SLIDELL - The Slidell Municipal Airport is a new playground, of sorts, for pilot Martin Angelle, as he just started flying from there regularly a few months ago.
But, he's learned quickly about its quirks.
"The power lines on the approach in at Runway 18, even on a beautiful day when you're coming down heading for the number, you always know the power lines are right under your wheels," he said.
Those power lines are the same ones blamed for a tragic plane crash in April 2016 when a mosquito spray plane hit them as experienced pilots Wayne Fisher and Donald Pichon were landing for the night.
Since then, area leaders have been on a mission to get the lines moved. Thursday, the hard work paid off when the state's Public Service Commission, or PSC, officially got on board with the effort.
"Richie Artigue and myself has been working on this project for 18 months, due to the loss of life, two pilots," said Slidell City Councilman Val Vanney, "And we are really grateful that it is to this point now."
PSC Commissioner Eric Skrmetta says the agency's staff will now review the logistics of moving the lines, the cost to do the work and a way to pay for it.
Angelle, who was friends with both pilots who perished, says it's about time talk on this topic turned to action.
"It would be wonderful if they were not there and it'd be one less hazard to deal with, especially at landing," he said.
The project can actually have significance beyond just safety improvements. City leaders say it could actually bring an economic boom to the airport area.
"They'll be able to enlarge the airport, take larger planes in," said Vanney, "It'll be more attractive to companies to come in and do business in Slidell."
It's a promising start to a win-win for many.
The PSC is aiming to have its report to the two utility companies involved in six months
© 2017 WWL-TV