The Oakland County International Airport will be holding an open house and air fair on Sunday, Aug. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as it celebrates the completion of Michigan’s first “green” terminal building.
“The (terminal) project was completed within budget and on schedule. I’m sure the public will be very pleased,” said Oakland County Director of Central Services J. David VanderVeen.
The cutting-edge, eco-friendly terminal incorporates wind turbine, solar and voltaic power generating technology to offset traditional electrical power use; LED interior lamps; geothermal heating and cooling; an electric vehicle charging station; and bio swell rain gardens for landscape irrigation. The building was constructed using recycled content when possible.
Other new amenities in the building footprint include airport offices, a U.S. Customs Service office, and a private meeting/telecommunications room to accommodate about 80 people.
The new terminal was built on the same site as the airport’s former terminal building. Although smaller in terms of square footage — approximately 13,500 square feet instead of 17,000 — space has been used more efficiently.
The terminal is heralded as one of the first of its kind in the country for a general aviation airport. Oakland International is the 16th-busiest general aviation airport in the United States and the second-busiest airport in the state behind Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Visitors can access the airport open house and air fair via the airport’s main entrance at 6500 Highland Road in Waterford Township. The event is free of charge. Refreshments will be available for purchase, including an early bird pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m.
According to Plane Coordinator Paul Bergholtz, numerous planes will be on display during the air fair along with aerobatic routines performed by the Scream’n Rebel Airshow Team, which will man four T-6 WWII trainers. Patrons can take a ride in a B-17 bomber and peek into C-47 air transports or the Pitts double-wing.
Modern day military Blackhawk helicopters, Turbine Goose flyers and Boeing 727 commercial liners will also be on site for viewing.
Prior to the public open house, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for local and state dignitaries on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Patterson and Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, were keynote speakers at the event.
The formal red, white and blue ceremony included a U.S. Marine color guard and F-16 flyover. All the hallmark features of the new terminal building were on display, such as the rotating wind spires; the solar panel array; electric car charging stations; the living wall; and a bi-wing plane hanging from the terminal ceiling.
“The bi-wing airplane is the feature attraction. It’s a Pitt Special built by Henry Haigh, a WWII pilot and United States Aerobatic Champion who was inducted into the International Aerobatic Club Hall of Fame,” VanderVeen said.
Costs for the green terminal project are pegged at $5.5 million. Approximately $1 million was assumed by the Federal Aviation Administration, while $1 million was obtained through a U.S. Department of Energy grant, with the balance absorbed by the Oakland County Airport Fund, which has been saving for several years to pay for the terminal and other capital improvements.
The fund is self-supported by fees collected from airport users, not from a county property tax.