The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Excelsior Springs Standard.
Like many Standard readers, I’ve been keeping up on the latest Excelsior Springs
Memorial Airport issues. I have attended city council meetings where I’ve listened to
supporters of the airport try to make their case and I’ve heard and read the mayor’s retort concerning airport issues.
I won’t comment on council proceedings, newspaper articles or letters to the editor here. I’d rather address some of the statements made by the city manager in her article posted Jan. 31, 2019 on one of the city’s websites. Her statements are in quotation marks.
“City continues to support aviation enthusiasts.”
This depends on one’s definition of support. There are few, if any, fully enclosed or open T-hangars spaces to rent, and no aviation fuel available. At present, it’s an unattended facility or, attended by those lacking fundamental knowledge of airport operations, etc. Are these good examples of continued city support?
“Municipal airports are often an integral part of smaller communities. While many of them simply contain grass runways or a single hangar, they still provide an invaluable service. There is an important link between an airport and a community’s economic vitality.”
From this, it’s apparent the city manager recognizes that the Excelsior Springs Memorial Airport, when operated as an airport, has potential benefits for the city.
Also mentioned in her article was the past involvement of Dan Kirkpatrick in the airport’s operation. Down through the years, there have been several Fixed Based Operators (FBOs), each contributing something for the betterment the airport. In all probability though, Dan and Barbara Kirkpatrick’s efforts top the list. Unfortunately, both have passed. I can only imagine what they would have to say if they were here to see the airport today.
“Over the past 15 years or so, the city has struggled to find ways to keep the airport operational from the revenues generated by aviation.”
Understandable when you take into account how, little by little, airport services have been whittled away.
“Our community’s proximity to a metro area is in many ways an economic advantage. The Metro’s regional aviation system plan (RASP) for the nine-county area describes the 14 airports included in this plan.”
RASP identifies Midwest National, located in Kearney as a publicly owned regional airport and the Excelsior Springs Memorial Airport as a publicly owned business airport.
“The RASP studied a 10-mile radius around each of these airports. The ten-mile radius of the Excelsior Springs airport eclipses Midwest National and much of the Roosterville study areas.”
The 10-mile (surface area) radius of the Excelsior and Midwest National airports overlap a major portion of each other. The Excelsior 10-mile radius overlaps considerably less than half of Roosterville’s.
One of the objectives of this study was to “estimate” the total impact those chosen airports would have on the rate of growth in population and employment within the 10-mile radius up through the year 2040. For those who might be interested in seeing all that the study included, along with the results, and if you have access to the internet, do a Google search for Aviation System Plan Mid-America Regional Council.
“Roosterville is a private airport with a grass runway and exists to support recreational flying for hobbyists and aviation enthusiasts.”
Roosterville is a “privately owned” airport; it’s not a private airport as such. RASP further identifies it as a community airport. This airport also has a 2,780-foot long by 20-foot wide asphalt runway which the city manager neglected to mention.
“The Excelsior Springs Airport is considered a business airport and as such, the RASP identified $8.3 million in improvements needed to meet all of its facility and service and performance measure objectives of a business airport.”
Here’s a question for you: how can our airport be considered a business airport when it currently does not meet all the facility and service and performance measure objectives required of a business airport?
To be continued.