would steer his client's 18-foot jet away from Wood County Regional Airport toward Toledo Express Airport, where a roof could protect the aircraft from winter conditions.
That changed last week, when the Wood County Airport unveiled a new, heated 8,000-square-foot hangar.
Mr. Tuel, who has flown a corporate jet for Bowling Green State University trustee Bob Sebo into the county airport twice monthly for about six years, knows he wasn't the only pilot to steer away from the airport during chilly weather.
Parking under the unpredict-able winter skies means, at worst, risking weather damage to the aircraft and, at best, delaying flights to remove ice, Mr. Tuel said.
"If the plane is out, we're grounded," Mr. Tuel, of Strongsville, said. "The hangar, to us, is going to be a real asset."
The shelters at the Wood County Airport were too small to accommodate many corporate planes like Mr. Sebo's, which are the "kind of aircraft that we're looking to entice," airport manager Larry Garzony said.
The airport currently stores the single-engine and twin-engine planes of about 30 private owners.
The new hangar, funded by a $510,000 state grant though the office of State Rep. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), will offer enough space to accommodate an indoor wash area and an on-site mechanic or aircraft inspector.
It will "enhance the airport and serve the community," Mr. Gardner said.
"The new hangar is going to open some doors for us," Mr. Garzony said.
"Now, we could get small jets, we could accommodate business in the Wood County area we might not otherwise be able to encourage in this area. It's just a boon for what's going to happen in Bowling Green and northern Wood County."
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