Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission Seeks to Build Multi-User Aerostrip
By Jennifer Baxter, Communications Director
Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission
The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission (HCPHC) is working toward the construction of a 4,000’ x 90’ concrete runway with 500’ overruns on both sides, constructed west of the Stennis International Airport’s existing runway. This Aerostrip is intended to serve multiple users across three major industries, including: military, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and spaceport operations.
The Aerostrip will support military operations to include operational readiness training requirements, needs of our local military to conduct training operations and the ability to support vertical take-off and landing. The Multi-User Aerostrip will act as a runway able to certify assault landings performed by military C17 and C130 aircraft. The assault landing maneuver requires that a pilot land in a 500-foot area on the runway and to coast no further than 3,500 ft.
Unmanned Aerial Systems
The State of Mississippi is home to Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory (RFRL), which is the nation’s leading unmanned systems research, development, test and evaluation institution. Stennis International Airport’s unique location next to Stennis Space Center’s Buffer Zone allows RFRL rare access to nearby Restricted Areas, established through Space Act Agreements as well as maritime operations through authorization from the FAA, as well as simultaneous, segregated UAS operations, without impacting the airport’s considerable air traffic customers.
The third component of the Multi-User Aerostrip is the Stennis Spaceport. HCPHC is actively seeking licensure through the FAA to establish Spaceport operations, which is approximately a 24-month long process. The Aerostrip will serve as a taxiway to a safe zone refueling area to be developed as a subsequent project.
The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission was established in 1963 to lead the county’s economic development activities. Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park are home to 30 companies with more than 1,000 employees. For more information visit www.portairspace.com.