Wingtips Spring 2015
The Racing Aces, Dianna Stanger and Joyce Wilson who won the 2014 Air Race Classic, awarded a $2,500 scholarship on Saturday, May 16th at the Southeast TX Fly-In to Yasmina Platt, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) Regional Manager of the Central Southwest Region.
The purpose of the Racing Aces Aviation Aces Scholarship for women is to provide funds to further the recipient’s pursuit of a career in aviation. The Racing Aces seek to empower women to contribute to the future of aviation through access to education.
Yasmina was born in the beautiful Canary Islands, Spain. Raised in Zaragoza, she has called the United States home for over ten years. Since childhood, she dreamed of becoming a pilot. Platt is a commercial pilot with instrument, multi-engine land, single engine land and single engine sea ratings as well as a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFII and CFI). She enjoys teaching and sharing her love of flying with others. She especially likes to introduce flying to young people who, like her, have dreamed of becoming a pilot. Yasmina holds a B.S. in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a M.S. in Transportation Planning and Management from Texas Southern University. She is also a Certified Member (C.M.) of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).
Her passion and commitment for aviation is evident in the number of professional credentials that she holds as well as the number of awards she has obtained. Her focus is aviation safety, outreach, research, education, and the promotion and protection of aviation.
In addition to representing AOPA member interests with state and local government officials, she hopes to stimulate and encourage greater involvement among pilots and aviation enthusiasts.
Platt is also an Adjunct Aviation Professor at Utah Valley University (UVU) having taught classes in aviation logistics, private pilot flying, business aviation, and aviation management. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband Jared, an airline pilot and GA supporter.
“It’s very important for our team to award these scholarships,” said Stanger. “The female pilot population is very low — only 6 percent! We’re doing our best to pay it forward and promote aviation. Yasmina is an excellent role model for any girl wanting to learn to fly. She is always willing to volunteer her time when we host aviation events.”
The team has awarded $12,500 in scholarships since 2012.
By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
After opening for business in 2011, Goldthwaite Municipal Airport (T37) continues to build upon its humble beginnings. Goldthwaite is located in Central Texas, about 40 miles southeast of Brownwood.
The airport recently completed construction on 10 T-hangars, a hangar apron, access road and garage storage area for a courtesy car.
“After we initially opened the airport, we heard from the pilot community that we needed fuel, we needed lights and we needed hangars,” said Goldthwaite City Manager Robert Lindsey. “The first thing we wanted to do was solidify our partnership with the golf course (which sits adjacent to the airport) and create a fly-in golfing experience to attract visitors to our area. We also built our terminal building in 2011, which is a multi-use facility, with support from TxDOT Aviation. It’s used for golfing events and other community activities. People who fly in have access to a clean facility with Wi-Fi, restrooms and a kitchen we are finishing. We want to expose non-aviation people to aviation and vice versa.”
Currently, the airport has commitments for six of the hangars with interest in three more.
“Obviously the commitments to the hangars before the project was complete shows that the demand was here,” said Lindsey. “The next steps for the airport are self-service fuel and lights, which will logically occur when we rehabilitate our 3,200-foot runway in a few years.”
In addition to golfers, the airport also sees air traffic from hunters and other private pilots who enjoy visiting the Hill Country.
Any advice for other towns looking to build an airport from the ground up?
“Stay patient, gather community support and use your available resources,” said Lindsey. “This airport is an economic magnet for this community. It is the most valuable one-mile of paved road in the county.”
By Rick Davenport
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Bobby Bateman can’t seem to make a clean break from the Mineral Wells Airport (KMWL). At 69, he semiretired last year, but continues to work half-time as the city’s airport supervisor — a position he’s held since 1997. Bateman owes his career to the city where he grew up, and to the U.S. Army’s helicopter pilot training school. Because of the military presence in his community, Bateman was exposed to aviation at an early age.
“I got hooked when I took a ride aboard a helicopter as part of the Civil Air Patrol club I was in during high school,” he said, describing how his life was shaped by that one event more than 50 years ago.
The Mineral Wells Airport was the product of World War II when the Army developed nearby Fort Wolters, now an industrial park but once the largest infantry replacement training center in the United States. The Army built a support runway on city property, which became the foundation for the airport after the war.
Following that ride on a Hiller OH-23, Bateman decided to join the Army. He became a helicopter pilot, serving in the Vietnam War. He continued as a pilot in the private sector and returned home to Mineral Wells, serving as a member of the airport board. He became the logical choice for airport supervisor.
“His career path has certainly followed the history of our community,” said Mineral Wells City Manager Lance Howerton, who hired Bateman 18 years ago. “He is a fixture at the airport. As a pilot, member of the board and supervisor, he has served this community well. And I do not get the sense that he is ready to retire for good.”
During Bateman’s tenure, the Mineral Wells Airport has undergone a series of extensive improvement projects, including a runway extension, pavement rehabilitation, an instrument landing system installation, terminal remodeling, LED runway lighting and security fencing. TxDOT recognized the priority the city placed on aviation and named Mineral Wells Airport of the Year in 2007.
As for its future, the airport is destined for more improvements.
“We are the only general aviation airport between here and Fort Worth,” Howerton said. “The Metroplex continues to grow this direction. There is no question that the airport plays a vital role in our local economy because it’s relied upon by oil company executives, the equine industry which is big here and the growing number of corporate executives who travel here for business.”
Nearby Possum Kingdom Lake and its prime real estate has also attracted wealthy homeowners, many of whom have the need for Mineral Wells’ lengthy runway.
The airport houses several avionics businesses which employ about 200 people. In fact, the Mineral Wells Airport is home to several autopilot manufacturers and is known in the industry as the autopilot capital of the world.
One of those companies is anticipating a major expansion and will need additional hanger space, according to city officials.
“Mineral Wells has certainly made aviation a significant part of its plans,” Bateman said. “That attitude has certainly made my job easier, but harder to leave. My retirement will surely happen someday. Right now, I just can’t imagine when that day will be.”
By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
After several years of upgrades, the Cleburne Regional Airport (KCPT) is ready to meet the needs of a growing city. Respected airport manager Sharlette Wright took over management of the airport several years ago after stints at Brownwood and La Grange.
“When I interviewed for this position, I told City Manager Rick Holden ‘just hand me the keys and don’t worry about it I’ll take care of it,’” said Wright. “Even though I knew this airport had more and different types of traffic than Brownwood, I felt very confident that I could do this job.”
One of the first needs Wright identified was improving the condition of the pavement, which was cracking.
“There was quite a bit to do in terms of pavement rehabilitation,” said Wright. “We overlaid and marked the runway, taxiway and hangar access areas. We still have some thin areas of asphalt but we’ll get there.” The airport installed LED runway lights and a few years ago constructed a perimeter fence and gates.
Wright also went to work on the hangars by repairing the doors, seal-coating roofs and replacing the roof of one that houses a paint shop. The paint shop is planning to begin construction on a $2 million facility this year.
“Hangar space is an issue here as we’ve had several people contact me wanting to come here but I have nowhere to put them,” said Wright. “I’m hoping that getting the facilities we have refurbished and also building new hangars will attract more corporate traffic.”
The airport has seen an increase in traffic and fuel sales; they are selling a load of fuel once a month compared with a load quarterly in past years. According to a 2011 economic impact of general aviation report, the airport generates over $7 million in total economic output and is home to 94 employees.
Wright also works with the community to show off the airport by hosting field trips, fly-ins, summer camps and getting kids involved with the everyday operations of the airport.
“I feed off their energy—the kids come out and get all excited. It keeps me going for a week!” said Wright. “I try to reiterate constantly to the community that this is your airport, come out and visit us. You don’t have to have a pat down to come see our planes.”
Lone Star Executive Airport (KCXO) in Conroe celebrated the opening of its new extension of Runway 14-32 during a March 23 ceremony that featured Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court.
The new 1,500-foot runway extension, constructed by Webber LLC, accommodates larger aircrafts and caters to more Montgomery County residents, said David Fulton, Texas Department of Transportation Aviation Director.
The extension brings the airport runway to 7,500 feet. Also included in the project was the construction of a new taxiway on the west end of the airport.
“This will now provide a capability to handle larger aircrafts and allow them to fly longer ranges to other cities,” Fulton said. “It will also bring an economic development impact to Montgomery County as it will allow more people to fly.”
Fulton said the engineering and construction of the runway extension projects was about $20 million. The grant funding for the project came from the Federal Aviation Administration’s airport improvement program. The program provides grants to airports to make capital improvements.
“The Texas Transportation Commission approved the grant and then the [Texas Department of Transportation] Aviation division managed the grant and construction,” Fulton said. “There had to be shown [by Lone Star Executive Airport that] there was a need for construction and now, because of the extension, larger aircrafts can operate at the airport.”
The runway extension is one of several major projects that airport manager Scott Smith has undertaken in the last few years.
Among the other notable accomplishments include:
- Overseeing construction of a $2.4 million customs facility which will enable international flights to fly directly to the airport.
- In January 2014, a new state-of-the-art fixed-based operation (FBO) opened a corporate and general aviation facility located at the south corner of the airport.
- Increased hangar space to 773,000 sq. ft. in 2013 from 174,000 sq. ft. in 1996.
The mission of Lone Star Executive Airport is to serve the needs of corporate aviation and local aircraft owner/pilot population in the North Houston/The Woodlands/Conroe area.
Lone Star provides a facility for locally based businesses and serves as a destination for corporate and business aviation; the airport contributes more than $33.3 million to the economic development in the region.
|Airport Name||Grant Amount||Project Description|
|Lancaster Regional Airport||$421,690||Design and construction services to install self serve fuel farm|
|Dallas Executive Airport||$9,380,329||Reconstruct Runway 13-31 from North Runway 17-35 intersection to Runway 31 end; reconstruct 17-35 at intersection 13-31 and reconstruct Runway 13-31 shoulders; reconstruct taxiway A1 and A5; realign taxiway for replacement A3; reconstruct portions taxiway A and D; demo taxiway A2; runway shoulder compression joint sealant; install new electrical components for replacement medium intensity runway lights; and install LED lights|
|Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport||$600,000||Reimbursement for construction services to expand and repair main entrance parking lot; construct auto parking; construct fuel loop roadway; and construct new entrance road|
|Burnet Municipal Airport – Kate Craddock Field||$8,522,910||Repair, overlay and mark Runway 1-19; expand apron; reconstruct and relocate taxiway and connecting stubs; relocate fuel farm and reconfigure terminal area; relocate road Runway 19 runway protection zone; replace medium intensity runway lights, replace electrical vault; relocate utilities; relocate wind cone and segmented circle and supplemental; and install and remove fencing|
|Castroville Municipal Airport||$2,808,920||Extend and mark Runway 15 end; extend and mark parallel taxiway to Runway 15 end; reconstruct South apron; construct permanent run-up area; hangar apron pavement to new 8 unit T-hangar; extend medium intensity runway lights Runway 15 end; relocate precision approach path indicators Runway 15 end; relocate County Road 4711; install fencing and gate with new boundary; and install signage|
|Fort Worth Meacham International Airport||$1,525,140||Demolish terminal area taxi lane pavement; construct and mark terminal area taxi lane; and relocate utilities terminal area taxi lane|
|Texas State Technical College -Waco Airport||$2,387,890||Reconstruct taxiway H to Runway 17R; reconstruct northern portion of taxiway A between taxiway B and H; rehabilitate and mark taxiway B|
|Port Isabel- Cameron County||$949,500||Joint seal, crack seal, slurry seal and mark Runway 17-35; mark chevron stub taxiway; seal PCC joints and mark terminal apron; install electric vault building with enviro additions; replace rotating beacon and tower; install emergency generators; install new tie downs on terminal building apron; and install hold signs|
|McKinney National Airport||$6,320,930||Reconstruct and expand terminal apron and relocate auto parking|
|Majors Fields||$1,674,155||Reconstruction of eastern taxiway K|
TxDOT’S New State Aeronautical Chart has Arrived
The new Aeronautical Chart is now available at no cost to the public. The Aviation Division staff will be distributing copies as they travel around the state. For those of you that signed up for a copy during our conference, they are already on their way to you. Others that would like a copy contact our office at 512/416-4500 or 1-800/68-PILOT or visit the TxDOT website at http://www.dot.state.tx.us/apps-cg/registration-forms/AVN/aeronautical-chart-form.htm.
2015 Texas Aviation Conference
The 2015 Texas Aviation Conference recently held in San Marcos was a huge success. With 550 attendees, the conference was one of the largest in our 33 year history. The highlight of the conference was the Awards Banquet featuring the presentation of awards for exceptional service to aviation in Texas.
For the full list of award winners, please see the related cover story.
The 2016 Texas Aviation Conference will be held in Conroe on March 9th thru 11th. Please make plans to join us.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
On February 15, 2015, FAA released a notice of proposed rulemaking for public comment which would allow commercial drones that weigh less than 55 pounds to be flown in the United States under certain conditions. The proposed rule limits flight to daylight and visual line-of-sight operations conducted by someone who is at least 17 years of age. Flights are limited to a maximum height of 500 feet, flying no faster than 100 miles per hour. The operator is required to see and avoid aircraft, taking action to prevent collisions. Drones cannot be flown over people except those conducting the flight. The operator of the drone must obtain an FAA UAS certificate by passing a knowledge test. Neither a pilot’s license nor an FAA medical certificate is required. The proposed rule maintains the existing prohibition against operating in a careless or reckless manner. It would also bar an operator from allowing any object to be dropped from the drone.
The comment period for this rule has now closed. Additional information will be provided as this process moves forward.
By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
(View the photo gallery at end of story)
Aviation professionals, supporters, exhibitors and enthusiasts converged at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Marcos April 15–17 for the 33rd Texas Aviation Conference. This year’s conference, which is sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Aviation Division, set an attendance record with 566 registered guests and 67 exhibitors.
The first day conference activities included the 6th Annual Alton Young Memorial Motorcycle Ride, which traveled through a scenic Hill Country route. Alton Young was a former Aviation Division employee and motorcycle enthusiast who passed away in 2010 after an illness. Other activities included a golf tournament, go-kart racing and a get-acquainted reception in the evening.
On Thursday, the morning began with the traditional presentation of colors by the San Marcos Police Department Honor Guard accompanied by a stirring rendition of the National Anthem by Brandon Kobayashi, eighth grader from Owen Goodnight Middle School.
Aviation Division Director Dave Fulton welcomed the guests and introduced the Aviation Advisory Committee members. Before delivering his annual state of the Aviation Division address, he noted that due to a recent health problem, Capt. Gene Cernan, retired U.S. Navy Pilot and NASA Astronaut, was unable to attend the conference and deliver the keynote. Fulton was hopeful he could attend next year’s conference in Conroe, which is near Cernan’ hometown of Houston.
Fulton said, “As I travel around the state, things just keep getting better and better and I think everyone in the room should take a lot of pride in what we’ve accomplished in the last 20 or so years. We had another great year issuing over $116 million in grants (for FY14) for airport improvements. Since 1992, TxDOT has invested over $1.3 billion in general aviation airports in Texas.”
Fulton also noted the continued growth of the Routine Airport Maintenance Program (RAMP), which matches local government grants up to $50,000 for basic improvements such as parking lots, fencing and other irside and landside needs. Two hundred and fifty-five airports participated in the program, nearly all the general aviation airports in Texas.
Fulton then spoke of aviation issues at the state and federal level, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill. The current FAA reauthorization became law in 2012 and expires in September 2015.
“We’re hopeful that Congress will get the work done to pass a new bill before the current one expires in September,” said Fulton. “I spent several days in Washington, D.C., recently to let them know our concerns and issues, which include the importance of having a funding program in place by September.”
Another topic Fulton discussed was a new bill called the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, which would allow pilots flying recreationally in a wide range of aircraft to no longer need a third class medical certificate. The new bill would allow private pilots to make noncommercial visual flight rules and instrument flight rules flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with up to six seats.
Fulton also noted the issues with unmanned aircraft systems, which since being introduced into the nation’s airspace have presented challenges for both the FAA and aviation community.
Fulton rounded out his morning address by recognizing Stinson Airport (KSSF) in San Antonio for reaching its 100-year in business this year. Located along the historic Mission Trails and near the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River, Stinson Municipal Airport is the nation’s second-oldest continuously operating airport. Pointing to the next century for Stinson Municipal Airport, a new air traffic control tower was slated to break ground in late 2014.
Fulton also congratulated Aransas County Airport Manager Gene Johnson for his upcoming retirement and thanked him for his service.
The morning session continued with a presentation on business aviation in Texas by Dr. Dirk Laukien, president and founder of Black Forest Ventures/Galaxy Fixed Base Operations (FBO). Laukien spoke of his aviation background and passion for providing the best customer service for his clients. Galaxy FBO opened in 2014 and is located at Lone Star Executive Airport (KCXO) in Conroe.
The morning session concluded with a presentation from Bill Payne, president, of William E. Payne and Associates Inc. about remote towers. These towers involve the monitoring and controlling of air traffic at low activity airports from a remote facility.
After lunch, conference goers had the choice of attending breakout sessions throughout the afternoon. Breakout sessions topics included:
- successful FBO management
- airport maintenance 101
- airport manager’s roundtable
- improving airport marketing
- managing an airport’s encroachment issues
- airport project development
- RAMP and airport consultant sessions
The second day concluded with the Awards Banquet, which was attended and assisted by TxDOT Executive Director LtGen Joe Weber. One of the highlights was the Texas Aviator of the Year award presented to Jim Schwertner, president and CEO of Schwertner Farms Inc., and former member of the Texas A&M Board of Regents and former chairman of the Texas Aviation Advisory Committee.
“This is truly one of the biggest honors I’ve had in my life,” said Schwertner, who was surprised to receive the award. “People like yourselves who are involved with aviation are very passionate about it, and I’m no different. Every time I go up in the sky, it’s an amazing experience.”
A complete list of award winners is available at the end of this story.
The final morning began with a presentation on the Seguin Auxiliary Field reopening and airport compliance issues. Then Fulton introduced the new president and CEO of the National Association of State Aviation Officials, Greg Principato, who spoke about his background, the impact of aviation on the country and developments.
The conference concluded with a TxDOT/DOT-FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and listening session.
“Every year we work to provide a wide range of topics that are of current interest to the aviation community,” said Texas A&M Transportation Institute research scientist and co-conference organizer Jeff Borowiec. “The fact that we had record attendance is exciting and bodes well for our future as we continue to grow this conference.”
Next year’s conference is March 9-11 at La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa in Montgomery.
All presentations from the conference are available at http://ttigroups.wpengine.com/conferences/tac15/program.php.
2015 Awards Presentation
Aviation Art Contest Winners:
Category I (Ages 6-9)
1st Place: Ava Liberty Smith, Garden Ridge Elementary, New Braunfels
2nd Place: Haily Zacarias, Dr. Pat Henderson Elementary, San Antonio
3rd Place: Elijah Oestreich, Winnsboro Elementary, Winnsboro
Honorable Mention: Dayna Coates, Dr. Pat Henderson Elementary, San Antonio
Honorable Mention: Celeste Kwi, HJM Elementary, Port Lavaca
Category II (Ages 10-13)
1st Place: Sreeniketan Sai Senapathi, Beckendorff Jr. High, Katy
2nd Place: Avery Pulley, Burnett Jr. High, Wylie
3rd Place: Annie Kingston, Burnett Jr. High, Wylie
Honorable Mention: Alejandro Coronado, Armendariz, El Paso
Category III (Ages 14-17)
1st Place: Chelsey Wen, Jasper High School, Plano
2nd Place: Daniela Saldivar, JB Anderson HS, Laredo
3rd Place: Geanine Dunovan, JB Anderson HS, Laredo
Honorable Mention: Kayla Justiss, Breckenridge HS, Breckenridge
Texas Aviation Awards Winners:
General Aviation Airport Manager of the Year—Clint Goff, Cherokee County Airport
Most Improved Airport of the Year—Hemphill County Airport
General Aviation Airport of the Year—Andrews County Airport
Reliever Airport Manager of the Year—Scott Smith, Lone Star Executive Airport
RAMP Coordinator of the Year—Tim Hertel, Wichita Falls District