Airport panel gets a flying start on aviation show, open house

Sept. 14 event to make public aware of facility

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comJanuary 17, 2013 

The date has been chosen for an aviation show.

Airport Advisory commissioners Wednesday announced the open house and aviation show will be held Sept. 14.

The Airport Advisory Commission is partnering with the Chamber of Commerce to show antique and modern planes and helicopters as a way to get the community familiar with the Los Banos Municipal Airport.

"It's basically so we can show the airport off," Commissioner Alan Wilber said. "There's so many people who don't think we have a viable airport."

Wilber said the Los Banos airport is an evacuation point for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That means that if a major disaster happened in another part of the state, Los Banos Municipal Airport could be used as a relocation base, which can include becoming a housing camp, staging area or storage facility for food supplies.

Commissioner Heiko Stichel wants the aviation event to become annual without growing so big that it is financially unfeasible.

"I think it's important to have a good scale that fits the community to make it a fun event," Stichel said. "Sometimes these events start small and then grow as the years go. I don't think we have deep pockets, so we couldn't spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on it."

Commissioner Larry Leonardo said he's working on getting emergency services personnel to participate in the event.

"I'd like to get Cal Fire over here, some people that do search and rescue," he said. "Unfortunately, what happens is the fires and stuff that time of year, so it's touch and go on whether they can be here."

Leonardo said he's also interested in getting the Merced County Sherriff's Department aviation division to participate.

"This is something not just used by the local people, but also for emergencies to help other communities," he said.

Commission Chairman Daniel Beasworrick sits with Chamber of Commerce members on a committee for the aviation event. The Airport Advisory Committee tried to hold the event last year but started planning too late to beat cold and rainy weather. Beasworrick said the event will not be postponed this year.

"I have personally spoken to airport professionals as to how to proceed on this, so this is solid," he said.

Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6563 or by email at cpride@losbanos

Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6563 or by email at cpride@losbanos

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