Historic Fort Worth Meacham Airport rolls right along
By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Visitors to Fort Worth Meacham Airport (KFTW) may be treated to an assortment of unique aviation spotting experiences from a newly-painted 787 Dreamliner lifting off, the original American Airways (now Airlines) hangar or a myriad of modern corporate jets. One thing is for sure—there is a lot going on at this airport located about five miles north of downtown Fort Worth.
Jeff Kloska has been the manager at Meacham for about a year, replacing long-time manager and current Fort Worth System Director of Aviation Bill Welstead.
On August 12, 2012, Kloska was presented his first major challenge when a storm ripped through Meacham airport damaging about 15 planes and two helicopters. A hangar owned by FBO Texas Jet was completely destroyed and more than 10 other buildings suffered damage.
“We had a microburst occur directly over the airfield,” said Kloska. “It produced 75-mph straight-line winds. It picked up the Texas Jet hangar on one side and rolled it over. It was full of planes so there was a lot of damaged aircraft within that facility. We were quite fortunate nobody was hurt.”
According to Kloska, the airport remained operational and the staff began focusing immediately on clean up. “We assessed the damage and were able to handle everything locally at the airport,” said Kloska.
The impressive response of the airport staff caught the eye of local city officials, who nominated the airport for the Texas Department of Transportation’s 2013 Reliever Airport of the Year award. Citing not only their efforts in not missing a beat in the face of adversity, the nomination also noted the airport’s impact on the local community and the recently-completed improvements.
“Bill Welstead and I in addition to other staff go to speak at local schools quite a bit,” said Kloska. “We have received cards from schools with notes saying their students now want to become pilots, and that’s what I like to see, it is important that we educate the young men and women to show what an aviation career can offer.”
In the last few years, Meacham has also made great strides in safety and security in several areas by installing security cameras and refining the airport access system, reconstructing an apron and constructing a new south perimeter road, which eliminates thousands of runway crossings by fuel trucks and airport vehicles annually.
“Prior to the construction of the access road, our fuel trucks had to cross a runway to get fuel to our west side tenants,” said Kloska. “Obviously that was not an ideal situation so we’re happy to have completed the road.”
The Texas Jet hangar was also completely rebuilt, along with a new apron. The reconstruction of Apron-A addressed severe pavement failures and improved inadequate storm drainage system “That project could not have gone better—TxDOT and Garver Engineering were great to work with,” said Kloska.
In 2009, the shoulders along the main runway were paved and the safety area off the south end of the runway was leveled up with approximately 300,000 square yards of dirt. According to Kloska, this was a huge safety project that brought the
airport within compliance of the FAA’s Class IV 139 Airport Certification. That certification enables the airport to receive commercial charter flights.
Future plans for the airport include a renovation of the old terminal, and current administration, building. “We are going to renovate our current administration building which will also house a world-class FBO facility. The renovation is going to add a third floor and make this an energy efficient building, so we’re very excited to get started on that,” said Kloska.
In addition, the airport recently leased out space to American Aero (one of the three FBOs) located at Meacham, to develop a $30 million hangar facility with a taxilane connecting the new terminal to the hangar facility. According to Kloska, this project represents one of the largest private investments into Meacham Airport in its History. While on the topic of airport tenants Kloska also mentioned that Texas Jet was awarded a Small Business of the Year award this year from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Broadies Aircraft, who has a long history at Meacham Airport, also won a 5 STAR Safety award from the National Air Transportation Association.
Another project on the horizon is to mill and overlay the airport’s parallel runway, which is mostly used by smaller flight training general aviation aircraft.
On October 10–12, the airport is hosting the 2013 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Aviation Summit. AOPA estimates that Meacham could see as many as 1,200 small general aviation aircraft on the ground for the summit
and the possibility of more.
“Having a long and proud history in aviation, the City of Fort Worth is excited to host the summit for the first time,” said Kloska. “The city will see an economic impact from the summit in the range of $8–10 million dollars.” The City of Fort Worth is also hosting the Airports Council International North American Conference in 2017.
For more information about Fort Worth Meacham airport, visit their website at http://fortworthtexas.gov/aviation/meacham/.
For more information about the AOPA Aviation Summit at Meacham airport, visit http://www.aopa.org/summit/.
Meacham at a Glance
2010 Economic Impacts
Economic Activity: $164,866,040
Salary, Wages and Benefits: $50,164,738
FAA Identifier: FTW
Elevation: 710.1 ft
Sectional Chart: DALLAS-FORT WORTH
Control Tower: YES, 24HR MANNED TOWER
Landing fee: RAMP FEE FOR PUBLIC RAMP. CALL ARPT OPS 817-994-0653
Fuel Available: 100LL JET-A JET-A1+
Runway 16/34: 7502 x 150 ft
Runway 17/35: 4005 x 75 ft