San Manuel airport to get runway lights

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On Oct.15, a runway light project will begin at the San Manuel – Ray Blair Airport (E77) in San Manuel. The airport will be closed beginning Oct. 15 except on weekends until the construction is completed.

The project is estimated to take three months and once completed San Manuel Airport will be the only airport to have LED lighting in Arizona. There will be an increase in air traffic flow into and around the airport at night.

There are plans for the construction of more hangars and a pilot lounge. The runway lighting project is funded through taxes on the sale of air fuel.

The increase in air traffic could mean more people flying into the area and/or taking flying lessons. Parrish Traweek of PC Aircraft Maintenance Flight Services says that over 200 people have trained at the airport in the last five years.

Recently they had students from Florida and Southern California. Butch Theisen is a marriage and family counselor fromCalifornia. He is retired from the Air Force and is taking accelerated lessons to get his pilot’s license.

Theisen said that he “loves the airplane they use to train” which is an Ercoupe. “Lots of people that belonged to an Ercoupe owner’s club recommended Parrish. Theisen said that “Traweek pushes me pretty hard but does a lot of encouraging”.

Traweek says the airport is getting busier. PC Aircraft is now selling locally fabricated airplane boarding handles.

They are doing some aircraft maintenance and outsourcing much of it. Planes are available for rental as well as sightseeing/tours. Two airplanes are being built at the airport.

A film crew was at the airport in April filming scenes for a movie when a pilot lost control of their plane on take off and bounced off of two planes on the ground.

Fortunately, no one was hurt. He has two high school students that are taking lessons and will be able to solo soon once they turn 16.

They encourage kids to learn about flying and aerospace technology. The San Pedro Valley Pilot’s Association offers a scholarship every year for aSanManuelHigh Schoolsenior.

Traweek would like the community to know that they can come out and watch the planes take off and land. The airport is also available for events and once the lights are installed night events.

The community is invited to come out on Oct.13 for the Arizona Pilot’s Association Drive-In Fly-In Pancake Breakfast and Safety Seminar. There will be anywhere from 20 to 100 planes coming in for the event.

There will be a breakfast served by the San Manuel Elks club. Cost is $7for a plate, which includes pancakes, sausage, eggs, juice and coffee. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Money raised will go towards scholarships for graduating seniors interested in aviation studies. The Safety Seminar class begins at 10:30 and is free. Topic for the seminar is “Survival & Survival Equipment” presented by Howard Deevers.

For more information, contact Pat at 520-664-4812.

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