Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
The Macon County Airport held an open house this past Saturday as a substantial crowd meandered around to see the inner workings of the county airport. The open house gave the community an opportunity to see how the airport operates and the aircraft that use it. Girl Scout Troop 12692, led by Kimberley Presley, offered her troop the
opportunity to earn a badge while visiting the airport. The girls were able to sit in a Cessna and see the cockpit up close.
In addition, airport personnel offered scenic airplane rides over the town of Franklin to give people the chance to see where they live from a different perspective. They plan on making this an annual event.
Macon Air and the Macon County Airport Authority sponsored the event. Rockin Rollie Pollies catered the event offering free hot dogs, burgers, chips, and drinks for all who came. The Aviation Historical Society was also there to lend a hand.
The airport serves as a gateway to the Smokies, as private charters regularly depart and arrive from the airport. They serve the Franklin, Highlands, Cashiers, and Cherokee area. Jake Tallent, Macon County Airport Flight Instructor said, “we believe that the airport increases tourism during all seasons of the year.
“A lot of the larger aircraft that fly into our airport are private charter companies. These companies can be hired and rented out to individuals and companies needing to quickly and conveniently fly into and out of the Western North Carolina region. Most of the smaller aircraft at the airport are privately owned by individuals in the community. One of the aircraft we had on display was a turbo prop aircraft called a Cessna Conquest, and it’s owned by Drake Enterprises.”
The airport is home to approximately 30 small planes that are housed there daily. The airport offers flight instruction and scenic sightseeing tours, and have three FAA Certified flight instructors at the airport, David Phillips, Jake Tallent, and Marc Bryson, all of whom have extensive mountain flying experience. They provide both flight and ground instruction for those who are looking
to obtain a private pilot license, instrument rating, and even commercial pilot licenses. Two training aircraft are on hand for students to learn. For more information, interested folks can visit the airport at 1241 Airport Rd, or contact the airport at 828-524-5529 and spend to airport manager David Phillips.
“The Macon County Airport is here to help introduce the community to aviation,” said Tallent. “The U.S. is experiencing a massive pilot shortage in the commercial sector, and there’s never been a better time to consider flying as a career. We are dedicated to helping those who wish to pursue flying, whether for a hobby, or as a career, at Macon Air.”