Central Virginia Aviation

AVIATION DIGEST ARTICLE


Located in the scenic and historic Petersburg area of Virginia, just a short thirty minute drive to downtown Richmond, Dinwiddie County Airport is ideally positioned to serve the needs of the growing corporate and general aviation fleet that makes its home in the greater Richmond area.

Like many airports, Dinwiddie / Petersburg saw its major expansion as a result of the demands for products during World War ll. Originally a single tree lined runway with rustic facilities the government saw the potential at Petersburg to assist in their ever greater demands for aircraft delivery and support. To facilitate the transportation of aircraft from the factories on the east coast to ships on the west coast , aviation units where set up across the US for refueling and maintenance. In 1943 the Petersburg Airport was converted from an emergency landing strip to a ferry command, air delivery unit and was designated VRS-1. As part of their contributions during the war Petersburg and the other 19 service and repair detachments where instrumental in delivering over 46,000 aircraft and accumulated over 450,000 flight hours in the process.

After the war, and the ferry units where disbanded, Petersburg was listed as “surplus property” by the US government and the airfield once again came under the ownership and control of the local town in 1950. However with the hangars, fuel storage, fueling trucks and runway improvements still in place the airfield that the town took over after the war was a far cry from the original facility. Operating as a municipal airport until 1980, Dinwiddie County realized that the airport was an asset that influenced more than Petersburg so the Dinwiddie County Airport and Industrial Authority was founded and the operations of the airfield then became a county issue. With the new Authority in place the airfield was renamed to Dinwiddiie County Airport and with the new name came the present changes that have positioned the airfield to address the future needs of the area.

Dave Ploeger, Airport Manager for the last 6 years, summed up the philosophy at the field. “We saw that corporations and residential building was moving from the Richmond area in our direction and we had a choice. Either we could be proactive and have a modern and attractive facility ready for them when they arrived or we could sit back and do nothing and hope that we could catch up to the needs in the future.” Dave continued, “ The Authority felt that being proactive was the best course and today we are a facility that says we care about providing top levels of service to our customers, either corporate or general aviation.” Indeed, Dave and the Authority where right on target as Wal-Mart has built a huge distribution center in the area and a modern Steel Plant has also chosen the area as home base.

Dave continued “ When a corporate client was coming to visit the area we wanted the airfield to meet their needs and immediately put to rest any issues they may have about access to and from our County. We have an extensive highway system that ties us into the metropolitan areas but have a great quality of life here that the cities can’t match. The combination of a skilled work force, a solid transportation infrastructure and the attractiveness of the area are a winning combination.”

As for the improvements on the field, Dave offered the following. “ We have just completed a resurfacing and grooving of our main runway 5/23 that raises the capacity of aircraft from 12,500 lbs / wheel to 25,000 lbs / wheel and in addition, we have reconstructed the taxi way so that it is parallel to the main runway and avoids having to taxi through the apron and tie down area. Once an aircraft has landed they will be welcomed into a new 6600 square foot terminal facility that will replace the older terminal that was built in the 1960’s.” Dave continued, “ We are really intent on tapping into the growth of corporations on the south side of Richmond so we have made the new terminal user friendly for that segment of our market. We have a conference room with internet access for business meetings and for the corporate pilots we have a pilots lounge complete with showers, bedroom, and access to all the flight data they may require. In addition we have completed a new entrance to the airport off of route 460 just a 1/2 mile from Interstate 85 that makes the airport look attractive no matter if you arrive by vehicle or aircraft.”

With all of the planning and preparation going into attracting corporate travelers the general aviation segment may feel as if they have been left out of the airports future plans. To the contrary, Dinwiddie is catering to that audience as well and has made improvements to show their conviction. When the construction of the runway and taxi way was underway the debris it created was buried on site. Rather than waste that area, Dave and the Authority came up with a novel idea. With the debris buried the area was leveled off and replanted with turf that has now become a designated ultralight landing area that measures 50’ by 1000 feet. So popular is Dinwiddie with the ultralight and homebuilt crowd that the 7th annual Virginia State EAA Fly-In is scheduled for September 20/21’st at the field.

For the GA crowd that wants to hangar their plane at the airfield plans are underway to construct 10 new T-hangars that will be large enough to hold aircraft up to as big as King Airs. Under the heading of “phase 2” Dave informs us that “We have plans to tear down some of the older T-hangars and replace them with modern versions. We have a waiting list for space and we want to service the general aviation customer to the same level we treat our corporate clients.”

With a great airport poised for the growth that is sure to come to the area it only makes sense that the field has an equally prepared and highly regarded FBO doing business on the field. Founded in 1986 at Dinwiddie/Petersburg Airport, Central Virginia Aviation is the full service FBO on the field. Overseen by Steve Hutchins, Manager of the Dinwiddie Division ( Central Virginia Aviation also has locations in Quinton/New Kent Airport and through Sundance Aviation at Ashland/Richmond Hanover County Airport)

CVA is “full service” in every sense of the word. “ For the pilot that bases their aircraft here to the transient pilot looking for services we are geared to handle most every issue.” Steve began “ We offer aircraft sales and management for our customers and have available for sale everything form Cessna 414’s to a Jet Stream. Of course we also have general aviation aircraft available as well from Cessna’s right through the entire line. For the company or family looking for aircraft charter we also offer a complete charter service that will take them anywhere in the USA 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.” Along with their management, sales and charter business, CVA also offers aircraft instruction with 4 CFI’s on staff to handle the training requirements and can also take care of scenic tours or discovery flights for those looking for an introduction to flying. Steve agrees with Dave in assessing the future of Dinwiddie and CVA on the field.” We feel the same as Dave and the Authority” Steve continued, “this airport has a great future ahead of it and we fully intend to make sure Central Virginia Aviation is a key part of that growth. From aircraft and powerplant maintenance to increased charter capacity with new King Airs expected to be on line in the near future to servicing the needs of the growing corporate clientele we, see CVA as filling every need at an extremely professional level.”

With a forward looking management, a committed FBO and an Aviation Authority that “is proactive rather than reactive” Dinwiddie County Airport is assured of being a big player in the growth and quality of the Petersburg area in the years to come.

For more information of the airport and Central Virginia Aviation Steve can be reached at 804-861-9915.

To speak with the airport manager regarding making Dinwiddie your home base or to inquire about other airport facilities Dave Ploeger can be reached at (804) 861-0218.

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