Manila works to repair historic device

MANILA, AR (KAIT) - The city of Manila is working to upgrade a historic rotating beacon light at the Manila Airport.

Greg Smith, a member of Manila's Pilot Association, said the city's 50-foot rotating beacon light has served pilots for decades.

The device has alerted pilots to the location of the Manila Airport since it was relocated from Tennessee to Manila back in 1959.

However, the device is in need of several repairs.

"The rotating motor had simply gone bad, and it was unrepairable," Smith said. "Because the device is so old, we had to go through engineering a new solution to fix it. The FAA also gives standards about which towers - all structured towers - have to be painted and even tones of paint that have to be used and maintained. So, this is a project simply to restore those colors and the technical criteria for this beacon to continue service here at Manila."

The city received an 80-20% matching grant from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics to complete this project. Smith also said they were given $5,000 to refurbish the tower.

"It's important because pilots who wish to use the airport after sundown often will need visual guidance to the airport by what we call pilotage; which is simply flying by reference to landmarks," he said. "And so this beacon, like it did almost 90 years ago, is serving that capacity here today."

Smith said they're expecting this project to be completed before the end of July.

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