ROCHESTER — The recent addition of a 10,000 square-foot airplane hangar is expected to boost the value of Fulton County Airport in a variety of ways.
The hangar, constructed during the past 1 1/2 years, is being leased to Wakarusa-based King Aero Aviation Services, an aircraft maintenance company, which took possession Oct. 1. The initial lease is for 10 years.
“It is one of the largest general aviation maintenance facilities in Indiana,” said Dan Funk, president of the county’s aviation board.
The public is invited to attend an open house “in and around the hangar” from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, according to Funk. “Come out and see one of the front doors of our community. I think they will be proud of it.”
The open house includes a meal of pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans and “the full spread,” said Funk.
“I’ve committed to a catering order for 700 people, so I would like to see as many come out as possible. Come out and eat or I will get fatter,” he quipped.
The new hangar allows a multilevel ripple effect of benefits, according to Matt Woods, airport manager.
“We will benefit by the lease income from our large investment,” said Matt Woods, airport manager. “We will also benefit with more hangar rents as they are filled, increased fuel sales and higher operation counts.”
The airport manages 10,000 takeoffs and landings annually.
“One of the things that is exciting for the airport is the more we can increase operations count the more leverage we have for federal funding,” said Woods.
The hangar was financed without debt, said Funk, who has served on the airport’s board of directors for 12 years. “We’ve been saving up for this sizable capital project since we became an airport authority more than a decade ago. We have shown it is possible that you don’t have to sell bonds or borrow money. That is how I was brought up,” he said.
The hangar brings three full-time jobs to the community. “We really pride our airport on our partnership with the county and the citizens,” said Funk. “The taxpayers have always been supportive of the airport.”
Woods and Funk addressed a misconception about access to the airport. “The general public is always welcome to stop by the terminal building and ask questions,” said Woods.
“People ask me questions but don’t come in,” said Funk. “The airport is always open for visitors. Feel free to give us a call, but especially stop out for lunch on the 18th.”
The FAA “for many years pushed us to fence our airport for security and wildlife reasons, but there has always been a little pushback on our end,” said Woods. “We don’t want to seclude ourselves.”
“We want everybody to visit the airport and see on-site what we do,” said Funk.
The airport is located east of Rochester at 545 SR 25. For more information, call the airport at (574) 223-5384 or visit www.fultoncountyairport.net.