Back to Back Events A First at Chattanooga-Lovell Field Airport
For the first time, the Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association (MAPA) Safety Foundation, Inc. will bring its acclaimed Mooney pilot proficiency program to Tennessee. It will be held May 21-23 at the Chattanooga-Lovell Field airport (CHA). The event will play host to over 30 Mooney aircraft plus their pilots, passengers and instructors for the 3-day event.
Ted Corsones, COO of MAPA commented on the value Chattanooga offers for the gathering “There are few places where you can experience so many world-class attractions and visit so many sites as the Chattanooga area. We are aware of the state of the economy for our membership and are looking to host a successful event promoting aviation safety. The airport and TAC Air have given their support through discounts on fuel and fees and have been a pleasure to work with”.
While the company has undergone several incarnations since being founded in1929, Mooney aircraft has enjoyed a loyal following among general aviation (GA) enthusiasts and are noted for their speed, safety, industry innovations, range and signature forward leaning vertical stabilizer tail design.
One reason for the excitement of what would otherwise be an unnoticed event is the fact that general aviation took a huge hit with the recession. Nationally, GA aircraft sales and flight volume plummeted over 30% from a peak in 2007 to 2009. GA fuel sales were “soft” in 2009 according to TAC Air, but only off approximately 10% from a 2007 peak.
Industry experts believe that while the worst for GA is over, the recovery will be gradual. Because of that, every local event involving GA is welcomed by TAC Air.
On the other hand, a recent event to be noticed even during the best of times was the AT&T Annual Meeting in Chattanooga on April 30th. According to AT&T’s web site, the average attendance at their shareholder’s meeting is around 250. While that may not be a huge event in terms of number of attendees, it does bring in a significant volume of business jet traffic. And with that û a surge in jet fuel sales. “We were fully staffed for the event.” according to Pam McAllister, general manager of TAC Air CHA. “Our fuel sales and traffic volume doubled. Anytime an event such as a sports team coming through on a chartered aircraft, a corporate meeting or entertainers utilizing GA services it means an increase in our payroll, sales tax collections and revenue to the airport û all of which is good for Chattanooga and our airport”.
TAC Air, a division of Truman Arnold Companies, is the fixed base operation (FBO) at CHA that provides fuel, ground support services and hangar space for GA aircraft. Without the services of an FBO present at the airport, Chattanooga would simply not be a viable option for these types of events.
For more information on TAC Air, log on to www.tacair.com/cha