Airport

Marana Regional Airport To Host U.S. Marine Memorial Service

Marine Memorial at Marana Regional Airport/Photo courtesy Tucson Local Media

Marine Memorial at Marana Regional Airport/Photo courtesy Tucson Local Media

Tom Wilson, Sr., Commandant of the Nighthawk 72 Marana Detachment #1344 Marine Corps League, announced today that there will be a Memorial Service at the Marana Regional Airport on Saturday, April 6, 2018 at 10:00AM to honor the 19 U.S. Marines that were tragically killed in an MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft accident at the Airport on April 8, 2000. 

The ceremony will include posting of colors by the Marine Corps; wreath laying by various organizations; guest speakers Honorable Mayor Honea, Department of Arizona Marine Corps League Commandant John Rodriguez, and Cpl Joshua Hanson, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines 0331 Machine Gunner; rifle salute, taps, bagpiper and vocalist Amanda Sinner. 

A special missing man formation flyover provided by the Scorpion Squadron of the West Coast Ravens Formation Team. 

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The event is free and open to the public. 

March 16, 2019 the roadside memorial was moved slightly northeast and a parking area was created. The new area is more suitable for the ceremony. 

 Additional Background Information The MV-22 Osprey Tilt rotor aircraft was conducting a training mission in support of Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) when it went down at the Marana Regional Airport in Marana, Arizona on April 8, 2000. During the mission, the crew and Marines conducted Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) exercises as part of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course, with Marines embarking and disembarking the aircraft. The mission was conducted at night utilizing night vision goggles and forward looking infrared radar to enhance night operational capability. This mishap aircraft was part of the Multiservice Operational Test Team, based at Patuxent River, Maryland, but was temporarily attached to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. 

The 19 Marines Lost were as follows: 

3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division 
Sgt. Jose Alvarez, 28
Pfc. Gabriel C. Clevenger, 21 Pfc. Alfred Corona, 23 
Lance Cpl. Jason T. Duke, 28
Lance Cpl. Jesus Gonzalez Sanchez, 27
Lance Cpl. Seth G. Jones, 18
2nd Lt. Clayton J. Kennedy, 24
Lance Cpl. Jorge A. Morin, 21
Cpl. Adam C. Neely, 22
Pfc. Kenneth O. Paddio, 23
Pfc. George P. Santos, 24
Lance Cpl. Keoki P. Santos, 24
Cpl. Can Soler, 21
Pvt. Adam L. Tatro, 19 

 Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38, Marine Air Control Group 38 
Cpl. Eric J. Martinez, 21

Marine Helicopter Squadron 1
Maj. John A. Brow, 39
Maj. Brooks S. Gruber, 34
Cpl. Kelly S. Keith, 22

Marine Tilt-Rotor Training Squadron 204
Staff Sgt. William B. Nelson, 30 

Marana In The Media: Bringing history to life in Marana

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The Marana News had a story about this weekend’s Wings of Freedom tour at the Marana Airport.

An interactive tour coming to Marana gives the term “history lesson” a whole new meaning. This WWII plane tour brings real, fully restored World War II-era planes to Marana for a chance to brush up on history and experience what it was like to be around these giant metal birds.

The Collins Foundation is an educational, nonprofit organization that puts the “Wings of Freedom” tours together. Going to over 30 cities across the United States, the tour will take place at the Marana Regional Airport from March 29 to 31. 

The Town of Marana has been one of the tour’s stops for about 15 years, giving the community a little piece of World War II history no one else could provide. Attendees can even hop inside of each plane and take it up into the air with a pilot for a fee. 

Read the rest of the story at the Marana News.

The Wings of Freedom Tour is coming to the Marana Regional Airport from March 29-March 31.

The Wings of Freedom Tour is coming to the Marana Regional Airport from March 29-March 31.

January 2019 is General Aviation Appreciation Month in Marana

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At the January 15 Marana Town Council meeting it was proclaimed that January 2019 would be proclaimed as General Aviation Appreciation Month.

The proclamation states that the Town of Marana has a significant interest in the “continued vitality of general aviation, aircraft manufacturing, aviation educational institutions, aviation organizations, and community airports.” Additionally the proclamation recognizes the important economic impact the Marana Regional Airport has on the Town of Marana and surrounding areas.

As part of the proclamation, Marana residents are urged to “support the businesses and industries that contribute to general aviation as an important public benefit to the community and economic resource to the region.”

The Marana Regional Airport is currently in the midst of a $6 million improvement project that includes paving reconstruction, lighting upgrades, and drainage improvements.

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Marana News: Marana Regional Airport to receive $5.5 million grant

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Photo by Tucson Local Media.

The Marana Regional Airport will receive a $4.5 million grant to repair an aircraft parking apron, and a $1 million grant to repair a taxiway.

The news came as part of U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announcement that the Federal Aviation Administration will award $770.8 million in airport infrastructure grants, the third allotment of the total $3.18 billion in Airport Improvement Program funding. 

“These Airport Improvement Grants are investments in our country’s critical infrastructure,” Chao said.  “These grants are down payments to ensure Marana Regional Airport remains an economic engine as demand grows...”  

Grants help fund airport repairs

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On Tuesday, July 19 the Marana Town Council approved the Town Manager to execute a grant agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration for funding to aid in the Marana Regional Airport’s Apron and Taxiway Rehabilitation project.

The Marana Regional Airport will undergo total reconstruction of the asphalt for several aprons and one of the taxiways. This $5.1 million project will pay a number of dividends for the airport and the Town of Marana. 

“First and foremost, replacing the surface will make it safer,” said Marana Regional Airport Director Steve Miller. “As the surface gets older, it begins to degrade and can become dangerous to both people and planes. With corporate jets costing as much as $85 million, it is very important to make sure debris does not damage aircraft.”

This project is a complete removal and reconstruction of approximately one million square feet of pavement. The project will not only restore the surface, but improve it. Marana Regional Airport was never designed for jets and, save for the runways, the pavement was not meant for the larger aircraft that now land at the facility on a daily basis. The strength of the existing pavement is currently not sufficient to support the weight of some of the private jets that park on the aprons. The new pavement will be designed to accommodate the weight of the aircraft that utilize this airport.

The new surface will also be cost-effective because it will require less maintenance. Currently, staff must sweep the pavement and remove debris that builds up over time.

“With less focus on the pavement, staff can turn their attention to other operational needs,” Miller said.

The FAA grant is for $4,497,369 while the Arizona Department of Transportation will contribute $220,769. The cost to the Town is $476,724 some of which will come from other FAA monies that were set aside by the airport in anticipation of this project. Additionally, the Town is working with Pima Aviation to enter into an agreement to be reimbursed approximately $132,717 for the ineligible construction costs that are a benefit to Pima Aviation's operations.

With this reimbursement the Town's costs would be reduced to approximately $327,142. 

Marana News: Marana performing strong through third quarter

Photo of the Marana Regional Airport by Tucson Local Media

Photo of the Marana Regional Airport by Tucson Local Media

Marana News published a story on Marana's third quarter financials on June 13.

As Marana finishes the third quarter of the current fiscal year, revenues continue to exceed expenditures, with few exceptions.

In the airport fund, expenses continue to exceed revenues; although the gap is shrinking. Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta said it’s rare for a general aviation airport, rather than commercial, to generate enough revenue to cover its expenses. Mehta added that the airport is estimated at bringing $18 million annually to the region in the form of jobs, local spending from visitors and money spent on luxury items such as high-end hotels and timeshare jets.

The airport is “generating wealth for the entire region,” Mehta said. “Don’t count it as a debt. Count it as an investment.” 

Future of Marana Regional Airport taking shape

There is a lot going on at Marana Regional Airport. Town staff are constantly working on ways to improve the facility and provide better service to those using the airport, whether they are long time tenants or travelers making a quick stop in Marana. 

Improvements at the airport are funded in a variety of ways, but the most significant improvements occur through grants. Since 2013, the town has collected $9.7 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Arizona Department of Transportation.

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At the end of August, the Marana Regional Airport will undergo total reconstruction of the asphalt for several aprons and one of the taxiways. This $6.3 million project will pay a number of dividends for the airport, and the town. 

First and foremost, replacing the surface will make it safer. As the surface gets older, it begins to degrade and can become dangerous to both people and planes. With corporate jets costing as much as $85 million, it is very important to make sure debris does not damage aircraft. 

This project will not only restore the surface, but improve it. Marana Regional Airport was never designed for jets and, save for the runways, the pavement was not meant for the larger aircraft that now land at the facility on a daily basis. The new pavement will be strengthened nearly three-fold over the previous surface, which not only makes it safer, but adds longevity. 

The new surface means less maintenance. Currently, staff must sweep the pavement and remove debris that builds up over time. With less focus on the pavement, staff can turn their attention to other operational needs. 

The reconstruction project will last about six months and, despite some temporary inconveniences to areas of the airport, I really believe the end result will be worth it. 

The FAA will fund the bulk of the project with their grants, paying for over 91 percent of the costs. ADOT and the Town of Marana will each cover about 4.47 percent of the project, with the airport using additional discretionary funds that come from the FAA. Every year, the FAA gives General Aviation Airports such as Marana $150,000, which the airport can bank for up to four years to fund a major project. 

Grant money also helps town staff plan for the future. Back in 2014, the town used grant money to update its Airport Master Plan and create a Strategic Business Plan. The master plan lays out how the Town envisions airport growth and expansion over the next 20 years. The plan not only provides a valuable guide for the future, but having the plan makes the town eligible for FAA and ADOT funding.  

The growth of the airport is predicated on bringing in more businesses and air traffic. These goals are addressed by the Airport Strategic Business Plan. The plan establishes strategies to achieve business goals, further establishes a vision for the facility and creates a focused strategy for development. 

Part of the current strategy is to reach out to corporations and its pilots to market the airport. It is typically pilots, not the passengers, of private jets who choose which airports to utilize. The airport will be more proactive in reaching out to organizations like the National Business Aviation Association and promoting Marana Regional Airport as a viable alternative to Tucson International Airport and other regional options. 

Keeping existing businesses and courting new businesses to Marana is also a key component to the future growth of Marana Regional Airport. The Town Council just approved new and consolidated leases with Pima Aviation Inc. that are going to be beneficial to both the town and businesses. 

The military uses Marana Regional Airport for over 22,000 operations a year. Military and defense are other avenues where the airport could continue to grow.

With over 300 days of sunshine and little in the way of competition, Marana is perfectly suited for new businesses. Marana Regional Airport hopes to bring an additional flight school to Marana, and staff has had many positive discussions. There is a looming airline pilot shortage, and flight schools are a lucrative business in the current climate.

So why should the town invest in the airport? Current estimates have Marana Regional Airport generating between $18 million to $20 million for Marana and the region. In fact, one of the reasons the Ritz-Carlton chose Dove Mountain was the proximity to the airport.

There are a lot of exciting things happening at the airport and many more to come. Much like the Town of Marana itself, Marana Regional Airport has room to grow and expand, and the best is yet to come. 

Steve Miller is the Town of Marana Regional Airport Director.

Marana Macro Machines: educational and fun

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The Town of Marana capped off Public Works Week 2018 with the first Marana Macro Machines event. Upwards of 1,000 people showed up to Marana Heritage River Park to check out all of the vehicles from Public Works, Police, Northwest Fire District, and more:

  • Public Works provided vehicles, demonstrations, and a few giveaways. 
    • The Public Works Department had a wide variety of vehicles including a motor grader, a dump truck, a wheel loader, a drum roller, and more.
    • They gave children a hands on demonstration on how they locate and mark pipes, gas lines, and power lines underground. 
    • They handed out free flowers, ice pops, and plastic hard hats. 
  • The Marana Police Department provided vehicles, demonstrations, and music.
    • Among the vehicles on hand were patrol cars, motorcycles, and SUV's. Children were allowed to explore the police vehicles, including turning on flashers and talking into the radio. 
    • Pima Regional SWAT had their armored vehicle on hand as well, and children were allowed to climb in that vehicle as well. 
    • The Marana Police Explorers, teens learning about law enforcement, conducted a simulated traffic stop. 
  • Traffic Engineering and Traffic Operations provided displays and presentations. 
    • Among the displays were information on traffic signals, traffic control plans, roundabouts, and traffic signs.
    • They handed out stickers made from the same reflective material that is used on stop signs to make them visible at night. 
  • The Marana Water Department provided the water purification display vehicle. 
    • The vehicle opens up to show all of the various filtration and purification processes including chlorine disinfection, granular activated carbon, UV/advanced oxidation, reverse osmosis, and ultrafiltration. 
  • Animal Services and the Humane Society showcased some adorable puppies, as well as displays on their services.
  • The Marana Regional Airport had a table where they educated people about the facility, and helped organize the helicopter landing from one of their tenants. The helicopter landed on the street in front of the park, and then was opened up to allow children to sit inside. 
  • Northwest Fire DIstrict brought out a fire truck, while the NW Fire Local 3572 grilled up hotdogs and hamburgers.
  • Thanks to Parks and Recreation for making sure Marana Heritage River Park looked great and showcased their community garden and event spaces.
  • Credit also goes to the City of Tucson, the National Weather Service, and Pima Regional SWAT.

April 7 service will honor victims of Nighthawk crash

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On Saturday, April 7 at 10:00am at the Marana Regional Airport, the Marine Corps League Nighthawk 72 will host the 18th Anniversary Memorial Service to honor the 19 Marines who lost their lives in an training accident. 

A devastating tragedy occurred on the night of April 8, 2000, when an Air Force training mission went awry and an Osprey aircraft crashed at the Marana Regional Airport killing all 19 Marines on board. The investigation into the accident took over a year, but finally the survivors were able to have some closure during a memorial service near the site of the crash.

The Marana Town Council and Staff came together to erect a flagpole flying the U.S. flag, the Arizona State Flag, and the Marine Corps flag at the memorial site along with a plaque with the names and ranks of each serviceman. Many federal, state and local officials were on hand to honor these brave men.  A memorial service has been held each year since then, and the local Marine Corps league, named Nighthawk 72 in honor of the fallen aircraft, have added memorial artifacts over the years dedicated to keeping the memory of the event alive, never to be forgotten by the families and friends.

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Marana News: Learn to fly at the Marana Regional Airport

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This story by Jeff Gardner originally appeared in the Marana News.

There are more than 250 aircraft at the Marana Regional Airport. Some of the vehicles are military, some are private and some are educational. 

Tyler and Tasha Sturges run their business, Volare Helicopters, from the Marana Regional Airport. They offer sightseeing tours, special events and helicopter training.

“You’d be surprised at the range of people who want to learn to fly,” Tyler said. “It takes a certain amount of confidence, but with enough practice, there’s no one who can’t learn.”

Tyler views learning to fly helicopters professionally as a kind of trade school for himself, an alternative to a traditional university. To him, it’s a cheaper and faster process. The FAA requires 40 hours in the air for a pilot certificate, and 150 hours to be a commercial pilot. Tyler completed this in about two years.

“I feel like some people view flying as a kind of ‘rich person’ thing,” Tyler said. “But if you look at the numbers, it really isn’t.”

Read the rest of the story at the Marana News.

Airport hosts aerobatics competition

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If you were in the area near the Marana Regional Airport on Friday or Saturday, the chances are you might have seen some aircraft doing some fancy flying. The airport was host to the 2017 Tequila Cup, a regional aerobatics competition that has called Marana home since the early 1980’s.

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“Everybody appreciates coming to Marana here and the hospitality,” said pilot Will Allen. “The airport is really welcoming for us.”

The event draws aerobatic pilots from all over the western United States. This year’s contest drew 35 pilots who competed in a number of different categories bases on experience levels and aircraft type. In addition to airplanes, there were also a number of glider pilots from the Air Force Academy competing.

Aerobatics is similar to figure skating, except for the fact the event takes place in the sky and not on a sheet of ice. Pilots fly a set of figures and are judged on a number of criteria including accuracy and difficulty.

In addition to the pilots and judges, there are support staff, family members, and even fans who come out for the event.

“It brings a lot of people to the town who might not come otherwise,” said Peter Jelinas who was visiting from Seattle. “The airport brings us here.”

The Tequila Cup is one of a number of regional competitions, which then feed into a national championship every year. The event is sanctioned by the International Aerobatic Club and put on by the AZ Aerobatic Club.

Video of Az Aerobatic Club members and event competitors can be seen below:

KVOA: Goodyear blimp stops in Marana

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Goodyear's Wingfoot 2 airship was in Marana earlier this week, part of its journey from Ohio to California. News 4 KVOA came out to the Marana Regional Airport and did a feature on the aircraft including a look inside the gondola and information on how they keep it safe and properly inflated.

Since the blimp is rarely deflated, there is someone on board 24/7 to handle the controls when a gust of wind or change in temperature tries to lift the blimp off the ground.

The new gondola on the Wingfoot Two can accommodate 12 passengers and two crew members. And yes, there is a bathroom on board.

See the full story, including video, on KVOA.com

Iconic airship visits Marana Regional Airport

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The Goodyear Wingfoot 2 touched down at the Marana Regional Airport on Tuesday on part of its journey from Akron, OH to Long Beach, CA. The airship will remain in Marana overnight before departing on Wednesday morning.

The Wingfoot left Deming, NM early Tuesday morning and thanks to a 25 knot push, traversed the 200 miles in about three hours. On Wednesday the craft will fly to Blythe, CA and then touch home in Long Beach on Thursday. The airship is currently housed at the Long Beach Air Port, but will soon make its permanent home in nearby Carson, CA.

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The Wingfoot 2 is one of three newer airships employed by Goodyear Tire, and celebrated its one-year birthday last week. The two other airships are based in Florida and Ohio.

The crew of the Wingfoot 2 was in Ohio for further training on the newer craft. Four of the pilots flew in from Deming, while the rest had to drive in with other members of the ground crew. Waiting for the Wingfoot two were two semis. One semi carries fuel, while the other has a hydraulic mast, which they secure the aircraft to. A van with a large trailer and a pick-up truck were also on hand.

Once the airship landed, it took about 40 minutes to fully stabilize the craft and secure it. According to the crew a lot of care has to go into balancing the liquid and gas that inflate the Wingfoot 2. Temperature and elevation create variables which must be accounted for to ensure the craft is safely docked.

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More commonly known as the Goodyear Blimp, the Wingfoot 2 is actually a zeppelin. Unlike a blimp, a zeppelin has a rigid internal structure that provides a framework to help it maintain its shape. While similar, a blimp has no framework and maintains its shape solely from the gases that help it take to the sky.

The controls of the Wingfoot 2 are not dissimilar to conventional aircraft, though takeoff and landing are more similar to the V-22 Osprey, which has rotors that tilt to allow it to take off and land more like a helicopter than an airplane. The props on the Wingfoot 2 also tilt to aid in landing and takeoff.

The Goodyear Wingfoot airships are used for a variety of marketing and commercial opportunities. They are commonly seen flying over sporting events and have their own cameras and technicians on the ground who can send the signals to the television networks covering the game.

According to Marana Regional Airport Director Steve Miller, this is not the first time one of the Goodyear airships has docked at the airport. They have also played host to the MetLife Blimp.

Marana in the Media: Jump training at Marana Regional Airport

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The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's website had a story on the Marana Regional Airport being used for jump training. 

The 68th Rescue Squadron held jump upgrade training at the Marana Regional Airport in Marana, Ariz., this week.

Jump phase is important to get pararescuemen comfortable and competent on a canopy enabling them to land in a given drop zone with precision.

“Jumping is one of the more difficult things we do and the more that we can practice our canopy work the better we will be in high stress situations,” said SSgt Derek, 68th RQS pararescue instructor. “This course helps students get to a point where they can go to a team and continue to progress as a group.”

It is imperative that training, qualifications and capabilities of pararescuemen are extensive because they are the only Department of Defense forces specifically postured to conduct full spectrum personnel recovery.

“This is a main way for us to get to injured personnel or isolated personnel in a timely manner and provide treatment in the quickest time possible,” Said TSgt Dustin, 68th RQS pararescue instructor.

The jump training spans over several weeks and is in conducted in multiple regions across the U.S.

See the story, including a photo gallery, on the Davis-Monthan website. 

US Flight Expo to be held at Marana Regional Airport

The US Flight Expo, held at Marana Regional Airport, is a first of its kind fly-in expo and tradeshow in the Southwest United States. Held May 3-6, 2017, the Expo will feature an indoor and outdoor tradeshow venue for venders to showcase and sell aviation and avionics equipment and services. Featuring fly-bys, seminars, contests, static displays and educational opportunities, the US Flight Expo offers something for everyone who has an eye for flight.

While Marana is excited to have this event at our airport, this is not an official Town event. For all inquiries related to this event, please visit www.usflightexpo.com

April 8 Service will Honor Victims of Nighthawk Crash

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On Saturday, April 8 at 10:00am at the Marana Regional Airport, the Marine Corps League Nighthawk 72 will host the 17th Anniversary Memorial Service.

A devastating tragedy occurred on the night of April 8, 2000, when an Air Force training mission went awry and an Osprey aircraft crashed at the Marana Regional Airport killing all 19 Marines on board.  The investigation into the accident took over a year, but finally the survivors were able to have some closure during a memorial service near the site of the crash.

The Town Council and staff came together to erect a flagpole flying the U.S. flag, the Arizona State Flag, and the Marine Corps flag at the memorial site along with a plaque with the names and ranks of each serviceman. Many federal, state and local officials were on hand to honor these brave men.  A memorial service has been held each year since then, and the local Marine Corps league, named Nighthawk 72 in honor of the fallen aircraft, have added memorial artifacts over the years dedicated to keeping the memory of the event alive, never to be forgotten by the families and friends.

Plans are being made to expand the site to include a memorial garden as well as an area to recognize the service of all military men and women who served to keep our country free.  It is hoped that by 2019, the families and friends and local residents who have adopted this memorial as their own will be able to hold their service under a new flagpole and among the shade trees of the new gardens.

Marana Regional Airport Open House Gives Residents Voice in Master Plan

Marana, Arizona (Oct. 11, 2016) – The Town of Marana will host an Airport Master Plan Open House for airport users and community members on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, from 5:00pm – 7:00 pm at the Tucson Aeroservice Center (11700 W. Avra Valley Road) located at the Marana Regional Airport. The event will allow users and residents to review the Airport Master Plan update, which began in May 2015. Attendees can learn about proposed development and give feedback on the findings. Airport and consultant staff will be on‐hand to answer questions.

“I encourage our Town residents and airport users to attend the Open House in order to see some of the exciting planned future development for the Airport,” said Steve Miller, the Airport Director. He added, “This is an opportunity for the public to also participate in the master plan process as it nears completion.”

Attendees at the open house can learn about the recommended development for the airport, which includes:

  • New airfield layouts
  • Hangars
  • Aircraft and auto parking
  • A potential air traffic control tower, and
  • A corporate complex on the east side of the airport.

The proposed changes at Marana Regional Airport came after a review of the airfield and facility conditions. Input from the Town and the Planning and Technical Advisory Committees were also important. These committees met three times during the project.

For more information on the Marana Regional Airport Master Plan, visit the airport’s website at www.flymarana.com.

Summer Schooling, Part 8: Representing Marana

Being a representative of a business or an ambassador and advocate can sometimes be a daunting undertaking.  Now try doing this as a representative of an entire town.  This is the situation I find myself in right now. 

As part of this internship I will be representing the Town of Marana at the Arizona League of Cities and Towns conference that is taking place later on this month.  I have been tasked with generating a theme, designing a booth, and drawing the attention of conference attendees.  This is the capstone moment of my internship and I feel as though there has been a lot of emphasis put on how the booth turns out and how it will be bigger and better than all of the others.  At first, it seemed as though it was a daunting and insurmountable task that I would never be able to complete in an adequate manner, but as time has passed I have chipped away at it bit by bit and now have a working concept that is really taking off. 

The theme I decided on is “Soaring into the Future” where I will be highlighting the tech and aviation companies that make Marana their home.  We have several companies in Town that make parts and equipment for NASA, the defense industry, general aviation, and branches of the armed forces.  I have been fortunate enough to tour some of these facilities and be exposed to cutting edge technology that is hiding in plain sight.  Most of these facilities are located off of I-10 and around the Marana Airport and if you didn’t know what you were looking for or recognize a name you wouldn’t have a clue as to what is actually taking place inside. 

Many of the companies I visited are growing and appear to be doing very well.  Three of them have recently finished up or are in the process of expanding their facilities.  Some of the companies collaborate on projects and others use each other’s products in their manufacturing process.  The growth and collaboration between these companies is a great thing for the town.  They provide us with excellent jobs in tech related fields, excellent revenue streams, and I think most importantly a collaborative and innovative business climate.  We should all want to see their continued success and more companies joining their ranks.

This project has given me a good look into the tech and aviation companies that exist in Marana.  It has also provided me with an opportunity to meet some quality people that are eager to help me out.  For a project that started off as daunting, it has turned out to be delightfully rewarding.   

Summer Schooling, Part 6: Marana Schools Giving Kids the Tools They Need

With summer vacation drawing to a close and school right around the corner, I thought a quick rundown of what is going on with MUSD would be a good topic for this week.  For those of you who live in Gladden Farms area, there is a new elementary school opening up.  It is the first new school in MUSD in quite some time and it has a fantastic new look.  The grand opening and a tour will be offered on July 20 at 4:00pm.  It is one of two schools that will be offering a computer science immersion program that uses Minecraft to create a cutting edge learning environment. MUSD has teamed up with Code to the Future to create this program which allows kids to incorporate computer science in all aspects of their learning environment.   Quail Run Elementary school on Cortaro Road will also be participating in this program.  These two schools will be the first in Arizona to participate in this type of program.

I recently spent some time with the head of Marana Unified School District’s Career and Technical Education program, Cathie Raymond.  I have been a big fan of these programs for a long time now.  CTE programs give kids in high school an opportunity to get working knowledge and experience in career fields.  The goal is always higher education with the understanding that technical and trade schools are still a form of higher education.  Not all kids are going to get a bachelor’s degree or may take some time off before pursuing one, and CTE allows these kids an opportunity to get good paying jobs right out of high school and allows them the freedom to discover exactly what they want to do. 

The CTE program will be expanding into aviation very soon.  I was very glad to hear this for a couple of reasons.  First of all as an Air Force brat and son of an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic, aviation is near and dear to me, and I will always support it.  I have seen the results of a career in aviation, and it can be a very lucrative career field that does not require a four year degree.  Secondly, the Town has a lot of businesses that are aviation-related and are growing.  Within a short drive there is Tucson International Airport that offers a whole host of jobs and just up the road at Pinal Air Park there are more opportunities in aviation.  This is a fantastic move on the part of MUSD and the CTE program, and I really hope it is widely used and gains the recognition that all CTE programs deserve.

With the first day of school on August 8, it is time to start getting school supplies and this year’s round of clothes and shoes that will be destroyed within the first months of school.  It’s time to start getting them back on a normal routine and getting ready for another year of school.  As a parent, I think MUSD is one of the better districts in the area.   All of the new programs are proof that it is embracing the future and ready to give our kids the tools they need.  

News Release: Town of Marana Council Briefed on Status of the Marana Regional Airport Master Plan and Strategic Business Plan

Marana, Arizona – The Marana Regional Airport Master Plan and Strategic Business Plan commenced in August of 2015 led by a team of consultants from Armstrong Consultants, Inc., The Genesis Consulting Group, LLC, and Woolpert Inc. The intent of the Airport Master and Strategic Business Plans is to ensure future airport development is designed to enhance air and ground operations and improve safety and airport services for the Town, as well as the public users of the airport. An Airport Master Plan (AMP) describes and depicts the overall concept for the long-term development of an airport, and the Strategic Business Plan (SBP) provides a financial and objective based plan to reach the business goals of the airport and support its development.

Both the Airport Master and Strategic Business Plans will be finalized in the next couple of months. It is anticipated that the Airport Master Plan will be completed in August 2016; once complete, the Airport Master Plan and corresponding Airport Layout Plan (ALP) will be sent to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for final approval. The Strategic Business Plan is anticipated to be completed shortly thereafter, in September 2016.

The Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), along with the Strategic Business Plan Committee (SBPC), have met three times during the project to provide input and guidance on draft Working Papers published for both the AMP and SBP. Meeting minutes and all published draft documents for both projects that have been completed thus far can be found on the Airport’s website at www.flymarana.com.  

A briefing with the Marana Town Council was held on Tuesday June 28, 2016. The purpose of the briefing was to provide Council members an update on the status of both the AMP and SBP, and the anticipated schedule for completion for both projects. At this stage in the process, future planned development has been identified within the draft AMP and a development strategy which includes grouping the airport into three distinct sectors (general aviation, specialty aviation services, and corporate development) has been created. In addition, the proposed plan includes providing space for more hangars, making some adjustment to the airfield geometry, and identifying where a future terminal building can be constructed to accommodate the increase in corporate jet traffic. Likewise, the SBP has analyzed the regional market factors, opportunities, and possible development scenarios, both at the Marana Regional Airport, and in the immediate areas adjacent to the airport. As a result, a market focus and a current economic depiction of the area has been developed.   

The FAA and ADOT will participate in funding eligible projects, thereby reducing the costs to the Town of Marana. Under current Federal and State legislation, the FAA will fund 91.06 percent of eligible costs and the ADOT will fund 4.47 percent. The Town will fund the remaining 4.47 percent. Projects that are not funded by the FAA may be funded solely by ADOT; in this case, the State would fund 90 percent of eligible costs and the Town would be responsible for 10 percent of the remaining costs. Funding for eligible projects, regardless of FAA or State participation, is not guaranteed and is subject to funding availability. Additionally, under Airport Sponsor Assurance #24, the FAA requires that any AIP-funded airport be as financially self-sustaining as possible given the circumstances that exist at the airport. The development and implementation of an airport business plan provides the opportunity for the airport manager and policymakers to demonstrate that fiduciary responsibilities and the requirements of the FAA are being taken seriously.  An airport’s financial statements, budgets, and performance measures are considered essential tools for achieving goals and realizing the mission and vision for the airport.

The final steps in the AMP process include a brief environmental overview, finalization of the ALP, and a concise financial plan which will provide an estimate of the costs associated with the proposed development and potential funding sources to pay for the development over the course of the 20-year planning period. The final steps in the SBP process will take into account all of the information and analysis that has been developed to date, and address the final goals and objectives of the airport. The final report will make recommendations for a stronger business structure, and will map a path to successful development for the future.