by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune
---- — The Logansport/Cass County Airport was named the Aviation Association of Indiana’s Airport of the Year at its annual conference in Plymouth Thursday evening.
“When I got the call, it was a big honor,” said Tim Dalton, manager of the airport. “To be identified as one that stands out — that industry peer recognition is huge. It’s a statement about what we’ve been able to do in the last eight to 10 years.”
An airport’s role in promoting aviation safety, education, economic development and corporate sponsorship are all evaluated when selecting the Airport of the Year, said Bert Giesler, executive director of the Aviation Association of Indiana. This year marks the tenth year the association has bestowed the honor, which saw four other applicants along with the Logansport/Cass County Airport.
Giesler said the committee that makes the decision is generally made up of airport managers who have applied for the award in the past, making them adequate judges of the applications.
“One of the things they were most impressed with is how the airport has grown,” Giesler said of the committee’s decision.
Dalton said he wrote about the airport’s additions over the years in the application, including its runway extension, new T-hangars and Terminal Operations Center.
Dalton said the T-hangar additions have led to a capacity of 25 units, which he said he expects to be filled by the end of the year.
“It was a culmination of many little things,” Dalton said. “It makes you sit back and appreciate it a little more.”
All of these efforts have allowed the airport to contribute to the community’s economic development, Dalton said.
“During the worst economic time I’ve ever seen in my life, we’ve actually increased traffic by 40 percent,” he said.
“We’re the only corporate class airport between Fort Wayne and Lafayette,” he continued, adding “the pieces are in place” for commerce with the community’s air, highway and rail capabilities all complementing one another.
Community outreach efforts were also mentioned in the application, like the airport’s annual Airport Awareness Fly-In/Drive-In and Young Eagles Flight rally.
The award includes a $1,000 cash grant to be given to an eligible aviation organization of the airport’s choosing, which Dalton said will go to the Logansport Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1471.
Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin, Cass County Commissioner Ralph Anderson, Cass County Councilman Jim David and several other local officials attended the event Thursday in Plymouth.
Dalton said he was thankful for their support and the support of many others in the community.
“It’s our base pilots and our customers and the entire community that make this airport what it is,” he said.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or email@example.com. Follow him: @PharosMAK