Half-off fuel discounts urged to promote 'fly-in' at FLW airport
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2009 10:32 pm
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Feb. 26, 2009) — The civilian portion of the joint-use airport at Forney Field on Fort Leonard Wood has a problem: even though it’s clearly marked on flight charts, many private pilots don’t realize they can land civilian planes on a military installation.
At Thursday evening’s meeting of the Waynesville-St. Robert Joint Airport Board, Scott Murrell, a representative of a new local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, proposed a way to get more attention for the airport.
“We envision having a fly-in,” Murrell said. “If you’re not familiar with that, you have a breakfast and get people to fly all kinds of interesting aircraft into a single location. Also, you get the general public to come out to see some interesting aircraft.”
Responding to questions, Murrell said there would be no admission charge. In fact, Murrell recommended that the airport offer a discounted half-off price on Forney Field’s fuel rates, which are already some of the lowest in the area, to attract additional aircraft.
“Interesting aircraft” would be flown in and parked at the airport for visitors to see up-close as static displays rather than as fly-bys seen only at a distance, Murrell said.
“We have already talked to LifeLine helicopter and we are talking to someone who has a B-52 bomber,” Murrell said.
Other aircraft coming could include a Civil Air Patrol plane from Lebanon that would show area residents what a new local unit of the Civil Air Patrol could do if it obtained an aircraft, Murrell said.
Waynesville City Administrator Bruce Harrill said he liked the idea of a reduced rate for fuel to attract aircraft and noted that the two cities have obtained a $100,000 marketing grant for the airport.
“We could use some of those funds to attract the airplanes to give them a discounted price on the fuel. We will have to run it through the marketing people, but if they say ‘yes,’ we can do it,” Harrill said.
Harrill noted that Airport Manager Chris Schrantz believed it’s necessary to put a cap on the number of gallons of fuel that would be sold at the discounted price, which might be as much as 50 percent off the standard rates.
“We don’t want a 747 to come in and fuel up with 1000 gallons,” Harrill said.
Airport board member Randy Becht asked how many planes could be expected to come for a fly-in, but Murrell said he didn’t know.
“This is a first-time event,” Murrell said.
St. Robert Alderman Todd Williams told Murrell some sort of estimate is needed for planning purposes.
“If more show up we are not going to come gunning for you,” Williams said.
Waynesville Councilman Michael France said he liked the idea of a fly-in with discounted gas and said he’d like to offer the discount in the future, even if it’s too late to get approval from state marketing officials to offer it at a spring fly-in.
“If we don’t do it this time, I think we want to set up something so we can capture the people who are coming in,” France said.