Wingtips Fall 2013
Award Winning Reliever
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
Brownwood Regional Airport
|Overlay and mark Runway 17-35; rehabilitate Runway 17-35 shoulders; rehabilitate and mark taxiway D; relocate medium intensity runway lights thresholds and precision approach path indicators; and temporary runway lighting and marking.|
A.L. Mangham, Jr. Regional Airport
|Rehabilitate and mark Runway 18-36 and apron stub taxiway; widen taxiway Y; rehabilitate all hangar access taxiways and install directional signs|
Texas State Technical College -Waco Airport
|Rehabilitate and mark Runway 17R-35L; rehabilitate and mark taxiway A, D, E and G; rehabilitate, shade hanger taxi lane, taxi land from terminal apron to Runway 17R-35L; rehabilitate taxi lane from terminal apron to taxiway H, main terminal apron, and shoulders; and taxiway G for FOD control; reconstruct hardstand at 30L; removal of taxiway C; rehabilitate 17L-35R circuit and install precision approach path indicators|
Fort Worth Spinks Airport
|Construct connecting taxiway to new Northeast apron; construct new apron Northeast side; and drainage improvements along taxiway C and cover drainage ditch.|
Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport
|Reconstruct and mark taxiway A, B, C, D, E, & F; reconstruct apron; rehabilitate and mark terminal apron; rotomill, overlay and mark Runway 2-20; regrade Runway 2-20 shoulder; adjust medium intensity runway lights elevations Runway 2-20; install standby generators; and install supplemental windsock Runway 2|
Dalhart Municipal Airport.
|Rehabilitate and mark Runway 17-35 and Runway 3-21; rehabilitate and mark taxiway A, B, D and E; replace sections of concrete apron; and seal apron concrete pavement joints.|
Big Spring McMahon-Wrinkle Airport
|Rehabilitate and strengthen terminal area apron; and construct concrete section of terminal apron|
Decatur Municipal Airport
|Design and construction to install fencing and security gates|
Robert R. Wells, Jr. Airport
|Install an Automated Weather Observing System- AV and reimbursement for utilities|
Orange County Airport
|Design and construct hangar access taxiway and box hangars|
South Texas International Airport at Edinburg
|Design and construction of fuel farm|
Hillsboro Municipal Airport
|Design and construct hangar access taxiway and 100′ x 125′ hangar at the Hillsboro Municipal Airport|
Ralph M. Hall/Rockwall Municipal Airport
|Drainage repair and improvements|
South Texas Regional at Hondo Airport
|Clean, repair and seal PCC joints Runway 13-31; mark Runway 13-31; rehabilitate center apron and taxilanes; rehabilitate PCC joints on south apron and taxilanes; rehabilitate PCC joints on north apron and taxilanes; clear grub and install game proof fencing along east edge of Runway 17L runway protection zone; install hold short sign markings for taxiway C; blade and grade runway edges Runway 13-31.|
Lone Star Executive Airport
|Extend and mark Runway 14/32; reconstruct sections of taxiway A & D; construct holding apron Runway 14; construct partial parallel taxiway and Runway 14/32 and medium intensity taxiway lights; extend partial parallel taxiway and medium intensity taxiway lights; extend medium intensity runway lights Runway 14/32; relocate precision approach path indicator-4 Runway 14; memorandum of agreement with FAA for glideslope, medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights and precision approach path indicator; replace and relocate localizer, glideslope and medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights; construct perimeter medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights; relocate utilities for Runway extension; terminate FM 1484; reroute ditches along FM 1484; install fencing; reimburse land for instrument approach Runway 14; clear trees object free zone Runway 14; and install signage.|
Castroville Municipal Airport
|installation of Jet-A fuel system|
Wingtips Profiles–Texas Transportation Commissioner Fred Underwood
Fred Underwood is a commissioner of the Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees statewide activities of the Texas Department of Transportation. Underwood was appointed commissioner by Gov. Rick Perry on Jan. 8, 2007.
Underwood is president of the Trinity Company, a cotton bale storage facility. He serves as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the Cotton Warehouse Association, where he previously served as president. He is both past vice president and past director of the National Cotton Council.
Underwood also previously served as chairman of the Lubbock International Airport Board and as a board member of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. Underwood received a bachelor’s degree in management from Texas Tech University.
He is also an avid aviation enthusiast and began flying in 1990. He is a commercial-rated helicopter pilot and holds a fixed-wing instrument rating.
Wingtips was proud to sit down with Commissioner Underwood and discuss flying, general aviation issues and what makes the aviation community unique.
Wingtips: At what age did you first catch the aviation bug?
Underwood: When I was around 12 or 13, I went flying with my father and uncle. We rented a plane and flew to Pecos. I remembered that it was just a little four-seater airplane, and we came in over some high wires and landed on a dirt road. I just thought, “Wow, we just landed on a dirt road beside a telephone pole.” It was a lot easier than driving all the way from Lubbock to Pecos. My dad was an Army Air Corps pilot instructor during World War II, but he never pushed aviation on me. He was more interested in me learning to drive a fork lift.
Wingtips: How do you use aviation in your personal and professional life?
Underwood: I don’t use it personally, only for business. On my business trips I typically fly to Gainesville, Mineral Wells or other locations throughout Texas. I would like to fly recreationally, but I don’t have the time.
Wingtips: How did you become involved with the Lubbock International Airport Board?
Underwood: Some friends of mine were on the city council, and they knew that I was a pilot and wanted to have business people involved in the airport. And being a pilot made me an even better asset and led to me being appointed to the airport board. I was on the board for seven years and was chairman for a year or two.
Wingtips: How do you view the role of airport advisory boards?
Underwood: I think an airport board can accomplish two things: first, it helps to give guidance to staff, and, second, if you get a good mix of people in your board members, then they can inform the public about how valuable the airport is to their community.
Wingtips: What do you think are some of the biggest issues facing general aviation in Texas?
Underwood: Funding for rural airports, the perception that flying is for the wealthy or elite, and the fact that we have fewer pilots training, which means there is less understanding of how important flying or having an airport in your community is. The old saying was that Sam Walton would never put a Wal-Mart in a town that didn’t have an airport. Maintaining the airport system is important because we have less available funds for aviation when we have so many other needs throughout the state and country.
When a smaller aircraft is flying across the country, it can’t fly coast to coast, and the pilot is looking for a place to refuel, eat and rest for a bit. That’s important to a lot of pilots, so you need nice, clean facilities and a good runway.
If you look at South Texas, Cameron County Commissioner David Garza has stated that he feels like his airport is going to become an economic driver for his area as they develop more of the South Texas coastline. That’s a good example of how a general aviation airport can be an asset to a community.
Wingtips: You touched on this topic a bit with your previous answer, but could you further discuss the importance of general aviation to communities in Texas.
Underwood: General aviation is important for business and recreation. But it’s also important for 24/7 air ambulance service, which is a valuable asset for an area.
For some businesses looking to expand into an area, they may require a specific runway length, hangar space or even a tower. So these are all facilities that you really need at an airport. Sometimes when you’re trying to bring businesses to your community, they will ask, “Do you have an airport?” The next question they ask is “How long is your runway?” because they may be flying in from the East or West Coast in a jet.
In my case, if I were to drive to Gainesville, it would take me over six hours to drive in my truck, and I wouldn’t be home until late that evening. I can fly there in an hour and 15 minutes. It allows me to conduct business earlier in the day and be home in time for dinner with my family.
Wingtips: Discuss the overall change in Texas airports in the 20-plus years that David Fulton and his staff have been with the Aviation Division.
Underwood: Dave and his quality staff stepped in and helped communities in Texas with grants to get funding for airport improvements. This includes runway and terminal building improvements that they otherwise would not have had. They did this so well that the federal government stepped in and started their own program to assist the communities. Dave and his staff have made a big difference in the Texas airport system.
Wingtips: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Underwood: My hobbies are long-distance feral hog hunting and fly fishing. I find both to be very relaxing. There are no phone calls, no pressure, no problems. I can just sit there for hours overlooking a canyon and enjoying the scenery.
Wingtips: You have attended several of the Texas Aviation Conferences. What is it about the aviation community that makes it unique compared to other transportation modes and keeps you coming back?
Underwood: I see it as a strong camaraderie between the men and women in aviation — the respect they show each other whether they fly a jet or a little single engine. The common bond that they have is flying. They share information and support each other with issues that they may encounter.
Wingtips: Is there anything additional that you would like to add that we haven’t covered?
Underwood: I appreciate that TxDOT stepped up when there was talk of tower closures. Under guidance from Governor Perry, TxDOT was more than willing to fund the towers out of a budget that was already set to support general aviation in Texas.
Flurry of Improvements
Once neglected, Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport has undergone a complete makeover
By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
“Night and day!” was Cameron County Commissioner David Garza’s answer when asked how different Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport (KPIL) is now compared to 10 years ago. And with improvements over the past decade that culminated in the airport receiving the 2013 Texas Department of Transportation’s Most Improved Airport award, Commissioner Garza was not exaggerating. The award was presented at the 31st Annual Texas Aviation Conference held in Austin May 13–15.
The airport was originally constructed during World War II as a U.S. Army Air Corps facility. Following the war it served as a Naval Auxiliary Air Station until 1963, when it was deactivated and deeded to Cameron County. Since that time, the airport had undergone a period of neglect and disrepair.
“The airport had been here for many years, but had not developed into an economic engine for the county,” said Commissioner Garza. “When I started my job 13 years ago, I saw this as a raw gem that had some potential. In anticipation of the future growth of this area, we wanted to improve the condition of our airport. To entice economic development opportunities to the airport, we figured it was a lot easier to sell if you have a product that looks good, is sustainable and is a place where people would be proud to come in and land.”
Restoration work on the airport began a decade ago with painting the original 1942 maintenance hangar, restriping the runways and crack sealing the massive tarmac. These improvements were completed with the assistance of TxDOT’s Routine Airport Maintenance Program (RAMP) and local funds.
In subsequent years, the maintenance projects continued with improvements to the runway surfaces, installation of runway lights, wind cone and improved signage.
In 2008, Hurricane Dolly struck the region and did major damage to the airport’s historic hangar. Turning the devastating event into a positive, local leaders replaced the roof of the hangar and installed a new door on the west side of the hangar.
“The new roof system is constructed with an environmentally safe and energy-efficient flex material and was done through insurance reimbursement (from Hurricane Dolly) and local funds,” explained Commissioner Garza during a tour of the facility. “The original existing doors were in dire need of replacement as they were impossible to open and close. With the assistance of the RAMP program and local funds, Cameron County was able to replace them. We utilized the disaster of Hurricane Dolly to make something good for this area.”
In 2009, the airport addressed their lack of hangar space with the completion of eight new T-hangars.
Finally, in 2010, a new 2,520 square-foot terminal was completed. The terminal includes a lobby area, pilot lounge, flight-planning room, public restrooms, conference room and public parking. Future plans include the installation of a self-serve fuel facility system.
A new terminal building, a huge 8001×200 ft. asphalt runway, improved signage and lighting, crack sealed pavement, updates to the historic hangar, new hangars to store planes, a fuel facility around the corner—slowly but surely, community leaders have transformed this once-neglected facility into a modern, popular destination airport.
Other future projects include refinishing the beacon tower, adding to the number of tie-downs and increasing the number of emergency generators.
“Interestingly enough, this is one of the higher elevation places in the county,” said Commissioner Garza. “We use this as a staging area for the community in the event of emergencies, so we want to always be prepared.”
What’s next for the airport located minutes from South Padre Island?
“Once we improve the accessibility to our airport, I think we’ll see a lot of economic development here,” said Director of Operations Marty Peña. “We have plenty of room with our runways and aprons. Space is definitely not an issue here.”
And with a get-things-done leadership team, neither is motivation.
For more information about Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport, visit their AirNav page at http://www.airnav.com/airport/KPIL or their website at http://www.co.cameron.tx.us/dot/airport.htm.
Managing Just Fine
By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
All it took was a plane ride.
A few years ago, newly appointed South Texas International Airport at Edinburg (KEBG) Airport Manager Debora Melvin was taken for a plane ride by a visitor to her airport. That short ride stoked the aviation fire for Melvin and the City of Edinburg has benefited ever since.
Her recent efforts paid off this spring when Melvin won the 2013 General Aviation Manager of the Year award during the 31st Annual Texas Aviation Conference held in Austin May 13–15.
Melvin had worked for Edinburg for 10 years, assisting the airport from time to time with administrative duties. When the airport position opened up, she applied for the airport manager’s job. If one expected Melvin to be intimidated by her new position, one would be wrong.
“I’ve always been aggressive in getting things done,” said Melvin. “If I don’t know how to do something, I figure out how or find someone who does and then learn from them.”
One of the first steps Melvin took was joining the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). “That has been instrumental in my acquisition of knowledge and broadened my ideas of how to promote the airport and expand our level of services,” she said.
Among Melvin’s accomplishments are helping to secure funding and approval for much-needed improvements such as a runway structural capacity hot-mix asphalt concrete overlay and apron reconstruction, becoming a branded fuel dealer and developing a master plan and a detailed terminal-area development plan.
The airport also recently completed a new, full-length parallel taxiway, which improves safety and opens new areas of the airport for development.
The improvements in services and facilities have led to a 225 percent increase in operations and a 603 percent increase in Jet-A fuel sales, as well as an increase in lease revenues, such as a 13-year lease with the Texas Department of Public Safety– Aircraft Sector.
A few months ago, the airport also recently broke ground on a U.S. Customs User Fee Facility. Edinburg Airport will become one of 36 airports in the country designated as user-fee facilities. While not qualifying as an international or landing-rights facility due to insufficient volume of business, user-fee customs airports provide customs services for a fee.
“After the customs inspection facility is built, we’re going to lose some ramp space,” said Melvin. “So one of our main priorities is going to be to expand the apron and extend the taxilanes so we can promote more private development.”
When asked what it means to win the General Aviation Manager of the Year award, Melvin says she is proud to be the recipient. She is also quick to credit the support of city and economic development corporation, her involvement with AAAE and that initial plane ride.
“There’s no doubt the city and economic development corporation want the airport to succeed,” said Melvin. “I want them to be proud of who they have running their airport.”
For more information about the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg, visit their website at http://www.cityofedinburg.com/airport.php or their Airnav webpage at http://www.airnav.com/airport/KEBG.
AOPA Names New President
Mark Baker, a native Minnesotan, has been selected by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as its new President. He becomes the fifth president in AOPA’s 75-year history. As a pilot for the past 35 years, Mark has accumulated more than 7,500 hours of flight time. He has been an aircraft owner and AOPA member since 1987. In his professional life, Mark has been involved in the home improvement industry, most recently as Chief Executive Office of Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corporation, a leading retailer of home improvement and garden products. Mark took office as the new AOPA President on September 6, 2013. We welcome Mark to his new post with AOPA and look forward to meeting him at the AOPA Aviation Summit in Fort Worth October 9-12, 2013.
We also thank Craig Fuller for his outstanding leadership during his tenure with AOPA and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
In this issue, on pages 14 and 15, we have also provided you with AOPA’s checklist on what to do if stopped by law enforcement.
Mike Nicely, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Texas Airport Development Office Manager, Retires
By the time you read this article, I expect that most of you will already be aware that Mike Nicely, FAA Texas ADO Manager, has retired. Although I am happy for Mike as he reaches this milestone in his life, I am truly sad to see him go. For many years, Mike has been my friend, supporter, advocate, and partner in our efforts to improve and maintain the Texas Airport System. On July 11, 2013, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Aviation Advisory Committee presented Nicely with an award that acknowledged “his outstanding leadership in fostering the relationship between FAA and TxDOT’s Aviation Division that has maximized the success of both agencies.”
Mike and his wife plan to spend the next five years touring American in their brand new recreational vehicle. Good for you Mike! Please stay in touch.
Educating the Next Generation of Aerospace Talent
Alamo Area Aerospace Academy offers real world, hands-on experience
By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
It’s 6 a.m. While the typical high-school upperclassman is snoozing away in bed, Jacob Treviño is already awake and catching a bus to his morning class at the Alamo Area Aerospace Academy. After a few hours of hands-on work on real engines and aircraft, he leaves again to catch the bus to attend regular high school classes. All before noon.
Such is the life of an Aerospace Academy student. And while the demanding program leaves almost no time for extracurricular activities, its graduates leave high school with half the credits they need for an associate’s degree, work experience, and—in some cases—a job offer from aerospace industry giants (and Port San Antonio tenants) Boeing or Lockheed Martin.
“You have to be motivated to be in this program, but it’s great to be associated with it, partly because of the connections you make while getting college credits,” said Treviño. “I want to succeed, and this program gives me a great opportunity to do that.”
The Aerospace Academy began in 2001 when Joseph Wilson, then the manager of staffing and development at Lockheed Martin, was seeking a solution to replace the company’s retiring work force. Wilson and his company recognized that training the next generation of skilled workers is fundamental to sustaining the aerospace activities that grew from seeds planted in the early days of aviation, grew to maturity during the era of Kelly Air Force Base, and now produce a new generation in the form of commercial/industrial aerospace at Port San Antonio.
Partnering with the aerospace sector, independent school districts, city hall and Alamo Colleges, a program was developed that would, they hoped, encourage teenagers to consider a career in the aerospace industry. Since its inception, the program has graduated over 300 students.
Students accepted into the competitive Aerospace Academy spend their junior and senior years of high school taking courses, at no charge, that count toward both a high-school diploma and a community-college degree. They also complete a paid summer internship hosted by an industry partner. The program has proved so successful, Wilson says, that about 20 percent of Lockheed Martin’s directly hired workforce now comes from the Aerospace Academy.
“We develop close relationships with these kids over their time here,” said Wilson. “I meet three times a year with every intern to go over their goals.”
Gene Bowman is the executive director of the Alamo Academies. In addition to the Aerospace Academy, there are three other vocational academies that specialize in health, information technology, and advanced technology and manufacturing.
“Our graduates are college proven and career ready by the time they finish high school,” said Bowman. “For our industry partners, the program is an essential part of growing their workforce.”
For more information about the Alamo Area Aerospace Academy, visit their website at http://www.alamo.edu/academies/aaaa/ .