Palestine Magazine January 2019 - Page 25

AIR TRAVEL Palestine in Flight W ith assistance from the city, the Palestine Regional Airport on Highway 287 has applied for money from the Texas Department of Transportation to ex- tend its main runway to 6,000 feet. The Crosswinds runway is 5,005 feet long and 100 feet wide. For safety reasons, the airport allows only one flight to land or depart at a time. The state would pay 90 percent of the cost to extend the main runway; the city would need to pay the rest. Most people travel to Dallas, or another metro area, to catch a flight. Several local companies, however, now prefer flying in and out through the Palestine Regional Airport. The proposed runway extension would allow more planes to land or depart. TxDot will decide whether Palestine’s air traffic numbers justify extending the runway. “The most important aspect is that, with a longer runway, larger companies could fly here,” Mayor Steve Presley said. Seven miles outside of Palestine, the Municipal Airport provides a valuable resource for larger businesses operating in and around An- derson County. Sanderson Farms, for example, flies employees and supervisors to and from other plants, said Palestine Fixed Based Operator Daniel Adkinson. The airport also serves larger businesses by taking corporate em- ployees to and from Palestine. It’s a stopping point for pilots needing fuel, as well as a flight school. Fuel is the airport’s bread and butter, Adkinson said, as planes are not charged to land or take off. Fuel purchases are self-serve, so a plane can land, fuel up, and take off without much assistance from the airport. In November, the airport reported 108 fly-ins, as well as the sale of more than 738 gallons of AV gas and 3,140 gallons of jet fuel. Ad- kinson said there are 150 arrivals and departures in a typical month. Nearly 30 local planes and 35 transient planes land or take off weekly at the Palestine airport, but time and frequency of flights fluctuate. The airport has a small area where pilots and their passengers can snack, nap, or even shower. Also available is a courtesy car for pilots wanting to travel to town. The airport has four runways in four directions; it can handle planes from a larger Gulfstream to corporate jets. Pilots flying into Palestine are not required to tell the airport their plans to land or take off. Because Adkinson leaves the airport at 5 p.m., there is often no one there to meet the pilots after landing. There are four hangars at the airport; the newest one is 100 feet wide by 150 feet long and can handle up to eight planes. It costs $50 a night to park airplanes at the hangar. Many pilots flying in to Palestine, however, do not use a hangar. Courtesy photos JANUARY 2019 25