That’s Sue Jones, an organizer of the new Houston Airport Society, with Andy Sundahl, a flying instructor from Vanderhoof. Jones is one of a growing number of local pilots and the society is holding an information meeting Oct. 17. (Sue Jones photo)

Airport user group society being formed

Goal is to recognize, promote facility’s use

A society is being formed of Houston Airport user groups with the intent to promote improvements to the facility and to demonstrate its continuing usefulness to the community and area.

“We see this as a liaison between its users and the District of Houston,” said Sue Jones, a local pilot and one of those spearheading the formation of the Houston Airport Society.

The District is the owner of the airport and has been pondering its future, including decommisioning it.

That’s because a 2017 study commissioned by the District, places the cost of improvements at $4.2 million, a figure the District now says would have to be revised because of the time that’s passed since the study was done.

The asphalt surface would have to be redone as it is expected to significantly deteriorate after 2020.

But Jones said the society would be in a perfect position to work with the District council and demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment for the airport’s continued use when grants to senior governments and outside agencies are requested to finance improvements.

“We’re a like-minded group,” said Jones of the society’s members to date as they take in ground users as well pilots and aviation groups and companies.

Representatives from the local flying community belonging to the Houston Flying Club, drag racers, mud bog organizers, Westland Helicopters and civilian air search and rescue volunteers are to attend a meeting Oct. 17 at the airport clubhouse beginning at 7 p.m.

Jones said the variety of groups coming to the meeting already shows the level of cooperation and coordination that can be expected from the airport’s current users.

“Things will go a lot easier through the society,” she added.

The society still needs to draft a constitution and submit it and a set of bylaws and a list of directors to provincial officials to make its formation official.

Organizers are also asking the District of Houston council to appoint a councillor as a representative to the society and, perhaps, even be a director.

Jones said a recent growth in the number of local pilots helped stimulate the society’s formation. She said there had been an active and involved flying club some years ago and believes this is the first time a society made up of user groups has been formed.

The airport, which has a 3,999-ft by 75-ft runway, became operational in 1982, according to the district’s website. Pavement was added in 1988.

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