Officials sent out a notice last week reminding tenants at the Denton Enterprise Airport that security means closing the gate behind them.
The notice included a July 22 photo of a pair of circular tire tracks on the pavement in front of one of the airport hangars. But, even as recently as Saturday, an open gate gave a pair of lost truckers ample pavement to turn around.
The airport tower reported two semi-tractor trailers had come into the airport late Saturday, according to Quentin Hix, airport manager. Although they had not breached space controlled by the Federal Aviation Administration, they were traveling through an area meant for aircraft, and that still can present a safety problem.
Denton Enterprise Airport is a general aviation airport, which means there aren’t as many controls on the ground space around the airport as there are for passenger airports, like Love Field or Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Denton’s airport has many longtime tenants who drive to their hangar and leave their car while they take their plane out for hours, or days, at a time — and that’s permissible, Hix said.
The airport does have a fence around its perimeter. That $1.1 million project was completed about 18 months ago when the city expanded the runway. People can get to airport-based businesses through the main entrance, or from exterior gates that are open each day or a new road that bypasses the main entrance to take traffic directly to the flight school, U.S. Aviation Academy.
The airport has installed new fence sections that control access to the taxi lanes, but they are expensive, Hix said.
Another fix that should help is a truck-turnaround under construction at the airport entrance, he said.
The airport is located at the end of FM1515, which is filled with warehouses and manufacturing companies that bring many semi trucks to the area.
Saturday’s incident wasn’t the first where a trucker missed a turn and ended up on Masch Branch Road, which is also a dead-end road.
“Some drivers are using the older GPS that doesn’t show that Masch Branch dead-ends now,” Hix said.
While there are many “Road Ends” signs in the area, airport officials have asked neighboring companies to help new drivers and independent truckers that come to the area, too, with more signage.
Mark Haggard of Jet Works, which operates on that side of the airport, said his company has an exterior gate nearby that opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. To get into the gate after hours, someone must enter a code on the keypad that opens the gate.
Securing the hangar and building isn’t much different than locking up your house, and the company plans to follow whatever security directives the government gives to the city, Haggard said.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.