Rangeley will celebrate the opening of the extended runway at Stephen A. Bean Municipal Airport on Saturday. Stephen Philbrick photo

RANGELEY — Townspeople will celebrate the opening of an extended runway at Stephen A. Bean Municipal Airport at 10 a.m. Saturday with a ribbon cutting.

The extension added 1,100 feet to the 3,201-foot landing strip to accommodate LifeFlight of Maine’s King Air B200 plane, which is equipped as an emergency hospital.

The runway had been too short for the plane, which meant certain patients, including some in critical condition, had to be driven for care.

LifeFlight’s medical helicopters could not land at the airport in weather conditions that include ice, snow or low clouds.

Rangeley is 1,835 feet above sea level, which also affects aircraft performance, according to information the town provided last year.

Residents voted 265-88 in January 2018 to move forward on the final phase of an engineering proposal for the extension.

It was announced in September 2018 that Rangeley was awarded nearly $11.5 million from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program to help fund the expansion.

Saturday’s ceremony will include LifeFlight landing its plane, nicknamed “Lima Mike.”

The celebration will also include a flag presentation and remarks by: Stephen Philbrick, chairman of the Rangeley Board of Selectmen; Gail Lattrell, director of the FAA New England Division;  Thomas Judge, executive director of LifeFlight; Russell Black, Republican state senator from Wilton; Joshua Dickson, aviation system coordinator of LifeFlight of Maine; Guy Rouelle, senior aviation manager for Dubois & King Inc., a professional consulting firm; a representative of  U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; and former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine.

Refreshments will follow at 11:30 a.m.


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