Renovations of the airport terminal building began on July 7th to update the facilities for potential fixed-based operators. Additionally, rehabilitation on Runway 5/23 is scheduled to begin in mid-August.
“I think these renovations and the rehabilitation of 5/23 are fantastic and will certainly help in our efforts to pursue and attract bigger opportunities here in Mansfield. I’d like to see the Mansfield aviation market expand and live up to its full-potential. Should the will of the members of the airport commission align, then there is no doubt that we will move forward toward an increase in a number of activities that could have a positive effect on our local and regional economies,” Bryant stated.
Another item of business briefly discussed was a potential partnership between the City of Mansfield and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
NASA representatives are scheduled to meet with city officials and commission members for a preliminary meeting to determine whether Mansfield Lahm Airport is an eligible site for future ‘Super Guppy’ missions.
According to NASA sources, Guppy aircraft were specifically designed to transport spacecraft components and have played a significant role in meeting NASA's launch schedules since the Apollo days .
The Guppy was developed in 1962 after President John F. Kennedy declared the goal to reach the moon before 1970. Besides air transport, the only other way to get the Apollo rocket stages from California to Florida was on a slow boat through the Panama Canal. The Guppy aircraft cut not just days, but weeks and months out of the schedules. Without these unique aircraft, we never would have made it to the moon by 1969.
Millions of miles have been flown in support of NASA’s Gemini, Apollo and Skylab programs.
The Super Guppy is unique not only in its shape and size, but in the way that it opens. The aircraft's hinged nose opens more than 200 degrees, allowing cargo to be loading from the front instead of the side. Only a handful of such planes have been built since its introduction in the 1960s .
“This is a big deal, it’s huge,” said Bryant. “I’m not only talking about the aircraft, but more importantly, what a mission like this would mean for our region.”
The NASA preliminary meeting is scheduled to take place in August.
- ‘The Super Guppy at NASA.’ Retrieved on July 24, 2015 via: http://jsc-aircraft-ops.jsc.nasa.gov/guppy/
- ‘Super Guppy Heritage.’ Retrieved on July 23, 2015 via: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/assembly/superguppy/heritage.html
- Super Guppy lands, refuels at post airfield. Retrieved on July 24, 2015 via: http://www.army.mil/article/140391/Super_Guppy_lands__refuels_at_post_airfield/
- Guppy aircraft. Retrieved on July 23, 2015 via: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/multimedia/imagegallery/Guppy/index.html