November/December | 2019
Tower Update
Greetings and Happy Holidays from the Tower!

Alex Gall completed the initial qualification training and earned his CTO certificate for SLN on 11/6. He is now in the regular rotation and the tower will be fully staffed for a brief period.

Adam Cregg received an offer from the FAA and a list of facilities to choose from. I expect he’ll be leaving around the first part of the new year.

A Senate bill with bi-partisan support has been introduced and if passed and enacted into law, would help address short and long-term staffing challenges at FAA contract towers. The FAA currently has a mandatory retirement age of 56 and retired controllers face an annuity penalty until reaching age 62. The result is many of those retirees choose not to work for Federal Contract Towers. The proposed bill is similar to the exception that Congress provided FAA controllers who became ATC instructors. SLN has one employee that would benefit from the change.

Please keep the PIREPS coming so we can get the information disseminated to all.

Happy Flying!

Jay Hatchett
Air Traffic Manager
Salina (SLN) FCT
Busy Was the Buzz Word in 2019

Tim Unruh
December 2019

Jam-packed calendars and itineraries could make a case for space on the Salina Regional Airport and Airport Industrial Center’s 2019 promotional posters.

Every season this year has been abuzz with activity, putting more trucks and visitors on Centennial Road, and causing folks to notice prosperous activity in airspace above western Salina.

There was also plenty of action on the tarmac, taxiways, and runways.

The agenda was jobs and payroll, and both were delivered as more tenants moved into Salina Airport Authority hangars and buildings, prompting promise for more growth in 2020.

Demand kept airport workers busy as inquiries found their way to airport authority offices.

2019 results were satisfying to Tim Rogers, SAA executive director.

“Since 1965 the Salina Airport and Airport Industrial Center has been a contributor to the economic vitality of Salina and Saline County. Businesses and Organizations located here account for over 6,000 employees and 14% of total Saline County employment.”

Progress came in bunches, thanks to a stellar team, and that impressed Kent Buer, chairman of the Salina Airport Authority, also president and CEO of First Bank Kansas.

“The word I point to is ‘growth.’ It’s been a really busy year,” he said. “A lot of things happened behind the scenes that are basically opportunities for 2020 and beyond.”

Major players in the development include the City of Salina, Saline County, Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, Salina Area Chamber of Commerce and the Salina Community Economic Development Organization.

“The Salina Airport Authority isn’t doing this in a vacuum. It takes partnerships,” Buer said. “There are a lot of conversations and teamwork, and without it, some of these things aren’t gonna happen.”

Passengers flocked to M.J. Kennedy Air Terminal, loading United regional jets with passengers and luggage bound to and from Denver, Chicago and beyond. Success prompted discussions of adding flights and destinations. Total passengers through October reached 16,133with November and December yet to be added to the total.

Those numbers place a pleasant spotlight on the work of Gary Foss, owner of the ArkStar Group, Salina Airport Authority’s air service consultant.

“Gary is very good at working with Tim (Rogers), saying ‘Here are the options.’ Then they go to SkyWest and United and try to formulate what they can do at the Salina Regional Airport,” Chairman Buer said. “A lot of times, they plant seeds that take root. Gary’s been a great resource for us.”

Activities were many.

“It’s been a really good year,” said Julie Yager-Zuker, general manager of AvFlight, the fixed base operator at Salina Regional Airport, that serves as the fuel stop for corporate jets, military aircraft and numerous airlines.

The company also serves all types of general aviation aircraft. “We’re getting the smaller corporate jets. It keeps us busy on top of everything else,” she said. Special events enhanced fuel sales totaling 2.082 million gallons through October, just a tad under 2018’s totals after 10 months, 2.190 million.

“We had our share of things going on this year, for sure,” Yager-Zuker said, mentioning troop movements, training, and other fuel consuming activities.

“It has been a lot busier both ways,” she said. “There were people renting cars, going to the hotels. Everybody had to travel.”

Emergency response snared a focus this year with the arrival of LifeSave Transport in September.

The Wichita-based company offers air ambulance services from Hangar 504, with 12 full-time employees and four part-timers. The company is seeking to add one more part-time flight nurse.

“Things are going fantastic,” said Courtney Bachrodt, director of business operations, after the Nov. 7 LifeSave ribbon cutting. 

The ground and critical care company has placed a helicopter, staff and crew around the clock. The hangar also has space for a King Air fixed wing aircraft.

“The base is staying busy. It has proven to be a good location and a valued resource for the community and surrounding communities,” Bachrodt said. “It’s just been a really good fit for us.”

Demand for professional pilots has been so high that the airlines were hiring flight instructors too fast, leaving K-State Poly shorthanded in September, given growing enrollment, Prof. Troy Brockway, professional pilot option coordinator, said in an airport authority story in September.

The U.S. Air Force continued its Junior ROTC Flight Academy at K-State Poly and 10 other campuses for a second season this past summer, is an effort to help fill the military need for pilots. 

Not far from the airport’s north end is Big Bertha — the huge Hangar 959 — rising from relative hibernation to house a promising expansion in 1 Vision Aviation, a large jet repair, maintenance and overhaul company. By 2022, the Sioux City, Iowa-based firm is still on track to employ up to 450 mostly airframe and power plant mechanics.

Simultaneously, nearby Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, has ramped up its aircraft maintenance program. Several K-State Poly students are now employed part-time at 1 Vision. Student numbers in aviation maintenance is also growing, Prof. Andrew Smith at K-State Poly said in a recent story, thanks to program changes and having 1 Vision Aviation near the Salina campus.

More than newcomers are adding to the prosperity of the Airport and Airport Industrial Center. Take Kansas Erosion, for example. The company, based on the southwest corner of the industrial complex, uses primarily wheat straw to make erosion blankets and straw waddles.

“The construction business has been really good and that’s created a lot of demand for our products,” said Steve Ade, president and co-owner with brother Larry Ade.

Kansas Erosion imports jute netting from Indonesia and coconut fiber from Sri Lanka. Some products are exported to Canada, but most is shipped to midwest and western states — all the way to California.

One key change this year boosted Kansas Erosion’s sales and employment. The company employs 29 full-time workers and up to 20 part-timers.

“The airport has helped us out by leasing us another big warehouse (Building 655, Unit A, 33,992 square feet). That’s given us a lot more capacity,” Steve Ade said. The company now leases more than 68,000 square feet.

The extra space allows Kansas Erosion to make blankets and waddles throughout the winter, preventing seasonal layoffs.

Being fully stocked in the spring, he said, “allows us to increase our sales because of storage capacity.” 

It’s evident that the airport and industrial center is receiving a facelift, which is refreshing to Buer.

“It’s fun to see everything getting cleaned up, with new asphalt and concrete,” he said. “It’s a sign of progress.”
Did You Know?

As of Nov. 1, the Salina Airport Authority reported 71 percent of its hangar, manufacturing and warehouse space at the Airport and Airport Industrial Center is leased — a 29 percent vacancy rate.

Compare those numbers to April 2014, when 58 percent was occupied, and 42 percent was vacant.

Facts from 2019

Scheduled aviation events attracted an estimated 1,814 visitors to Salina. They stayed in town an average of 21 days, producing a direct economic impact of nearly $4.6 million.

Those included:

  • Project TORUS (Targeted Observation by Radar and Unmanned Aerial Systems of Supercells), May 13 through June 27.

  •  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association project used hi-tech equipment on   ground and in the air to study supercell thunderstorms that produce tornadoes, with the goal of enhancing forecasting.

  •  Jaded Thunder, Aug. 1-19: A live-fire Special Operations Command, brought roughly 900 personnel to Salina, for live day and night, fixed wing and rotary aircraft close air support training and artillery.

  • FIREX-AQ, Aug. 18 through Sept. 9: NASA and NOAA delved into the influence of fires in the western and southeastern United States on regional and global environments. A team of 200 scientists, students, pilots and crew spent 3 1/2 weeks in Boise, Idaho, tracking western wildfires in a DC-8 transformed into a flying laboratory. Half of the group moved to Salina Regional Airport Aug. 20 to focus on agriculture fires and prescribed burns, mostly targeting the southeastern U.S. until Sept. 5.

  •  Another team of scientists will return to Salina during summer 2020, flying the ER-2 High-Altitude Airborne Science Aircraft.

  • U.S. National Aerobatic Championships, Sept. 19 through 27: The contest attracted 90 pilots from New Hampshire to California, staged by the International Aerobatic Club. Salina will host the 2020 championships on IAC’s 50th anniversary.

  • Other aviation events included the National Air Tour of Historic World War II Aircraft, Sept. 4 through 8, staged by the Commemorative Air Force.
First Eight Years Fruitful for UFP in Salina

Tim Unruh
November 2019

Business might be better than good for Universal Forest Products, boasting twice the space and more than thrice the employment in eight years.

“I would say the facility has exceeded expectations,” said Landon Tarvin, general manager of operations for UFP, based in Harrisonville, Mo.

The company that makes wooden shipping crates opened at Salina Airport Industrial Center with approximately seven employees working out of the west half of Building 620 at 1940 Arnold.

“We’ve expanded into the other half of that building (now leasing 30,000 square feet),” Tarvin said.

UFP’s main customer here Land Pride of Great Plains Manufacturing. Others are Caterpillar and K-Tron in Salina and Tenneco of Seward, Neb., a maker of emission systems and other components for large equipment.

“When Great Plans has a new product, their engineers will design a pallet, and our engineers will look at it and make sure it’s something that is possible,” said Kevin Wilson, UFP production manager.

“Then we get the blueprints here at our shop to build it,” he said.

Most of the company’s common crates take no more than four minutes to build. Others may require up to half an hour, Wilson said, using standard yellow pine wood.

Universal Forest Products builds more than 400 different unit designs, using mostly nails and nail guns.

The crew works in six “work cells,” each producing up to 130 crates a day; collectively up to 780. “It takes a lot of pride,” Wilson said.

Workers construct three-fourths of each pallet before shipping it to the manufacturer. “They put the product in and finish it off with three or four boards. We cut all the lumber and ship it to them,” he said.

Helping make the crates is a passion for Wilson over the manager’s chores. He’s been working six years at the Salina shop.

“I try to get out there and build as often as possible,” he said. “I love it. I was born for it.”
Lindsey Dreiling joins Kansas State Polytechnic as executive director of aviation strategy

Kansas State University
November 12, 2019

Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus has hired its first executive director of aviation strategy to help position the school as a global leader in the aviation industry.

Lindsey Dreiling, who most recently served as deputy director of aviation and unmanned aircraft systems for the Kansas Department of Transportation, has been hired for the new position at Kansas State Polytechnic and will be responsible for fostering and growing partnerships between the school and the aviation industry, as well as broadening access for underrepresented groups in aviation.

"As the executive director of aviation strategy, Lindsey also will be spearheading our Global Aeronautics Initiative," said Alysia Starkey, CEO and dean of Kansas State Polytechnic. "This initiative has been developed because of Kansas State Polytechnic's unique ability to leverage the convergence of rapid technological advancements in manned and unmanned aeronautics, demand for advanced systems and processes from those systems, and educational opportunities due to the increasing demand for qualified and certified technical experts."

Starkey said since Kansas State Polytechnic is already an important asset to the industry as a respected pacesetter in aviation education, Dreiling's experience puts her in an excellent position to spearhead the new initiative.

An experienced commercial fixed-wing pilot, certified flight instructor-instrument and a multiengine flight instructor, Dreiling also has experience with drone operations, holding a small unmanned aircraft systems pilot certificate.

In previous positions with KDOT, Dreiling served as chief of unmanned aircraft systems, helping lead the first statewide unmanned air traffic safety program and taking part in the U.S. Department of Transportation's UAS Integration Pilot Program. She also served as KDOT's manager for marketing outreach.

Dreiling is an alumna of Kansas State Polytechnic, earning dual bachelor's degrees in professional pilot and technology management in 2007. She also earned a master's degree in student development from K-State. She has served Kansas State Polytechnic as an advising coordinator, aviation admissions representative and certified flight instructor.

"Aviation is in my soul and I am excited to serve the industry by fostering the next generation of aviators in a community known for its excellence in aviation," Dreiling said.
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Feature Facility

Hangar 509
2734 Arnold Court

The Salina Airport Authority has available for lease, a 45,532 sq. ft. hangar located at the Salina Regional Airport.This is a great location on the field as well as easy access to I-135 & I-70.

Commonly known as Hangar 509, this well maintained facility features 27,672 sq. ft. of hangar bay and 17,859 sq. ft. of office and/or shop space.  Hangar 509 is a perfect location for any business or regional jet, MRO or aircraft storage facility and is equipped with a fire suppression system.
Call Shelli Swanson at the Salina Airport Authority today at 785-827-3914 to schedule a tour, or email
On the Flightline at America's Fuel Stop
A Year in Review ~ 2019
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