|DATE 04/11/2005 9:28 AM|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.
Airport Manager Has Lofty Goals Aims to Attract More Pilots into Region
|David Fullmer has big plans for Mt. Pleasant’s little airport.Fullmer, the volunteer manager at the municipal airport, hopes to make some improvements and add new facilities aimed at attracting recreational pilots.” If we truly want to get people thinking that Sanpete County is a great place to see and visit, we need to widen the road a little, so to speak,” he says.
Once word gets out that there is a place that caters to those who fly for pleasure, the city and county will benefit from the increased traffic, he says.
Fullmer is working with city and county officials to try and make his ideas reality. A recreational pilot himself, he says it wouldn’t take much to entice recreational pilots to come into the region for an afternoon, a day or even longer.
“Our airport is unique among rural airports because it’s so close to town,” says Fullmer, who has managed the airport for more than a decade. Most rural airports are miles away from the nearest town, making it difficult for pilots to access services such as restaurants or motels.” But our airport is only about a half a mile from the edge of town, it gives us a lot of options.”
What Fullmer has in mind includes exploring setting up a campground at the airport for pilots. “It would be something totally unique. There are a lot of pilots, and entire networks of pilots, who would fly to a place just because they know that when they get there, they can put up a tent and stay overnight,” he says.
Of course, he adds, there are countless other attractions in the area that would add to the appeal factors: snowmobiling in the winter, fishing, mountain biking, and other recreational opportunities.
“Once the airport becomes known in the pilot community in Utah and the Intermountain West as this place that caters to pilot and as a great place to visit, all kinds of things can happen,” Fullmer says.
He also hopes to make aviation fuel available at the airport. “I’ve driven pilots into town before to purchase automobile fuel because there was nothing else,” he says. “To get more pilots to come here, we have to have fuel.” He also hopes to have rental cars available at the airport.
Currently, Mt. Pleasant’s municipal airport is home to a few recreational and business-use planes, with most of its general business coming from a local flight school.
Fullmer says he starting thinking up ways to attract more pilots into the region after state funding for small airports was eliminated a few years ago. One program he started is an annual “fly in” where pilots from all over come to Mt. Pleasant over one or two weekends.
This year, the fly-in will be held over the first two weekends in June. “Every year, I try something new and different to stir things up,” Fullmer says.This year, the first weekend will be for radio-controlled aircraft and ultra light planes, and the second weekend will be “for everyone else,” Fullmer says. This includes the “Young Eagle Rally” that is put on annually by the Experimental Aircraft Association. Aimed at enticing young people to aviation, the group offers free airplane rides to children as a way of getting them exciting about flying.
Mt. Pleasant city council member Monte Bona says attracting recreational pilots to the city and county is line with the larger economic development plan for the city’s Industrial Park, located near the airport. Having the airport become a hub of activity for recreational and even business pilots would be a natural fit with the Industrial Park, which has a goal of attracting new people and businesses to the community. The park is now in Phase 2 of development.For more information about the Mt. Pleasant airport, contact Fullmer at (435)462-3620 or in Salt Lake City at 801-966-0562. Information about the fly in is available online at www.sanpeteflyin.org. Fullmer may also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council