Small jets such as the one that crashed Wednesday night, killing five people, routinely use Thomson-McDuffie County Airport for takeoff and landing.
“This airport is quite capable of handling the aircraft that attempted to come in here last night,” said Keith Bounds, the airport’s manager.
Since 2005, Spirit Aviation has operated the flight-based operations at Thomson-McDuffie. Located four miles north of Thomson, it is the largest general aviation facility in the Augusta metro area, according to its Web site.
Annually during the Masters Tournament, about 200 aircraft of similar size or larger than the jet that crashed – preliminary reports indicate it was a Hawker Beechcraft 390/Premier I – land at Thomson-McDuffie, Bounds said.
The airport serves general aviation aircraft, including corporate jets. It has one 5,500-foot runway where aircraft can take off and land from the east or west. The airport does not have a manned control tower, Bounds said.
According to Federal Aviation Administration data collected on the Web site airnav.com, Thomson-McDuffie averages 52 combined takeoffs and landings per day. Twenty-three single engine airplanes, one jet and one ultralight are based at the airfield.