SLN Airport Reporting Points
October 2018
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From the XD's Desk: 
Airport Authority Tenants Featured
This issue of Reporting Points features two Salina Airport Authority tenants that are taking their success to new heights. Contributing writer Tim Unruh has profiled Avflight Salina and Kansas Erosion, LLC in two articles that you will find interesting. Both businesses are part of a thriving Airport and Airport Industrial Center that is home to over 100 businesses and organizations that account for over 6,549 Saline County jobs.

Looking ahead, the November issue of Reporting Points will be a "special issue" that highlights the successful launch on United Express/SkyWest Airlines jet service from Salina to Denver and Chicago. The issue will detail the growth in passengers at the Salina Regional Airport and responses from passengers.

Thank you for reading this month's issue.
"Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying." Neil Armstrong

Tim Rogers, A.A.E.
Executive Director
Salina Airport Authority
Salina Regional Airport & Airport Industrial Center

Avflight Salina
A Welcome Mainstay at America's Fuel Stop
Tim Unruh
October 2018

Since positioning itself at the Salina Regional Airport (KSLN) nearly five years ago, reporting to work at Avflight Corporation is like attending a daily reunion for the staff of 14.

This tiny community has  sealed numerous alliances in a short order.

"We're one family," said Julie Yager-Zuker, Avflight Salina's general manager who began her career at the airport nearly 30 years ago. "I have a good team and we've worked hard to get where we are."

As a true leader, Yager-Zuker shares her professional acumen with Salina Avflight's staff, which includes some younger students that attend the nearby Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus.

But the familial feel of the Avflight culture extends past the company's staff members. Avflight's neighbors at Salina Regional Airport and Industrial Center are part of the close clan as well, along with thousands of customers, including a growing list of regulars.

"We have help from the airport, and that connection with the Salina Airport Authority that's brought us all a lot closer," she said. "We couldn't ask for a better relationship with the airport than what we have going now."

Avflight serves the airport and its customers as a full-service fixed base operator (FBO); as such, the  company is responsible for assisting the region's flying public with its aviation needs, from aircraft fueling to hotel reservations and everywhere in between. Avflight Salina is just one of 20 locations at which the  company-based out of Ann Arbor, Mich.-provides such services and is currently enjoying a top-ranking position in the Avflight network.

This past spring, Avflight named Salina its "2017 City of the Year." The honor was based on several criteria, including growth in customers and fuel sales, safety audits, training, and meeting budget and other  financial goals, said Carl Muhs, Avflight's president based out of Saginaw, Mich.

"We really had a successful year," Yager-Zuker said. "We surpassed our budgetary goals and conducted  operations with the utmost consideration for safety."  Yager-Zuker said the designation encompasses a plethora of considerations. And according to Muhs,  leadership is among them.

"Julie has been a fixture in Salina for many years and has been an important part of stability and growth in our marketplace," he said. "It makes a big difference."  It's that leadership that has led the team to produce some impressive numbers that paint a glowing picture.

Comparing year-to-date fuel delivered at Salina Regional Airport in September 2014 versus YTD  September 2018, the totals nearly doubled, said Tim Rogers, executive director of the Salina Airport  Authority.  "I credit that growth to Avflight's ability to service all types of aircraft and provide world-class service,"  Rogers said. "The Avflight team is recognized throughout the aviation industry as the 'best of the best.'"

According to Muhs, Avflight is embraced at Salina and he's pleased with the great job his staff has done while cementing the airport's longstanding claim as "America's Fuel Stop."  "It certainly has been a very successful four-plus years," said Muhs. "We have a tremendous relationship with the airport authority and have successfully partnered on many projects together."  Muhs pointed to Rogers and Shelli Swanson-the airport authority's director of administration and  finance-and their staff in developing the airport and commercial properties.  "I wish every airport was that easy to work with," said Muhs.

Corporate flying in Salina remains a strong business, but the Avflight president and his Salina manager agree there are other factors helping the FBO flourish in north-central Kansas.  "The numerous military operations, along with testing and certification from aircraft manufacturers, has  brought a line of business to Salina that we haven't seen in the past," Muhs said. "That's really increased the volume of traffic on the field."  It's this vibrant, growing Salina community and region that has, in turn, helped Avflight grow.

"I really enjoy working with the aircraft and the corporate side of the aviation industry," said Yager-Zuker.  And that corporate business is booming.

Avflight serves doctors associated with the University of Kansas School of Medicine - Salina Campus weekly. In addition, workers and executives from Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company in McPherson, are frequent customers.  "With the new businesses in downtown Salina, we're hopeful it will generate even more corporate traffic for the airport," Yager-Zuker said. "It's interesting how many people we support on a day-to-day basis, which is fantastic."

There are also occasional celebrities-including television and movie actors, professional athletes,politicians, and other VIPs-who stop in when corporate and private jets land in Salina to fuel up and continue to other destinations.  "They're just regular people, like you and I, and they like to be treated that way," Yager-Zuker said.
There is no name-dropping at Avflight.  "We don't ogle and ask for autographs, and that's one reason they like coming in here," she said.  Regardless of fame, Yager-Zuker added, "we treat them all with the same excellent customer service. It's top-notch, and that's the way they're going to get it, no matter who walks through that door."

Getting to "that door" is a more enjoyable experience these days thanks to roughly $1 million in airport authority improvements to Beechcraft Road leading up to the FBO. Landscaping was added to a smoother paved driving surface that greets visitors to Avflight and aims to give travelers an improved first impression of Salina.
"It's a very nice upgrade," Yager-Zuker said.

In addition to Avflight gracing the westward destination, guests can enjoy Fossett Plaza bordering the  airfield.  The plaza is a memorial to late adventurer Steve Fossett who became the first to fly solo, nonstop around the world in the fixed-wing GlobalFlyer during the spring of 2005. The 67-hour flight took off and landed at Salina.  "People really seem to enjoy the plaza and learning about Fossett's story," said Yager-Zuker. "I frequently see people utilizing the benches and reading the signage."

Also, among Avflight Salina's sources of pride is its ability to please palates.
"We still do catering, which is pretty unique," said Yager-Zuker. "Customers really enjoy the convenience of that service."  In addition to catering, free popcorn and chocolate chip cookies are also staples at Avflight Salina.  "We like to make customers happy," Yager-Zuker said. "We all work together to accomplish that mission."

For more information visit Avflight Salina.

Ade Brothers Add Value to Kansas' Staple Crop

Tim Unruh
October 2018

Whiffs of wheat harvest waft year-round through a big building just southwest of Salina, where workers at Kansas Erosion, LLC toil in two shifts, six days a week.  They make blankets and wattles (co-owner Steve Ade calls them "sausages") from wheat straw and coconut fiber, for customers nationwide.

"Any construction that involves disturbing the soil needs an erosion control plan," Ade said.  Whether a homeowner endeavors to impede runoff water while planting a new lawn, or a construction company aims to preserve dirt work from washing out on a new highway project, KE products are in demand.

Erosion control is one of his niches in the growing market that is served in a rented 69,000-square-foot Salina Airport Authority building at 3600 Airport Road.  The main raw ingredient, by far, is wheat straw, what's left over in the field after combines mow through every summer, removing the valuable grain from a dead plant.  Wheat stubble is traditionally left in the field and the nutrients are either tilled into the soil or break down naturally in a no-till farming operation.  Others light a match to their stubble to save on the fuel needed to chop up the residue and mix it back into the soil for another crop.  Some stubble is swathed, baled and stored to use as bedding for animals, or even as insulation or other building products.  

Ade, 64, homed in on marketing wheat straw 14 years ago - after a 29-year career with the Salina Fire Department - and began selling bales of it first to horse barns to litter stalls, mushroom farms as mulch, and then erosion control plants all over the United States.

After noticing an efficiency issue with the latter market, he founded Kansas Erosion with older brother Larry Ade, of Derby.   "I would say to them, 'Why not build a plant here rather than have to ship raw materials," Ade said. "When they didn't, I bought a plant in California and moved it here (2015)."

A large blanket machine came with the deal, capable of turning roughly 55 pounds of wheat straw into an 8-by-112-foot erosion blanket in 3 1/2 minutes. Ade doubled KE's capacity this past March when he purchased a new blanket machine from Germany. It cost more than $1 million. 

Today, Kansas Erosion employs 49 people full-time. The plant operates 19 hours a day in two shifts, six days a week. 

Kansas Erosion swaths, bales, and hauls the residue from nearly 40,000 acres a year, off fields from Wichita north to Belleville. The erosion plant uses 8,000 tons of straw a year, Ade said, which equates to 16,000 bales that are 3-by-4-by-8 feet, weighing from 1,050 to 1,100 pounds each.  Coconut fiber, imported from Indonesia, is blended with the wheat straw to make a longer-lasting erosion blanket.  Four "bale buster" machines tear apart the raw products and blow it into the blanket makers, like a "big sewing machine," Ade said, and extruders pack it into the tubes.  "A computer tells (the bale busters) how much straw to put on the blankets," he said.  Netting that holds together the straw and coconut fiber blankets and tubes is either biodegradable vegetable-based fiber that breaks down within six months to two years, or Polyfiber netting that lasts 2 to 2 1/2 years, Ade said. Polyfiber is "photo-degradable."  Leftovers from wheat harvest used to be called a "waste product," Ade said, but demand for it has grown to the point that the straw is a commodity of its own.

Ade sometimes wonders why he chooses such long hours, but admitted to having a good time building the business. 

"I enjoy every day of it," he said. "We've got a lot of good people working for us."

Among them is Ken Stout, who is in charge of shipping, receiving and sales for the Kansas branch. 

KE has a partner, Cherokee Manufacturing, in Minneapolis, Minn.

"Success at Kansas Erosion is due in large part to our plant manager, Brent Spellman," Ade said. "None of this would've happened without him."

For more information visit Kansas Erosion 
United Meetings

Getting the team together has never been easier with service now to two of United's biggest hubs - Denver and Chicago!!!   And a little known fact is that United Airlines offers discounts for as few as ten people into and out of Salina Regional Airport (SLN)!  
Whether for business, or getting the family together for the holidays, go to, register and book your meeting.   You will be sent a promo code to share with attendees.  Further details can be found online at

For more information visit TSA Travel Tips
Available Properties

Feature Facility 
Bldg. 820, 2413 Hein Avenue

In the market for office space?  If so, check out Bldg. 820 located at 2413 Hein Avenue. 
This well-maintained facility features 2,256 sq. ft. of office space that includes 3 private offices, a break room and one larger room that could easily serve as a conference room or be partitioned into several cubicle-style workspaces.    
Located adjacent to the Kansas State Polytechnic campus, this office building is move-in ready with a rental rate that's negotiable!
Call the Salina Airport Authority today at 785-827-3914 to schedule a tour or email

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