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Genesee County Airport

October 31, 2022 - 8:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news, batavia.

An airplane with a flat tire is stuck on the runway at the Genesee County Airport.

Town of Batavia Fire dispatched.

UPDATE 8:27 p.m.: The Town of Batavia chief is clearing the scene at the airport. "They're all set here," he reports.

June 10, 2022 - 11:36am


Press release:

Genesee County officials and business leaders are joining forces to once again fill the Batavia skies with the one-of-a-kind excitement generated by a professional air show.

The “Wings Over Batavia” festival -- a family-oriented event that is looking to feature awe-inspiring aerobatic jet teams such as the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds or Snowbirds and patriotic displays of F16 and F22 fighter jets -- tentatively has been scheduled for Sept. 15-17, 2023, at the Genesee County Airport on Saile Drive.

“We are in the process of putting committees together to handle the various aspects of conducting a show of this magnitude,” said County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens, who also oversees operations at the airport. “We haven’t had an air show since 1998, and it’s long overdue.”

Hens has presided over two meetings attended by county emergency services department staff members as well as municipal and agency representatives. Plans are to offer “a successful and safe event,” he said, adding that the group has enlisted the services of Doreen Hillard of Fort Worth, Texas, who has years of experience in the air show industry throughout the United States.

Batavia entrepreneur Peter Zeliff has been selected to serve as the festival’s general chair, with assistance from Hillard.

At Wednesday’s meeting at the county Fire Training Center on State Street Road, Zeliff said the committee is pursuing an agreement with Dennis Dunbar of Berlin, Wis., director of Air Show Operations for EAA AirVenture and president of Dunbar Airshows, to be the show’s promoter.

“With Doreen and Dennis on board, we know that our show will be first-rate,” Zeliff said. “And with the community’s support, we believe this is something that can take place on an annual basis.”

Zeliff said he already has been in contact with leading aviation industry operations and Genesee County business owners regarding sponsorship of the show.

“It is going to take a lot of financial and volunteer support to make this happen, and we’re counting on the people of the GLOW region to come through,” Zeliff added.

Photo: file photo of Whiskey 7 by Howard Owens

The air festival is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the renewal of the Wing Ding event on Sept. 16 in the City of Batavia.

Residents interested in volunteering in the planning and on-site operations of the air show are asked to contact Hens at [email protected].
March 18, 2022 - 11:27am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Genesee County Airport.


A return of an air show to the Genesee County Airport?

In the eyes of Genesee County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens, the stars are aligned for the county to show off its renovated airport by hosting an air show – maybe as soon as the summer of 2023.

Hens, who is responsible for overseeing operations at the East Saile Drive facility, made the suggestion at Wednesday’s county legislature’s Public Service Committee meeting.

“There is interest in an air show,” he said, adding that the airport has been “completely redone,” including installation of water and sewer systems to accommodate such an event.  “It would be a showcase for the community.”

The last air show in Genesee County took place in 1998, Hens said, and was well-attended. Air shows in other communities, such as Geneseo, Niagara Falls and Rochester, continue to be successful.

Hens said the event can be a moneymaker for the county – namely through fuel sales and sales tax revenue from purchases at the show. He said he would be able to line up a promoter and performers as soon as the legislature grants its approval.

In other news involving the airport, the committee forwarded the following resolutions to the legislature meeting next week:

  • Providing advance funding for a project to purchase snow removal equipment that is eligible for a $353,000 grant from the Aviation Capital Grant Program as part of the state’s AIR ’99 Program.

The county would receive reimbursement for that amount, but would be responsible for $39,250 of the expense, which would be paid out of the 1 percent sales tax fund.

Hens said he had been seeking funding for this venture from other sources and was “surprised” to learn that the county had received the grant. He said snow blowing equipment will be purchased since it’s more efficient using plows to clear the runways.

  • Contracting with C&S Engineers Inc. of Syracuse for as-needed airport engineering, construction management and grant administration services from April 1, 2022 through March 31, 2027. Hens said the company is “highly rated” and has worked with the county for three decades.
December 17, 2021 - 10:21am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Genesee County Airport.

The Genesee County Airport will receive $159,000 in federal funding through the recently-enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Thursday.

The latest round of funding will distribute $136,977,897 to 59 airports across New York State. Money can be used for improvements related to runways, taxiways, safety and sustainability projects, as well as terminal, airport-transit connections and roadway projects.

County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens, who oversees operations at the airport on Saile Drive, said he believes this award is another in a series "of standard funding that we normally get that doesn't have any fanfare attached to it."

Hens said he is waiting for more details on a similar funding announcement in the fall and has no specific information about yesterday's news.


November 13, 2021 - 12:20pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee County Airport, tim hens, FAA, genesee county.


When it comes to the Genesee County Airport, Tim Hens sees himself as a public servant with a private sector mentality.

And that philosophy has worked quite well over the past 20 years, according to the county highway superintendent, as the airport has been upgraded and modernized without a single dollar coming from county property tax revenue.

Hens gave The Batavian a tour of the sprawling facility along East Saile Drive in the Town of Batavia last week, pointing out the various buildings and providing insight into the funding of the operation that currently houses 68 aircraft, including single-engine planes, helicopters and “decent sized corporate jets.”

The county’s plan back in 2001 was to privatize the airport, Hens recalled.

“We were going to put the management of the airport out to bid to see if we can get a company to do it,” he said. “And our bids were out on the street, literally, as 911 happened. And if you remember back to 911, the whole airline industry and aviation industry just crumbled and shut down. It was not a good time to have a bid package out for airport management.”

Hens, who had recently been hired (he’s also the county engineer), said the county did not receive any responses to their request for proposal.

“So, by default, the county stepped in,” he said. “And I proposed that we hire some county employees and manage it. And luckily, it has worked out very, very well. We actually ended up sticking with that process for the last 20 years.”

As a result, Hens is able to use his business management skills to market the facility, assist in the bookkeeping, filing sales tax and supervising maintenance and upkeep.

“It’s like owning your own little business,” he said. “We've got employees to manage, we're selling fuel, we have to look at pricing, we’ve got to look at our competitors. It’s so different than my highway job where it's just fix what we got and plow the snow – and we do plow snow out here, too.”

Ownership of the airport enables the county to control its own destiny, Hens said.

“We have found that we could take in all the revenue, as opposed to paying it out to a management company or a private business to run the airport,” he said. “We were getting the full benefit of the revenue and could control our expenses. Plus, things move much faster – such as expanding the runway and other business decisions.”

The staff at the airport (other than Jeff and Carol Boshart of Boshart Enterprises; see accompanying story) consists of two full-time employees – manager Jason Long and airport attendant Ron Stringham – and a couple of part-timers who fill in during holidays and weekends.

The airport features a two-story main terminal that, along with the main hangar, was built in 2015 as part of a $4.9 million project, Hens said. The county received a grant for $300,000 and the remainder was bonded over 20 years.

The main terminal features a foyer, training rooms, pilot lounge, P&L Air flight school, break rooms and several offices. The main hangar, which is used by Boshart Enterprises, measures 100 by 120 feet with a 30-foot high ceiling.

Located to the west are six corporate hangars – three of which are owned by Genesee County and three that are privately owned – and five T-hangars that were built in 1997, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2020. Those contain 46 separate smaller hangars, with one of them rented by Mercy Flight for its helicopters.

Hens said the facility is part of the county’s transportation and infrastructure operation, and is utilized by numerous local companies, including Milton CAT, Tompkins Financial, National Grid, Western New York Energy in Medina, Six Flags Darien Lake, HP Hood and Lamb Farms.

“It gets way more use than people think,” said Hens, an Air Force veteran who attended the Air Force Academy in Colorado – and has flown jets. “The best thing about it is that zero property taxes are put toward the airport.

“People say they are funding the hobbies of the rich. That’s not true. It’s a self-sustaining, self-paid-for operation. Since 2001, Genesee County has received $32 million in federal and state aid for the airport.”

He said that 95 percent of the funding is covered in most cases.

“The money is going to go somewhere, it might as well come here,” he said, adding that funding for the facility is based entirely on airline user fees through an airport trust fund.

“Our fuel sales and rental fees pay for the airport operation. We are showing an annual surplus of $80,000 to $100,000, and that money goes back exclusively for airport expenses and improvements.”

Hens said the county is planning to develop more of the land at the west end. In September, it applied for a $13 million grant to build a large hangar at the corner of State Street Road. It would be 100 percent funded by New York State through the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization initiative.

“It’s a ‘If we build it they will come sort of thing.’ We need the hangar for larger jets of corporate site selectors who are representing businesses looking to locate here.”

Genesee County’s ability to run its own airport and turn a profit hasn’t gone unnoticed by officials of other counties, Hens said.

“I think, to this day, we are one of the few airports in upstate New York that make money. We get a lot of calls and I've done presentations as far away as Lake George as to what are you doing at your airport? How come you are successful? So, I think you're seeing more and more municipalities get involved in their airport operations.”

Although the county owns the airport, there is an opportunity for an entrepreneur to come in at the main terminal.

“We’ve got a small space carved out on the second floor for a café and sandwich shop with a seating area,” Hens said. “We’re looking for someone to run it.”

Photo at top: The main terminal at the Genesee County Airport on East Saile Drive. Photos by Mike Pettinella.


The main terminal lobby and County Line Service office.


Based aircraft at the Genesee County Airport, including a plane from the Civil Air Patrol.


T-Hangars. Forty-six individual units are rented at the airport.


The main terminal and main hangar were built in 2015.


View from second floor of the main terminal, looking northeast at fuel tanks and runway.

November 13, 2021 - 12:19pm


Little did Jeff Boshart know that his offer to help “keep the doors open” at the Genesee County Airport in 1982 would turn into a successful career in avionics as owner of Boshart Enterprises & Aircraft Services at the East Saile Drive facility.

Boshart, a Corfu resident who was living in Lancaster at the time, said he began employment at the airport under the supervision of Andy Cordes.

“About six months after I got here, he (Cordes) went out of business,” said Boshart, who, with his wife, Carol, operates the airplane repair/enhancement venture out of the main terminal and hangar. “If you remember in 1982 there weren’t many jobs and interest rates were like crazy.”

He said he approached Joseph Amedick, the Genesee County highway superintendent who was in charge of overseeing airport operations, thinking that “I can keep the doors open and help these guys out down here.”

“At the time, we had International Chimney, Graham (Manufacturing) and Genesee Le Roy Stone (planes) still in the hangar after Andy cleared out,” he recalled. “And I don’t have a place to go, either.”

Boshart said that Amedick spoke with then County Manager Charles Meyer, and came back with a proposal: “He says, ‘Give me an insurance policy for $25,000 and don’t worry about the rent; just keep the doors open.'"

So, that’s what he did.

“I would come in here like late at night, when International Chimney got done with whatever they were doing, and I’d clean the airplanes, drop the oil or whatever, and I would go back home,” Boshart said. “That was how we started. I had no intention of ever being a businessman.”

Nearly 40 years later, the company continues to thrive, said Tim Hens, Genesee County’s current highway superintendent who also is in charge of the airport.

“We host Jeff and Carol here at the airport as what is known in the aviation world as a limited fixed base operator,” Hens said. “They rent space from the county – and what they do, they do very well.

“They repair planes, they put avionics packages in the plane, do maintenance and stuff and they draw people in from all over the Northeast. They do a heck of a business and are really our key tenant out here.”

Boshart said the avionics industry – which includes all components of the aircraft’s communication system -- is changing at a rapid pace.

“We do a lot of the radio upgrades,” he said. “Right now, in the aviation career, that part of it is moving so fast. It’s like the year 2000 when you were trying to buy a computer. You didn't know whether to buy one on that day or wait three days because there was going to be a better computer out. That's where we are with avionics.”

He went on to say that many of the smaller planes and jets that use the Genesee County Airport have more equipment than commercial airliners.

“It's phenomenal. You almost don't need a pilot. As a matter of fact, we have what they call Autoland. Everything goes to heck, you push a button up top – a big red button -- and the airplane takes you to the airport and it lands.”

The county airport has made giant strides since the early days when it was founded by Gil Chapell in the early 1940’s. The Chapell family lived in a house on the grounds.

Boshart said he met Chapell in the mid-1960s when his family moved into the area from Ohio.

“My dad started, with a number of other people, the Akron airport,” he said. “And they had they had a little tailwheel aircraft that dad used to fly around. And so back in 1965, when we moved up here, we used to fly over here because my aunt lived just over the hill on State Street. And I got to meet Gil and his wife when I was a little kid -- they had the house down here.”

He remembers the Chapell’s farmhouse and a couple of hangars and a gas pump, and a small restaurant.

“That’s my first recollection of the place; it was it was a grass strip. Then, Gilbert built the old hangar that they tore down five or six years ago.”

The facility was known as Batavia Airport at that time until the county assumed ownership in 1964.

Over the years, it has been expanded from 200 to 264 acres. In 2005, the runway was extended from 4,400 feet to 5,500 feet to accommodate business jets.

The Federal Aviation Administration estimates there are 115,000 takeoffs and landings annually.

A pilot himself, Boshart said he used to have his own plane, but not anymore.

“I’m like Tim. I have a fishing boat,” he said.

Photo at top: Carol and Jeff Boshart with Tim Hens, right, at the Genesee County Airport's main hangar.


Some of the aircraft being worked on by Boshart Enterprises' technicians.


Submitted photo: A scene from days gone by of the old terminal and hangar at the airport.


Submitted photo: This photo from the 1950s hangs on the wall in the office of the main terminal. From left, woman not identified,Tim Willard, Harold Hale, Gil and Gloria Chapell.

October 7, 2021 - 9:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mercy Flight, Genesee County Airport, news.


There were no injuries reported after a Mercy Flight helicopter a hard landing in heavy fog at the Genesee County Airport on Wednesday night.

The Bell 429 was returning from Strong Memorial Hospital, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The helicopter sustained damage to the underside of the fuselage after it landed on the north side of the airport, just north of the flightline, between State Street Road and Bank Street Road.

The crew members were transported to an area hospital for evaluation as a precaution.

The FAA  will investigate the incident along with Sgt. Andrew Hale, Deputy Kyle Krzemien and Deputy Morgan Ewert.

Town of Batavia Fire and Mercy EMS responded to the scene.

Information and photos via Alecia Kaus/Video  News Service.




September 16, 2021 - 4:30pm


The Genesee County Legislature's Public Service Committee learned a lot about the history – and future – of the South Lyon Street bridge on Wednesday afternoon during a departmental review by Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

Because of a recent inspection by the New York State Department of Transportation that revealed two “red flags,” the one-lane truss bridge (photo at top) was closed to traffic at the end of August. And it will stay that way for about a year, said Hens at the PSC meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

“That was not a surprise to us; we’ve seen that one coming,” Hens said. “It has been like a slow motion train wreck. We had our fingers crossed that we could make it through one more season.”

Hens said a new two-lane truss bridge is on the schedule to be replaced next spring and will take several months to rebuild. It’s unfortunate as motorists hoping to get from West Main Street to South Main Street (or vice versa) will have to use either the Oak Street roundabout or the River Street bridge.

“The (recent) inspection -- it couldn’t pass the (minimum) load limit of three tons, which is about the size of an average car,” Hens said.

The bridge, which Hens said accommodated about 2,500 cars per day on average, was in bad shape with secondary girders so “rusted out that you could poke a string through them.”

Built in 1982, it did, however, last much longer than the five to 10 years that were anticipated.

Hens said the bridge was selected for federal aid in 2011 but, two years later, that funding was withdrawn. In 2014, the DOT did not accept the application to replace it. Three years later, it was resubmitted – again unsuccessfully.

In 2020, the county learned that it would be scheduled for replacement in 2023, but now, in light of the red flags, it was been moved up to 2022.

Hens said the new bridge will be a truss style, as well, wider for two lanes and including a sidewalk on the west side. It also will be turned slightly to the west for easier access from South Main Street.

Other topics in Hens’ report included funding, roads, equipment, tree removal, airport, parks, facilities, water and grants.

He reported the highway department applied for 24 bridges and culverts under the 2021 BRIDGE-NY program, using a similar strategy as in 2018 by having the county’s towns apply for structures under Genesee’s ownership and maintenance jurisdiction. This number was less than the 34 applied for 2018 because the state DOT advised the county “not to flood the application pool.”

County crews replaced bridges on Sandpit Road in Alexander, South Main Street Road in Batavia, Wortendyke Road in Batavia, Macomber Road in Batavia and Alabama, and Browns Mill Road in Bethany repaired a bridge on Francis Road in Bethany.

Currently, the bridge on Colby Road in Darien is closed for repairs.

“Colby Road was a little different,” he said, calling it the biggest surprise he has seen in his career as far as bridge inspections are concerned.

After it was red flagged in 2020 for problems at the north end of the span – closest to Route 33 -- major repairs were made. Eight months later, another inspection revealed similar issues on the south end.

“We literally went from no flags, no load restrictions to, like holy cow, we’ve got to close the bridge tomorrow because it is bad,” Hens said. “It literally rated at negative two tons; supposedly it couldn’t support anything and we had cars drive over it for two months (before closing it per DOT).”

Repairs are being made now on the north end of the bridge, said Hens, adding that it should reopen to traffic in a few weeks.

Several other bridges were or are on the federal aid replacement schedule, including Upton Road in Batavia which reopened yesterday.

Other highlights of Hens’ report are as follows:

More Highway Funding Than Expected

“Between the governor and the assembly, we got an even bigger boost in our annual CHIPS (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program) and PAVE-NY funds,” Hens said. “At the end of the budget season, we were already probably at 160 percent of our normal funding. We got a ton of money going into the season.”

With that added funding – and despite a rainy July – the county is on pace to have all heavy roadwork done by Columbus Day, “which even in a normal year we’d be happy to be done that early,” he said.

Hens reported that more than 100 miles of the county’s 260 miles of roadway have been widened to 30 feet over the past several years and that will continue even if asphalt prices continue to climb (costs are up by about 15 percent over 2020).

Emerald Ash Borer is Creating Havoc

The emerald ash borer is a green buprestid or jewel beetle native to north-eastern Asia that feeds on ash species. Also known as EAB, it is causing severe problems in Genesee County, Hens said.

Thousands of dead ash trees throughout the county need to be removed as they are infringing upon roads and exposing the county to liability.

Hens said highway crews typically remove 160 or more trees from the right-of-way each year from November through April, but for 2022, he is asking for a year-round tree removal crew with two more motor equipment operators and two more seasonal flag persons.

County to Save on Snow and Ice Removal

Hens said recent mild winters will result in about a $175,000 savings to the county as the 2021 rate paid to the towns for snow plowing will be $5,825 per mile – down from $6,515 per mile in 2020. Salt prices remain stable at $51.29 per ton.

As far as fuel prices are concerned, diesel is up 13 percent from last year and unleaded is up 21 percent from 2020.

Airport Fuel Sales Rebound

Hens said that fuel sales at the Genesee County Airport are back on pace with 2019 figures, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic did not impact fuel sales as much as expected. Furthermore, small plane traffic has increased, keeping the waiting list for hangar space at more than 20.

A new eight-bay hangar is available for rent, he said, and reconstruction of the apron (funded by a Federal Aviation Agency grant) is anticipated for next year.

The county is seeking a grant from Upstate Aviation Economic Development and Revitalization to fund a $13 million project to build a large corporate hangar, equipment storage facility, apron and parking at the west end of Saile Drive.

“If we get that grant, just submitted today, there would be an equipment storage bay attached to that building that would be 100 percent funded,” he advised.

Genesee Justice Building Needs Much Work

The stonework at the Genesee Justice building at 14 West Main St. (in front of the county jail) needs significant restoration and safety work, Hens said, estimating the cost could reach $1 million.

The county has been unsuccessful in obtain an historic grant, but will reapply this fall, he said.

Hens also said the county is studying the best way to renovate Holland Land Office.

Water Project Entering Phase 3

With Phase 2 just about finished, the county is in the planning stage of Phase 3, which could cost up to $85 million.

He said the City of Batavia Water Treatment Plant is in need of significant infrastructure, possibly costing around $2.6 million, to keep it operational in the short term. Phase 3 eventually calls for the city to shut down the plant when it becomes a retail customer of the Monroe County Water Authority.

The county also is looking into getting water from Niagara County to help support the Western New York Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing site in the Town of Alabama.

County Considers Huge Grants

Hens said the county could be in line for a $10 million federal grant for the water project if the reconciliation bill makes it through Congress.

Additionally, he called the Economic Development Administration Build Back Better Regional Challenge “a giant opportunity, potentially up to $100 million in funding for a regional project.”

“We’ve had several phone calls with the EDA regional director … and will try to schedule another Zoom call Friday to further discuss whether it is worth putting our eggs into this basket,” he said. “It’s a lot of steps (to complete the grant), but a great opportunity for us, if it’s the right fit.”

July 23, 2021 - 9:06am

As a result of three committee meetings this week, Genesee County legislators have much to vote upon when they meet as a full board next Wednesday.

Resolutions passed at Monday’s Human Services and Public Service meetings and Wednesday’s Ways & Means meeting that were not previously reported upon by The Batavian include the following:

  • $1.4 million for COVID-19 testing in schools

The New York State Department of Health has awarded the Genesee County Health Department funding in the amount of $1,415,984 for COVID-19 school testing activities and to purchase personal protective equipment for all public and private school pupils from Universal Pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Public Health Director Paul Pettit said the money can also be used for testing supplies and telehealth services for both students and faculty. Distribution of funds will be based on the population at each school, he added. The grant does not cover vaccination.

  • ARP funds to help spruce up OFA

This resolution calls for using $64,416 of more than $233,000 awarded through the American Rescue Plan for a capital project at the Genesee County Office for the Aging on Bank Street.

The project consists of reconfiguring and adding office space, carpeting and painting, replacing the dishwasher and garbage disposal, and adding other furnishings, equipment and subscriptions to enhance the client experience, OFA Director Diana Fox said.

The Human Services Committee also approved using some of the ARP money to fund two new positions at the OFA – a part-time program assistant and full-time financial clerk typist, both through Dec. 31, 2024 – and expand a part-time program assistant position from 15 hours biweekly to 19.5 hours biweekly, also through Dec. 31, 2024.

Two part-time vacant nutrition program meal site assistant positions were eliminated.

  • Radio system contract with L3 Harris is extended

The Public Service Committee recommended approval of an extension of the public safety radio system maintenance services contract with L3 Harris Technologies Inc., through Dec. 31, 2026, at a cost of $188,567 per year.

The agreement was set to expire on Dec. 31 of this year, but since the county will be adding a new tower site on Molasses Hill Road in Alexander, it was determined to extend it at this time.

Another resolution to accept $205,530 in grant funding from the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Interoperable and Emergency Communication was approved. The money will be used to offset a portion of the 2021 Communications budget, according to Emergency Communication Director Steve Sharpe.

  • SROs to continue at Byron-Bergen, Pavilion

School Resource Officers will remain at Byron-Bergen and Pavilion central school districts for at least another year, with B-B opting for a September through August 2022 schedule at a cost of $102,813.81 and Pavilion going with a July through June 2022 schedule at a cost of $119,021.07.

Sheriff William Sheron said the difference in cost is due to one SRO having a single health insurance plan instead of a family plan. The cost to the schools include the hourly rate for a deputy sheriff, fringe benefits and insurances.

Public Service also approved a resolution to expend $10,757 from the K9 Donations Reserve Account to help in the recovery of K9 Rayzor, who recently suffered a leg injury and is need of physical therapy and medications before returning to service.

K9 Frankie also has had physical issues, but currently is fully functional, said Sheron, who thanked the public for donations to the fund, which has been depleted.

  • More funding for Justice for Children Advocacy Center

A grant from the state Office of Children and Family Services’ to fund the Justice for Children Advocacy Center has been renewed, with this year’s amount of $190,143 representing a $2,000 increase from last year.

Funds from this grant will enable the program to provide services for children and families affected by abuse in the Batavia, Warsaw and Albion areas, JCAC Coordinator Theresa Roth said.

  • ARPA funds to aid Genesee County Airport

Thirty-two thousand dollars in funding from the American Recovery Plan Act to offset expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be coming to the Genesee County Airport.

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said the money will be used to help pay down the debt service on the terminal and main hangar. Hens noted that the county is expected to receive about $100,000 in this type of funding by the end of the year, and all will be used in the same manner.

April 9, 2021 - 1:33pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in news, notify, Genesee County Airport, Cattaraugus County, crash.

A pilot killed in a small plane crash Wednesday at Great Valley Airport in Cattaraugus County was well known at the Genesee County Airport.

William Mandelare, of Brockport, a former flight instructor at Genesee County Airport, died in the crash, which seriously injured Raymond Groetsch, also of Brockport. Groetsch, who also frequently flew in and out of Genesee County Airport, is reported in critical condition. 

Mandelare, 80, was an experienced pilot who taught Batavia flight instructor Pete Lockner and gave him his commercial license in 1982, Lockner said this morning. 

Jeff and Carol Boshart, who own the aircraft maintenance shop at Genesee County Airport, also knew Mandelare well.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of such an enthusiastic member of the aviation community,” Carol said. “Bill used to often hang out at the airport and talked to all the pilots here. He taught tons of people to fly, many of them out of Genesee County.”

Lockner is also saddened by the news. He said Mandelare retired in 1982 as a mechanical drawing teacher in the Greece School District. He came to Genesee County Airport to be a flight instructor for Dick Drilling, who ran the airport at the time.

Initially, authorities were uncertain as to who was flying the plane, but it is now reported that Groetsch told authorities he was the pilot.

Mandelare, who was a short man, was known as “Little Bill” to his friends. Lockner speculates that his diminutiveness could have contributed to the crash which killed him; he may not have been able, as copilot, to reach over and commandeer the plane once trouble was apparent.

Lockner speculated as to what could have happened.

He said Mandelare always used a little seat when flying so he could reach the pedals, and that when in a plane, he always insisted on riding right seat. If he wasn’t flying the plane and didn’t have his seat, he it is unlikely he would have been unable to assist the pilot in an emergency, Lockner guessed.

Lockner described the Cessna 177 Cardinal as a tricky plane to fly. That model has a stabilator in the horizontal tail, rather than an elevator. That means when landing, the plane as to be put in a nose-up position to adjust the pitch.

If the pilot forgot to readjust the pitch when taking off, the plane could have been in too sharp a nose-up position, causing it to stall. When a plane stalls, the left wing always drops and hits the ground first, and then cartwheels, which is what it appears happened in Mandelare’s case. 

Lockner himself has been flying since 1981 and has been giving flight instruction since 1986, so is familiar with the configuration of many aircraft.

March 15, 2021 - 5:27pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that the recently signed American Rescue Plan includes $480,249,023 that will guide Upstate New York’s pandemic-battered airports and transit systems to lift off. Specifically, Upstate airports will receive $84,410,140, and Upstate transit systems will receive $395,838,883 of the total amount.

Genesee County Airport will get $32,000.

Schumer said that as the COVID crisis extends beyond what was initially estimated, impacting the air travel industry and public transportation systems for months on end, the federal funding allocated for them in the American Rescue Plan will help transportation systems keep their wheels turning while New York recovers from the pandemic and returns to "normal."

“Air travel and public transportation are among the most severely impacted industries amid the pandemic, and both are vital to the connectivity and success of the Upstate economy,” Senator Schumer said. “Airports and transit systems serve important functions in their communities, especially in more rural areas, connecting communities and residents and allowing for economic opportunities to cruise in.

"As Majority Leader, I was proud to make transportation funding a priority and the American Rescue Plan will deliver this much needed aid to keep Upstate residents connected. Help is on the way that will put Upstate New York’s transportation on the road to recovery.”

Schumer explained that the funding announced today will be allocated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and includes $12.5 million for the New York State DOT Rural 5311 program. This program aims to support public transportation in areas with populations of less than 50,000 people and funds may be used for capital and operating assistance grants to local public bodies, tribes, and operators of intercity bus services in rural areas.

This funding is in addition to the $143,980,632 Schumer secured for upstate airports and $395,239,378 for Upstate transit in the past relief bills. In total, Schumer has now secured more than $624,229,655 for Upstate airports and $624,472,505 for transit in the past year.

July 1, 2020 - 12:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in Charles Schumer, Genesee County Airport, FAA, COVID-19, news.

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $691,000 in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funds to Greater Rochester International Airport, Perry-Warsaw Airport, and Genesee County Airport.

The senators said that the funding will be used for a variety of airport safety and quality improvement projects, including extending taxiways, constructing snow removal equipment, and removing non-hazard obstructions

“Air travel in and out of the greater Rochester region is vital to the connectivity and success of the regional economy, which is why, as the region reopens after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we provide the funding necessary to keep the airports safe and efficient,” Senator Schumer said. “I’m proud to deliver this funding and will continue to fight to make sure Rochester has the help it needs to revive and thrive.”

“As communities in New York prepare to reopen, this critical funding will help local airports in the greater Rochester region provide high-quality and safe travel experiences,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This funding is key to ensuring the continued economic stability and success of this region. I will continue fighting for the resources our airports across New York need to safely reopen, rebuild, and transition into a post-coronavirus era.”

Specifically, Greater Rochester International Airport will receive $100,000, Perry-Warsaw Airport will receive $465,000, and Genesee County Airport will receive $126,000. A portion of the funding to each airport comes from FAA CARES Act grants, which Schumer had a direct hand in negotiating.

June 5, 2019 - 4:29pm

Above, three generations of the Marchese family, of Batavia, helping at last year'sfly-in breakfast. Seated is Fran Marchese, who has been a Batavia Rotarian for more than 40 years and is a past president. At right is his son, Paul Marchese, who has been a member of the Batavia Rotary Club since the 1980s. Center is Paul's son, Joe, a college student who volunteers at the breakfast annually.

Submitted photo and press release:

The popular Batavia Rotary Club Fly-in Breakfast returns to the Genesee County Airport on Father's Day, June 16. Serving is from 7 a.m. until noon.

Rotarians will prepare the all-you-can-eat extensive breakfast of eggs, pancakes, sausage, orange juice, coffee, tea and milk. A specialty is the "Rotary Scramble" combination of eggs, sausage, peppers, onions and cheese.

Tickets are $8 per adult and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Children under 5 are free.

"We have expanded the number of our serving lines so waiting has been greatly reduced," said Ed Leising, longtime chairman of the event.

Also, there is plenty of onsite handicapped parking close to the hangar that is the breakfast site.

The Fly-in Breakfast is one of the Batavia Rotary Club's main fundraisers each year to support the many community service projects conducted by the club.

"Every penny our Batavia Rotary Club raises from fundraising is donated toward local, regional and international projects," Leising said. "Money we raise in fundraisers such as the Fly-in Breakfast is never used for the operation of our Rotary Club itself."

Leising cited several programs that benefit from the club's fundraising efforts, including $18,000 in college scholarships awarded annually to students from Batavia, Notre Dame and Genesee Educational Partnership and $250,000 pledged to the Healthy Community Center to be constructed as a joint venture of the YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center.

Recent short-term projects have included remodeling of the Domestic Violence Safe House operated by the YWCA and improvements to Crossroads House security.

Batavia Rotary Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary of providing for the community under its motto of "Service Above Self."

Tickets for the Fly-in Breakfast are available in advance from any Rotary member and also at the door.

History of the 100-year-old Batavia Rotary Club's Annual Fly-in Breakfast

By Gregg McAllister

Genesee County Chamber of Commerce had a great idea in the late 1990s as they launched the Wingding Weekend as an end-of-summer festival that included an air show.

Anne Garlock, who was on the Chamber's planning committee, suggested to fellow Rotarian Ed Leising that the Club should organize a fly-in breakfast at the county airport for Sunday morning during the weekend.

Ed assembled a team of workers who obtained food donations, equipment to cook a hearty pancake and eggs breakfast in an airport hangar, and suddenly the idea took flight.

Rotarian Carol Boshart and her husband, Jeff, of Boshart Enterprises and Aircraft Services, and Jay Gsell, county manager and also a Rotarian, provided support and clearance to use the hangar for cooking and seating of guests.

That first year in 1998, the club served nearly 900 breakfasts.

Over the next few years, the tradition continued, and Rotarians developed a relationship with the local Flying Farmers club, which conducted a fundraising breakfast at the airport each Father's Day in June.

Eventually, the Flying Farmers decided they were not going to continue their event, and offered the Father's Day date to Rotary.

The first year of the change to June for the breakfast, the hungry crowd of breakfast lovers climbed by 200.

Now Rotarians average 1,350 to 1,400 breakfasts served annually, with income of $11,000 to $12,000 for community service projects.

Many area residents have made the trip for breakfast at the airport part of a Father's Day ritual as parents, children and grandchildren meet for a huge meal. Pilots fly in from airports throughout Western New York, and guests enjoy seeing the various planes.

Even with so many years of experience, the event requires six months of planning and preparation. Basically all of the food is donated from generous sponsors like Tops, United Memorial Medical Center, Kreher's egg farm and Suburban Propane.

A team of Rotarians sets up tables, chairs and massive grills in the hangar the night before.

The first shift of workers starts cracking eggs by 6 am in order to be ready for the first surge of customers at 7. Serving continues until noon. A cleanup crew comes behind, and the hangar is restored to airplanes by 4 p.m.

Working on the event is a family tradition for a number of Rotarians. One young adult who now lives in Pittsburgh comes back each year to help because that's what she did when in middle and high school.

"It's a great way to spend time with my Dad the Rotarian on Father's Day," she said.

February 20, 2019 - 4:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office today announced $23.6 million in funding for 31 airports across the state, including $656,000 for a new aircraft hangar at the Genesee County Airport.

Other airports in the region to receive funding: 

  • $559,000 to construct a deicing containment System and emergency equipment at the Penn Yan-Yates County Airport;
  • $499,000 to deploy a new start-of-the-art garage parking guidance system at the Greater Rochester International Airport;
  • $369,000 to renovate an aircraft hangar at the Dansville Municipal Airport in Livingston County;
  • $336,000 for the installation of a new Jet-A fuel tank and associated equipment at the Williamson-Sodus Airport in Wayne County;
  • $204,000 to construct an aircraft fuel storage and dispensing system at the Pine Hill Airport in Orleans County;

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $2.6 million in infrastructure funding has been awarded to support safety enhancements, modernization of facilities, operational improvements and local business development at six airports in the Finger Lakes Region.

The funding is part of a $23.6 million investment in 31 airports statewide. These projects are funded through the Governor's State Aviation Capital Grant Program initiative and complement the Governor's Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, which provided $200 million to modernize airports across Upstate. 

"New York's airports represent the front door to our local communities and are critical to facilitating tourism and business development," Governor Cuomo said. "A world-class airport is crucial to regional economic growth, and by investing in the modernization of our local airports we are creating vibrant communities where people want to live, work and play."

"We're investing in airports across the state to modernize facilities and enhance the overall travel experience," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This infrastructure funding will continue to make operational and safety improvements, and encourage local business development. These projects are upgrading airports, increasing tourism, and growing the economy of the entire State of New York."

Projects being awarded include the construction of new passenger amenities such as new wayfinding technologies, construction of new airplane hangars and fuel facilities, enhancements to safety and security, and expansion of vehicular parking facilities. These activities will help make the communities surrounding these airports more economically competitive with facilities in neighboring states.

Infrastructure investments help make New York State attractive to new businesses and facilitate development and job growth. Through this initiative, Upstate airports in New York will continue to improve their facilities to better serve the public, while retaining and creating well-paying aeronautical jobs. The State Department of Transportation will immediately begin working with airport project sponsors to expedite the delivery of these improvements.

November 15, 2018 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.


Josh Fullmer sent in this picture he took yesterday afternoon of a Chinook helicopter landing at the Genesee County Airport.

September 13, 2018 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

A Navajo twin-engine airplane successfully set down at the Gensee County Airport this afternoon after its landing gear would not deploy, according to County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

There were no injuries.

Hens said the plane landed on its belly.

The plane has been removed from the runway.

August 23, 2018 - 1:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $1,860,921 in federal funding for the Genesee County Airport in Batavia.

The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Specifically, the Genesee County Airport will use the funding to reconstruct its taxiways and taxiway lighting.

“Keeping our airports in top-notch shape is crucial to safe travel for area residents and in attracting business and tourism to Batavia,” Senator Schumer said. “These federal funds will allow the Genesee County Airport to reconstruct part of its existing taxiway and upgrade its existing lighting system, which will improve service for the passengers and pilots who fly in and out of the area every day.”

“This federal investment will give the Genesee County Airport the resources it needs to reconstruct their taxiway and improve taxiway lighting, which will increase safety for travelers flying to and from Genesee County,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Investments like this are critical to local economic development around our state, and I will continue to fight for the resources that our airports across New York need to be safe, modern and efficient.”

This funding is awarded through the Airport Improvement Program and is administered by the FAA. AIP provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Funds obligated for AIP are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources.

January 29, 2018 - 9:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, snowy owls, outdoors, animals, news, notify.


Area wildlife photographers were shocked and saddened Friday to find a dead snowy owl Friday afternoon atop a utility pole near the Genesee County Airport.

The DEC confirmed today that it was notified of a dead snowy owl that had been banded at that location.

National Grid, after being contacted by the DEC on Friday, assisted in recovering the animal from atop the utility pole (see video below).

Local photographer Jim Burns (who freelances for The Batavian) is a wildlife photographer and a frequent visitor to the airport, which attracts both numerous snowy owls and photographers. He said such deaths as this animal's are not uncommon. The owls fall victim to electrocution (the possible cause in this case), being hit by cars and poisoning. 

Poisoning is perhaps the most preventable cause of death of snowy owls. The owls feast on rodents and if the rodents were poisoned before becoming an owl's meal, the owl is poisoned as well.

"That's the main message to get out there," Burns said. "People should put out traps instead of poison."

Though still rare, the birds have been showing up in WNY in recent years, probably, because their northern hunting grounds are becoming crowded. It's generally the younger birds who migrate south. Burns estimated the deceased owl was no more than 2 years old.

The birds are banded by Operation SNOWstorm, which tracks snowy owls to assist in their preservation.  

The Department of Environmental Conservation asks that if you find a dead banded bird, report it on the website www.reportband.gov.

Photo by Margy Meath.Video by Oded Kalir.

July 20, 2017 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, batavia, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced new federal funding from the Department of Transportation for the Genesee County Airport. The $2,926,222 grant will assist the airport in rehabilitating a runway and install runway distance-to-go signs.

“It is of paramount importance that we invest federal funds in local infrastructure projects like this one,” Congressman Collins said. “This grant provides the Genesee County Airport with new resources to ensure the safety of travelers and provide new efficiencies which will ultimately increase air traffic. I am proud to be able to help secure this funding.”

“This announcement is terrific news for Genesee County,” said Legislator Marianne Clattenburg, Public Service Committee chairwoman. “We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Collins to improve infrastructure and support job creation in our community."

"Genesee County has pursued an aggressive and proactive redevelopment and improvement of our general aviation/reliever airport here in Batavia,” said Jay Gsell, County Manager. “Genesee County is excited and encouraged that the FAA, our long-term partners in airport maintenance, upkeep, and improvement, have again shown their faith in Genesee County and our airport partners to provide one of the best and safest flying venues in NYS.”

The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any local government pursuing a federal grant.

June 22, 2017 - 10:58am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Genesee County Airport, news, reconstruction, batavia.

The runway at the Genesee County Airport will be able to accommodate larger planes once the center portion is replaced.

The runway hasn’t been resurfaced since 1978, according to Tim Hens, the highway superintendent.

“It’s basically original to when they built the airport,” Hens said. “It’s actually a limiting factor on the size of the airplanes that we can bring into the airport right now.”

After the reconstruction, Hens said a medium-sized business jet will be able to land on the runway.

The 3,000-foot stretch that will be reconstructed is in between the extension that occurred in 2005 and the restoration in 2007. The pavement depth varies from five to nine inches, Hens said.

The reconstruction will be covered under 95 percent federal and state aid.

“This is very similar to other airport projects we’ve done,” Hens said.

Northeast Paving, in Lancaster, was the lowest bidder for the project, at just over $3.1 million.

C&S engineers provided a construction inspection contract, at a little over than $305,000.

Both bids are contingent on receiving the grant, which will likely be given in August, Hens said.

“They usually expect us to turn it around in five days,” Hens said.

Hens said the construction will be phased so there will always be a portion of the runway open.

“We’ve limited the actual shutdown,” Hens said. “There will a one-week period of time where we have to shut down the entire runway, but that will be during the night only.”

There will still be 2,000 feet of the runway available for use when the construction is going on, Hens said.

“If they do it right, we’re hoping we can get another 40 years out of the pavement,” Hens said. “So we won’t have to do it again, at least not in my lifespan.”

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