The City of Tullahoma is pleased to announce that the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC) named the Tullahoma Regional Airport/William Northern Field as the 2017 Airport of the Year at the annual Airport Conference held in Murfreesboro at the Embassy Suites March 20 – 22. This is the first time that the Tullahoma Regional Airport has won this prestigious award out of the seventy-nine airports in state.
“The Tullahoma Regional Airport has participated in some very special events in addition to continuing to develop capacities for economic development – all while supporting their standard flying activities,” said TAC Division Director, Bill Orellana.
“We are proud of the work being done by the team at the Tullahoma Regional Airport, and we want to thank the TAC for this fantastic recognition,” said Tullahoma Airport Authority Chairman, Dr. Don Daniels.
The Tullahoma Regional Airport has been aggressively continuing pavements maintenance projects while pursuing multiple economic development opportunities. Since 2013, the Tullahoma Airport has built two aprons on the NW side to include a maintenance hangar, hosted two privately funded maintenance hangars and an access road. Additional development includes concrete ramp repairs, remarked the primary runway, and rehabbed some very old taxiways, giving access to the new Tullahoma Business Airpark. These projects amount to nearly $4 million in construction and have attracted a DOD contractor, Sarasota Avionics and XP Services avionics installer.
“The small, dedicated airport staff does a great job ensuring a welcoming and professional environment to both pilots and patrons. And the Airport Authority members have a demonstrated history of providing strong leadership and vision,” said Mayor Lane Curlee. “I congratulate all associated with our airport on jobs well done. I am proud of everyone’s efforts.”
Other factors that made Tullahoma the 2017 Airport of the Year include, “The Tullahoma Airport has over 140 based aircraft and experiencing approximately 40,000 flight operations per year. The airport has realized record fuel sales for three years in a row. The Tullahoma Airport is home to the University of Tennessee Space Institute Flight Research Center, Vanderbilt Life Flight, and Skydive Tennessee and are the annual staging base for the Bonnaroo Music Festival. The operation is in outstanding fiscal condition,” said TAC Division Director, Bill Orellana.
An additional asset that resulted in this award is the fact that the Tullahoma Airport is home to the world class Beechcraft Heritage Museum, who entertains many visitors, especially during the very well-attended yearly Beech Party fly-ins. Beech aircraft come from all over the country, and the ramp fills with historic, restored planes.
The Airport and the museum also attracted the attention of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). They selected Tullahoma as the Southeast Regional Fly-in location for 2015. Regional fly-ins have replaced the old annual AOPA convention, and have taken AOPA closer to their membership by moving around the country to multiple locations each year. Tullahoma saw 375 airplanes make their way through rough weather to attend safety seminars, talk with vendors and suppliers, and network with others interested in aviation.
Article by Winston Brooks, Tullahoma City Public Information Officer