This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Airport festivities

On Saturday, May 22 the Jasper County Airport had an open house and a runway dedication. (If you followed this blog last year, you probably got tired of the many posts I had about the construction of the runway. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. So you knew I was not going to miss this event if I could help it.)
There were several planes parked near the terminal (for lack of a better word) for people to check out, but not touch. There were plans for about 15 planes to fly in, but very low clouds prevented flight by those who do not rely on instruments.
One of the featured attractions was Beth the Ventriloquist and her strange looking friend. She had planned two shows, one at 11:00 and another at 12:30. There were too few people for a formal show at 11:00, and at 12:30 I was busy exploring parts of the airport and I missed the show. Beth is a frequent performer at the Rensselaer Care Center.
The airport runway expansion received a couple of awards that the airport management and the contractors were proud of.

At 11:30 there were several short speeches. The airport manager, John Sjaardema listed the improvements that had happened in the ten years since he came. The size of the maintenance hanger has been doubled; a new six-bay hanger has been constructed; an automated weather advisory station or AWAS (or AWOS) was installed (and you can hear what it has to say by dialing 866-7167); a taxiway paralleling the north south runway was installed (you can see it in the picture above), improving safety; a new, brighter lighting system is in place; and finally, the main runway was expanded and some of the taxiway and parking surfaces got new asphalt.

Following Sjaardema, Andrew Andree, the president of the Jasper County Airport Board of Commissions spoke. He acknowledged the contractor and NGC, the aviation consultants who have done much of the planning. A final speaker was to be Brandt Hershman, but he canceled.

Below you can see the audience listening to the presentation. This building, by the way, is used by the experimental airplane enthusiasts to build or rebuilt planes. In the foreground you can see that lunch is almost ready.
Only two of the fifteen planes or so planes from around the area that had planned to attend made it, but a flying rainbow provided a bit of spectacle.
Then it was time for the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Everyone was invited to get into the picture.
And many of them did.
After the ribbon cutting, there was a lunch of hot dogs, chips, and soda. Then people were free to wander around and see what was there. What I found will be the subject of some future posts.

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