In the late 1950’s, preliminary planning for a County
owned airport in St. Mary’s County was begun. A survey was performed in
1966 that indicated a need for an airport which would accommodate medium
sized twin engine aircraft. Many aircraft were known to be based in St.
Mary’s County on small, private strips and fields. The airport was to
accommodate them as well as light industry in the County and to provide
air service to NAS/NATC.
Three (3) sites were eventually selected for detailed
study, and the present site was chosen as the most advantageous and
feasible alternative. The original airport properties were acquired in
August 1968 , construction of the St. Mary’s County Airport was completed
during 1969, and the Airport was in operation before the end of that year.
The total project costs, which included land, engineering, administrative,
and construction costs totaled $392,901.75. Federal financial
participation by the Federal Aviation Agency, under the Federal Aid
Airport Program (FAAP), was $150,100. Subsequently, a 10,000 foot aircraft
maintenance, and storage hangar, with adjacent offices and public areas
was constructed. The hangar facilities were completed by the end of 1975.
The total hangar cost was $180,542.30. It wasn’t until 1978 that the
County received it’s first grant monies from the FAA for the development
of an Airport Master Plan.
Airport operations were conducted under a lease
agreement between the County and Professional Flight Services, Inc. from
the opening of the Airport through December 1976. From January 1977,
through March, 1980, the Airport was leased for management and operations
by Southern Maryland Aviation, Inc. In 1979, the Airport Master Plan was
finally completed and demonstrated future needs for the Airport. The
Airport was then leased to St. Mary’s Aero Services, Inc. during the
spring of 1980. An Airport Commission was soon established to manage the
Airport in accordance with bylaws that were adopted on May 24, 1983.
Airpark Sales and Services, Inc. was eventually designated as the Fixed
Based Operator (FBO) in September 1987. In September 1988, the Airport
Layout Plan (ALP) was updated and adopted. Following numerous
infrastructure improvements, By August 1994, "Rules and Minimum Standards"
were drafted and adopted by the Board of County Commissioners and are
recorded at Deed Book 009 Pages 124-196. In 1997, with $1.8M of FAA
eligible funding, the end of Runway 29 was extended from 3250’ to 4150’,
the taxi-way was widened from 60-75’ and over-layed to accommodate
aircraft in excess of 12,500 pounds. A $3.1M terminal building was
completed in the Spring of 2000 using MAA funding and the airport was
designated as the Captain Walter Francis Duke Regional Airport at St.
The Airport property now encompasses approximately
224.5 acres and was obtained in fee simple from Mr. and Mrs. Mervell Dean
(138.24 acres), Mrs. G Claude Abell (15.48 acres), Mr. and Mrs. Paul R.
Nimmerichter (33.10 acres), and Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Waldschmidt (35.72
acres). Of the total acreage, the 85.35 acre North Parcel, is dedicated to
future development of an airport industrial or technology park. Current
plans call for an extension of the runway to 5,350’ and scheduled commuter
GRANT FUNDING SUMMARY
In 1978, the Airport received a federal grant for an Airport
Master Plan. Since that time, St. Mary's County Airport has
received both federal and state funding for numerous airport
development and improvement projects.
Airport Layout Drawing
, Table 1-1 provides a brief history
of the numerous federal FAA and state MAA grants that have
been awarded to St. Mary's County for implementation of the
approved master plans and airport layout drawings. The Table
includes dollar amounts, dates, and a brief description of each
project. To date, twenty (20) projects (list
) in excess of $8 million have been
granted to the expansion and upgrade of this facility.
The Master Plan Update presents the results of data
collection, forecasts, alternative analysis, and recommendations
the continued development of St. Mary’s County Regional Airport. The
previous Airport Master Plan was prepared in 1979 and Airport Layout
Plan Updates were published in 1988 and 1993. Since that time, the
region has experienced significant growth and the Airport has undergone
numerous changes and improvements. In addition, the Airport is
interested in developing the facilities to ultimately support commuter
air service operations. The staging of development in the plan set will
be tailored to meet the goals and objectives of the community for the
airport over the next 20 years. The plan set will satisfy federal
guidelines for airport development identified in the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5300-13 "Airport
The current Master Plan Update will concentrate on
assessing the existing conditions and future needs at the airport. This
assessment begins with an inventory of the existing facilities,
forecasts future aviation traffic demands, discusses the demand for
future growth, and analyze facility and navigational aid requirements.
Various development alternatives will be considered along with their
potential effect environment. Cost estimates for recommended development
are presented will also be presented in the Master Plan and include
anticipated funding levels from federal, state, local, and private
Master Plan Update
will concentrate on
assessing the existing conditions and future needs at the
The primary goals and objectives of the current Master Plan and
- Develop a Localizer approach (with approach lights) to Runway 11
to better accommodate aircraft traffic during periods of adverse
- Evaluate feasibility of ILS approach.
- Lengthen and strengthen Runway 11-29 in preparation for commuter
air service, commercial and other general aviation use.
- Determine the needed additional infrastructure to accommodate
future commuter air service, commercial and other general aviation
- Recommend and develop a land acquisition program for the Airport
to accommodate general aviation and commuter air service development
for the 20-year planning period.
- Provide areas for additional general aviation apron and hangar
(both T-hangar and conventional) development.
- Further refine orientation and layout for future development
- Analyze existing and future obstructions to the FAR Part 77
AIRPORT COMPATIBLE LAND USE
Airport Cooperative Research Program Report discusses
airport-compatible land-use requirements, the legal issues related
to achieving airport compatible land use, and legal issues
particular to eliminating hazardous obstructions to airspace. The
report concludes by reviewing the major legal issues of concern in
achieving airport-compatible land use. This report should be
helpful to airport administrators, attorneys, board members,
financial offers, community members in the vicinity of airports,
realtors, and city and county zoning officials, In addition to the
above, Chapter 43 of the St. Mary's County
Ordinance contains a detailed description of Compatible Use
Zones and Airport Environs for development of airports, airfields