Alva Review-Courier -

Airport board hears about successful air show, air race

 


All the planning and preliminary work paid off in hosting the Air Race Classic and the air show. That was the consensus of the discussion at the end of the Alva Airport Commission meeting Monday. April Mills, who spearheaded the effort, brought a nice plaque from the Air Race Classic organization recognizing the Alva Regional Airport as one of the this year’s stops.

Had this been a normal race, Mills said, Alva would probably have won the pilots’ vote as best stop. However, weather forced many of the pilot teams to stay overnight in Beatrice, Nebraska. Because the Beatrice community had to put out extra effort to provide food and housing, that location won the most votes with Alva as the runner-up.

Although the events went smoothly, Mills said, “We learned where we made mistakes and what we could do better.” The air race doesn’t schedule the same stops each year so Alva won’t be able to host for the next one. However, Mills said Alva will be in consideration for future races.

Of the 55 teams in the race, 39 stopped in Alva. One plane needed a repair, and that was handled quickly so the plane and pilots could continue. Airport Manager Tyson Tucker said fuel sales for the air race and the air show brought in over $3,800.

On Thursday of that week, the Young Eagles group brought three planes from Oklahoma City that were kept busy for about three hours giving rides to 33 youngsters.

The air show was slightly interrupted by weather Friday night. Paul Kinzie, airport board member, was credited with sounding the warning to get the planes inside. All the aircraft were secured before the storm, accompanied by very strong winds, hit the airport. The wind did cause one problem. The new lighted windsock frame broke. But Tucker said that has since been welded.

“I think everybody had a good time,” Mills said of the series of events.

Visitors to the air show were invited to submit their photos in a contest. The top three photos were uploaded to the Wings over the Prairie Facebook page. Prizes of $75, $50 and $25 were awarded. Two of those photos depict the approaching storm clouds.

Tucker said one unexpected problem developed as the race teams stopped for fuel. Instead of starting their planes to move them after fueling, they expected that they would be pushed out of the way. He said the Alva firefighters stepped in and took care that issue. Mills added, “The girls (female race pilots) were pretty excited about the hot firemen fueling the planes.”

Manager’s Report

In his monthly report to the airport commission, Tucker said fuel sales for June were up $1,800 more than last month. The airport took in $20,082.16 in total fuel and oil sales. They sold 1,320 gallons of Jet-A fuel and 3,752.1 gallons of 100LL.

Tucker said the AWOS, which provides an audio report on weather conditions at the airport for pilots, is putting out a weak signal. He said the antenna may need to be replaced with an estimated cost of $400.

This month, Tucker said he hoped to replace some sheet metal screws on the South Share Hangar which is continuing to get some moisture. He hopes this will improve the problem at little expense.

He’s mulling over the idea of a Welcome to Alva sign somewhere on the airport that would be visible from the air. He said it might be painted on a hangar roof. He also brought up the idea of thank you cards to be sent to pilots who visit the airport, thanking them for stopping and inviting them back again.

Tucker said he’d like to rebid the painting and other work on the airport terminal. The commission’s first choice had health problems and couldn’t do the job. Their next choice has never started the work. Tucker was directed to seek new quotes to be presented at next month’s meeting.

The manager said he is also looking at a way to have a farmer mow part of the airport and bale it. He said this could produce revenue for the airport instead of being an expense. Airport staff spend a lot of time mowing in the summer.

The board was very complimentary of the manager’s work during the air race and air show week. Kinzie commended him on organizing the volunteers and putting together a team to handle everything. Without Tucker’s effort, Kinzie said, “It wouldn’t have worked.”

“You’re to be commended,” Dale Logsdon added. “Good job.”

Other Business

It was time to elect new commission officers. Kinzie indicated he was happy with the present selection. Logsdon was elected as chairman and Terry Turner was voted to continue as secretary.

The board members approved authorizing a payment of $3,163 for auditing services of the airport finances by Angel, Johnston and Blasingame, P.C.

Board members present were Logsdon, Kinzie and Caleb Mosburg. Absent were Turner and Kelly Parker.

 

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