It’s been 10 months since the 18/36 runway reconstruction project was completed at the Sedalia Regional Airport, and Director John Evans said business has been booming ever since.
The roughly $3 million project started in July 2014 and the new runway was open for business Nov. 26, 2014. Ideker Inc., the project contractor, even won the Reliever and General Aviation Airports project award from the American Concrete Pavers Association for the best pavement in 2014 for the State of Missouri.
Evans said business came back “very strong” and fuel sales have increased substantially this year.
“We are up, in AvGas, the 100LL, this month alone is 46 percent, up about 60 percent this year,” Evans said. “Our jet fuel business is up this month alone 251 percent. We’ve been getting a lot more transient traffic.
“I’ve had airplanes land that have been here before that say, ‘My gosh, it’s so smooth, so nice.’”
Evans said the airport gets traffic from small corporate jets that can’t make the coast-to-coast trip without a stop for fuel. It also typically serves 60 to 70 planes on their way to “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but this year there were more than twice as many stops.
“This year we had 167, and neat stuff,” Evans said. “We had a B-25 Mitchell World War II bomber, we had an F-4, which is one of the original fighter jets. We got to see a lot of neat airplanes.”
In addition to the new runway, the Sedalia Regional Airport now has self-service fueling. The new service started in July and allows pilots who fly in at night to fuel their own plane without the hassle of the airport having to call in an employee after hours. Previously, planes were flying just a little further to other airports that already offered self-service.
Evans said the service is going well, with an average of 100 customers a month.
“It’s 20 cents a gallon cheaper than full-service,” Evans said, mentioning they still help fuel larger jets at night. “Most of the guys that are flying their own small airplane, if they’re putting in 100 gallons, at 20 cents a gallon that adds up. Also, once it was installed, there are a lot of websites where people check for fuel prices and we’re on all those sites.”
Specific plans aren’t in place yet, but the airport will see more construction projects over the next five years, Evans said, including re-leveling the main ramp, fixing taxi lanes around hangars, widening a runway, and reconstructing the taxiway to extend it to the end of the runway.
While construction prevented the airport from hosting its annual Fly-In last year, the public is invited to the Breakfast Fly-In and Air Show from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the airport, 1900 E. Boonville Road. Evans said about 3,500 people attended the 2013 event.
Breakfast will be all-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, juice and coffee by Chris Cakes from 8 to 11 a.m. Cost is $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. The Sedalia Civil Air Patrol will sell hot dogs, chips and pop for $1 each starting at 1o a.m.
Starting at 9 a.m., Johnny Rowlands, of KMBC in Kansas City, will offer helicopter rides for $40 per person.
“We’ve had people who will come back and fly two years in a row,” Evans said. “He’ll take them up and go over downtown and down at the high school. That’s fun.”
An air show from Team Vortex and Radial Rumble will begin at 10 a.m. Also on hand will be the Kansas City Dawn Patrol with World War I replica aircraft. The Air Evac Lifeteam will have a helicopter on display along with other displays from the Sedalia Fire Department and Pettis County Ambulance District.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.