SPLASH ARTICLE

April 1st

By Gary Vacin, Publicity Director

 

SLAC members visit Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport                                            

 

          Thirteen Sun Lakes Aero Club (SLAC) members and guests participated in a field trip to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Feb. 27th. Patrick Oakley, director of community relations for the airport, briefed the attendees on the facilityís history and current status.  Even though one million people live within a half-hour drive of the airport, many donít even know the airport is here, he told the group..

 

          The airport opened in 1994 at the location previously occupied by Williams Air Force Base, which closed the previous year. Ground was broken for the base in 1941, and Williams AFB became the U. S. Air Forceís foremost pilot training facility.  More than 26,500 men and women earned their wings during the next 52 years.  The base graduated more student pilots and instructors than any other base in the country and supplied 25 percent of the Air Forceís pilots annually.

 

          Allegiant Air is one of the airportís primary tenants.  The airline has expanded rapidly, and Gateway completed construction of a 10,000 square-foot annex facility and adjacent outdoor courtyard.  Future plans call for a new terminal to be completed east of  the runway.  The airline now provides service from Phoenix to 20 mid-size cities throughout the country.

 

          Other airport tenants include three flight schools, two air ambulance services and major maintenance facilities for Cessna and Hawker-Beechcraft.

 

          The visitors then boarded a shuttle and took toured the airport, viewing many private and military aircraft, including perhaps the only F-104 fighter jet still in flying condition.  SLAC members and guests participating in the trip included Gary West, Bill Johnson, Al Galvi, Guy Parker, Ray Malgradi, Harold Thomas, Bob Walch, Gary Vacin, Bob Delong, Earl Cuyler, Jim Space, Richard Simmons and Ray Winenger. .

 

February 012smGatway

            

Sun Lakes Aero Club members are shown in front of the only

F-104 fighter jet still in flying condition during a field trip to

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport February 27: (l-r) Bill Johnson,

Al Galvi, Guy Parker, Gateway community relations director

Patrick Oakley, Ray Malgradi, Harold Thomas, Bob Walch,

Gary Vacin, Bob DeLong, Earl Cuyler, Jim Space,

Richard Simmons, Ray Winenger.

 

          Now in its 15th year, SLAC sponsors numerous field trips and fly-ins each year.  The club meets the third Monday of each month from October through May at the Sun Lakes Country Club.  Additional information is available from the SLAC website, www.sunlakesaeroclub.org, or by calling Bob Walch at 480-895-8869 or Al Galvi at 480-802-0104