The Franklin Field Airport Authority hosted an open house to share with the public a close up view of the facility and some of the recent upgrades that the airport has realized over the last several years on October 28, 2016.
They had several planes and helicopters on static display and two aircraft provided by Box Aviation of Montgomery (piloted by Mr. Paul Davis and Mr. Erik Box) gave a number of free introductory to aviation airplane rides to a multitude of visitors.
A large crowd showed up for the event. Of particular recognition were State Senator Billy Beasley, State Representative Berry Forte and Alabama Department of Transportation Aeronautics Chief Dr. John Eagerton.
Many of our local county commissioners, county office holders, and business leaders from the community were also present. Several groups of school children were brought out for special guided tours and educational experiences that were put on by several generous aircraft owners and organizations. Auburn University Aviation Center was on site with one of their aircraft and several Auburn University students. This particular station was of great interest to the children and many of them were welcomed to sit inside the airplane and feel what it is like to be in the pilot’s seat.
Also on site was an Alabama Law Enforcement Helicopter that was generously on loan from the State of Alabama.
The pilot Brian Hand and Mark Booth of ALEA were great in interacting with the children and were quite impressed with a lot of the questions asked by the children. Haynes Ambulances’ helicopter was also on display thanks to Mr. Wes Kelley of Haynes Ambulance.
This allowed two drastically different roles of a similar helicopter to be explained and to showcase how valuable to a community it is to have a airport that may be accessed for so many different purposes.
The new small terminal building was of quite a bit of interest and appeared to be a pleasant surprise and generally accepted as a positive asset to the county.
Nearing lunch time a few speeches were held under a nice white tent that was generously provided among other assistance by The General Aviation Alliance of Alabama which is a non profit organization established to assist smaller airports like Franklin Field with much needed unbiased assistance and support of various types.
Senator Beasley spoke first concerning what a pleasure it was to be there and to feel the energy in the air and recognize how the community had come together for such an event and to support their local airport.
Representative Berry Forte spoke next concerning how critical an airport is for economic development of any community and how impressed he was with the unity shown that day.
Dr. Eagerton of ALDOT spoke next and had powerful words of support, encouragement, and his promise of ALDOT partnering with Bullock County to help develop the airport to its highest potential, which would allow corporate aircraft direct access to Bullock County.
This would enable the possibility of bringing a much needed economic boost to our local economy.
Chairman of the County Commission Ron Smith spoke reiterating how happy he was also for the community proving they can work together for the betterment of the county.
The Airport Authority next presented Awards of Appreciation to the County Commissioners and the members of the Bullock County Development Authority for all of their unyielding support in improving and developing the airport.
Followed by a Mr. Grant DeMuth of the General Aviation Alliance of Alabama presenting a proclamation by his organization recognizing Franklin Field Airport Authority for its efforts in providing a positive example of what is possible when communities come together and the airport management is performed in a professional and prompt manner.
Mayor of Midway Mrs. Whittington followed Mr. DeMuth and declared how supportive the Town Of Midway was and then she gracefully thanked the Lord for the meal he had provided that day.
Finally, the best for last, Mr. Will Tolbert and his son Allen Tolbert (of Affordable Eyewear of Union Springs) had volunteered to provide a whole hog prepared and decorated accordingly at no cost. Of which they did!
Mr. Will elaborated about the history of preparing whole hogs dating back to the local Indians and some of the customs used in those preparations.
A small sample of the hog was given to Chairman of the Bullock County Commission Ron Smith for his approval of (which he deemed it superb) and the guests were served!
The Franklin Field Airport Authority would like to officially recognize these critical volunteers and donors that made this event possible: The General Aviation Alliance of Alabama, Affordable EyeWare of Union Springs, Hunter and Addie Smith, Jim and Sandra Smith, Sean and Jennifer Gallagher, Joanne McDonald, Cody McDonald, Jody McDonald, Tommy McDonald, Pat Varner, George Tabb, Darlene Hixon, Anonymous Donors 1,2 & 3, The Union Springs Herald, Haynes Ambulance, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Mark Booth, Auburn University Flight Dept., Alabama Department of Transportation Aeronautics, ALDOT, Bullock County Sheriff’s Department, Southern Magnolia Florist, Adam’s Florist, FPH Bakery, Bullock County Schools: Bullock Co. High South Highlands Union Springs Elementary and Conecuh Springs Christian School, The Bullock County Commission, The City of Union Springs, The City of Midway, The Bullock County Development Board, and The Franklin Field Airport Authority members