IF YOU GO
What: Open house
Where: Cleveland Regional Jetport, 251 Dry Valley Road NE, Cleveland, Tenn.
When: Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.
What: $15 airplane rides, aircraft displays, flight instruction seminar
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Cleveland Regional Jetport will host an open house Saturday.
The catered event starts at 10 a.m. at the terminal building on Dry Valley Road in northern Bradley County. The open house will offer $15 airplane rides, aircraft on display and chances to meet airport staff, aircraft owners and pilots, officials said. The jetport also will host a seminar on flight instruction at 2 p.m.
The open house will highlight the progress the jetport has made in the three months since it opened, said Mark Fidler, the airport's director of operations. The facility's flight instruction school is one of those highlights, he said.
The flight school, recently transferred from Hardwick Field, Cleveland's old airport, has contributed significantly to jetport activity, Fidler said. Instructional flights account for up to 80 percent of the 26 flight operations -- takeoffs and landings -- the jetport averages each day, he said.
The balance of air traffic typically comes from visiting aircraft, according to airport officials. From the jetport's opening, it has received two to three transient aircraft a day on average, said Taylor Newman, director of operations for Crystal Air, which services the facility.
Fidler said several of those visiting flights involve jets transporting Whirlpool personnel and other corporate visitors, demonstrating the facility's role in economic development.
The Cleveland Regional Jetport is a necessity for a city trying to position itself as a leading center of economic growth, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland told community leaders recently.
Implementing instrumental flight paths via global positioning is the next milestone on the horizon for the jetport, Fidler said. The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing flight path and inspection data for the airport, he said.
"We were actually having trees cut down as they were overflying the approach path for the flight check, and that was the last obstacle we had to meet in this development phase of the airport," said Fidler of an FAA flight inspection that was performed last week.
He said Cleveland Regional Jetport approaches are expected to be listed in FAA databases by June 27. Normally the registration process takes up to two years, Fidler said.
"Thanks to our local political influence from Rep. Brooks and Congressman DesJarlais and others, we've been very fortunate to have them help convince the FAA to expedite the process," he said.
Hardwick Field, which no longer accepts visiting air traffic, is set to close permanently early this summer. Airport officials have said they plan to sell the airfield property as soon as possible.