It's been a long time coming. In May of 2002, a thirty-thousand square foot hangar at the Grand Island Central Nebraska Regional Airport burned to the ground. In the last two years the airport has been extremely aggressive. They've built a new hangar that's twice the size of the old one, and they've also successfully recruited the Nebraska National Guard to house a helicopter base at the airport.
Friday, the airport and National Guard will be hosting an open house, a day that marks the end of a long road. Airport manager Bill Stoval says about eight helicopters will fly in, including a Chinook. The base will be the home of the Nebraska National Guards Chinooks. The helicopter has the ability to carry up to forty-five troops and twelve thousand pounds of cargo or personnel. The new hangar is just a temporary home for the National Guard. They will be building a new hangar across the runway and will move into it when it's done.
The open house is set for Friday. Gates open at 3 p.m. and at 3:30, the helicopters will be arriving. At 5 p.m., the airport and National Guard will be serving free hotdogs, chips, and beverages. At 6 p.m., the Husker Nation Tour will be stopping at the airport.