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Letters to the Editor

GUEST COLUMN: It's been an honor to serve the Whiteside County Airport

Former airport chief reflects on past 21 years

Mike Dowell, shown here at the Whiteside County Airport
Mike Dowell, shown here at the Whiteside County Airport

To the taxpayers and citizens of Whiteside County:

It has been a privilege and honor to serve the Airport Board, Whiteside County Board and the citizens of Whiteside County for the past 21 years.

The cooperation and support most of the boards have given M&M Aviation and me over those years has allowed us, together, to improve the airport and serve the citizens of the county.

Those efforts have included a monthly manager’s report, periodic newsletters, and a published biennial report – titled “Airport Goals.” All of them have increased awareness and visibility to the needed improvements and accomplishments.

I pray these publications will continue as you have, in the past, mandated us to provide them.

Our cooperation with past boards and state and federal agencies has continued the infrastructure improvements at the airport and brought the recognition of “2016 Airport of the Year” for our category of airport. We have steadily maintained the airport’s buildings, the airfield, improving the lighting, and built a new hangar building during our tenure.

Our cooperation with the FAA has improved the radio navigation aids and lighting aids over the years and even reduced the cost the airport bears for some of the lighting.

With the FAA’s cooperation, we also have upgraded the approach lighting for both Runway 25 and Runway 7.

Additional upgrades have included the newly improved weather equipment.

And, finally, a project that I worked on for nearly 15 years will soon be installed. That project is Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) for the ILS approach. It will enhance the instrument approaches here, thereby making it safer for aircraft to fly into this airport.

We continue to wish the airport the best and look forward to a time that the airport can improve its facilities, including a new or renovated terminal building and a larger, more accommodating hangar for larger aircraft should they be based here or be transient visitors.

Both of these projects have been listed over the years in our past “Airport Goals” publications.

Finally, we want to thank the taxpayers of Whiteside County for supporting the airport and, most recently, supporting us through letters, phone calls and emails.

We are gratified that so many have stepped forward to express their appreciation for our efforts over the years. The staff and family of M&M Aviation is truly humbled by their support! Good luck, airport.

Note to readers: Michael A. Dowell, former airport manager, is president of M&M Aviation, which continues as flight school and charter flight service for the Sauk Valley.

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