The Upper Cumberland Regional Airport is gearing up for their first Air Fair to be held Oct. 22 and Oct. 23 in which they hope to entertain the public, while bringing a sense of community awareness to their facility.
“I hope the event will bring an awareness to the general public about what kind of airport they have,” airport manager Dean Selby said. “I want to connect with the community and let them see what we have and what we do for them. There’s a lot that happens at this airport that is in the background of the community. I hope that we can show the public what we can do and what we are capable of.”
The Air Fair, which Selby says he hopes will become a regular event, will include food and craft vendors and live music both days. There will be a car show, on Saturday, and a Glow in the Dark 5K, on Friday. There will be airplane and helicopter and tethered air balloon rides, all available at an additional cost, both days. Both days there will also be an Paradigm Paramotor Aerobatic Demonstration and a drone light show after dark.
“Everybody come on out and enjoy the weekend and the fun,” Selby said, adding that parking will be in the Industrial Park so there will be plenty of room for the community. “Tickets are available online, and we will also be selling them at the gate.”
In addition to the Air Fair, the airport has been busy with air traffic as they have continued increasing fuel sales, seeing an almost 5,000 gallon increase from this time last year.
“We are still seeing a continuing upward increase in air traffic and sales from this time last year,” Selby reported to the airport board.
In other managerial news reported to the board during their Oct. 12 meeting, Selby said Jet Right hangar status was still in a holding pattern, but Jet Right had leased office space at the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport and would begin moving some of their operations to the facility in December of this year.
Selby also reported they would begin the process of opening ditches to tie the airport’s lines into the city sewer lines instead of the existing septic system.
“We have to move the septic lines because that is where the ramp is going to be for the Jet Right hangar,” he explained. “We’ve known this was coming for several years, so it isn’t a surprise to us. In order to continue growing as an airport, we will have to move these lines and connect into the city’s.”
Other news along the lines of growth came with the announcement that the airport had been put on the military charts for larger C-17 and KC-135 aircraft.
“We are the eighth airport in state of Tennessee to be approved for C-17 aircraft,” Selby said, explaining that the military can now use the airport at anytime without having to get special permission, as they have pre-approval. “This is a huge asset to our airport in the terms of growth. It’s like skipping three steps toward our ultimate goal.”
Other news included they are still on “standby” for waiting for Fuel Farm funding from the state.
“We are way over budget, but the projections were from two years ago before the cost of steel rose dramatically,” Selby said, adding that the delay was at the request of the state to wait for the building of the fuel farm and that the $829,777 was more than double the original budget. “We are the last Fuel Farm that will receive funding from the state or federal governments, but our project was started before the rule change, so they have agreed to continue to help us.”
Upper Cumberland Regional Airport Board meets on the second Tuesday of every month, with the next meeting scheduled for Nov. 9.
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