NAMPA — From a shaded picnic table in a small park or from a deck off the terminal, spectators at the Nampa Municipal Airport can watch a variety of aircraft come and go throughout the day.
On some days, a restored piece of history can be seen taking flight. On other days, people might catch a glimpse of a performer landing in town to play a show at the Idaho Center.
The airport is home to 350 based aircraft and supports more than 124,000 operations, according to its 2009 individual airport summary.
“The airport never closes,” Nampa Airport superintendent Monte Hasl said.
Those operations supported 343 jobs in 2007 and had an estimated $43.2 million total economic impact, according to the Idaho Transportation Department Idaho Airport System Plan.
WHAT’S AT THE AIRPORT
The airport is home to 15 businesses and nonprofits including flight schools, the Civil Air Patrol, the Picnic Basket restaurant, maintenance companies and the Warhawk Air Museum, Hasl said.
Mission Aviation Fellowship moved its world headquarters to the airport in 2005, including offices and a large maintenance facility. MAF serves people in isolated regions of the world through aviation, communications and learning technology services.
Helicopters from Kachina Aviation, a helicopter charter company located at the airport, were gone to help to fight fires last week, Hasl said.
The city is in the process of adding eight more hangars on the east side of the airport for three interested parties and is working on getting sewer to the project, Hasl said. It also plans to add electrical work to the airport’s existing shade hangars in 2014, he said.
Just like other industries, the airport took a hit during the recession. High fuel prices and a sluggish economy led some pilots to sell their planes, but that appears to be turning around.
“In the last year and a half, it’s been picking back up,” Hasl said.
About 90 percent of the aircraft at the Nampa Airport are single-engine planes, but there are also twin-engine planes, ultralights, gliders and helicopters. According to the 2009 airport summary, an estimated 15 percent of based aircraft are members of the Experimental Aircraft Association.
For Hasl, working at the airport is a dream job. Hasl’s father was a pilot, and he always wanted a job where he could spend time at the airport. And as superintendent, he’s able to get out and spend time talking with pilots about how much they love their planes.
“The title of superintendent means I can get out, I don’t spend days at my desk,” he said.