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Midway pilot working toward airpark development

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POSTED: June 4, 2010 10:38 a.m.
Photo by Denise Etheridge/

Steve Berg has fitted his dog Sweetie with earphones so she can fly with him.

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Midway pilot Steve Berg intends to form a nonprofit organization to ensure his 22-acre, grass-strip private airport, Berg Park Aerodrome, continues “in perpetuity.” Berg also wants to develop his property as a residential airpark.
To help him incorporate, Berg sought grants and found the Wolf Aviation Fund on the Internet. The Wolf Aviation Fund Grants Program began in 1992, according to www.wolf-aviation.org. The organization awards grants to support and promote general aviation.
“There’s a lot more involved in forming a nonprofit than people realize,” Berg said.
He said he applied for a “small” grant, but declined to reveal the exact amount. The purpose of his nonprofit foundation, he said, will be to preserve vintage aircraft and educate the public about vintage aircraft and experimental aviation.
Berg, 71, has been flying since he graduated high school. He also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1958-1962, flying jet aircraft, notably the B-47. He now owns a 1946 Globe Swift and a 1947 Aeronca Champion. Berg also has a 1940 Luscombe which needs to be assembled.
“Airplanes don’t have to be expensive,” he said. “I do as much of my own maintenance as is allowed by law.” He said he also employs an aviation mechanic.
The Midway airport owner also would like to divide some of his property into 40-50 residential lots, 14 of which would have runway access. He envisions creating an airpark where aviation enthusiasts can live within view of tranquil marsh and have the privilege of flying often. An airpark would help keep his airport more active, he said.
Berg admitted his plans are “currently in progress.” He said he has a total of 36 acres of which eight to nine acres could be used for houses “If and when the county gets around to allowing me to do it (develop).”
According to the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission, Berg must first submit an application to rezone his property, which is now zoned agricultural. Once the property is properly rezoned, he could then submit an engineering design, LCPC staff explained.
Berg’s private airport currently serves single engine airplanes and “some lighter twins.” His runway is 2,400 long and 80 feet wide. Because it is not lit, planes may only use the runway in daylight hours, he said.
The Midway resident is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Vintage Aircraft Association and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.  He’d like to form an EEA chapter in Liberty County, he said.
Berg, a self-described recreational pilot, said he flies “whenever he wants, weather permitting.”
 

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