Improvements to airport to be celebrated Saturday
By Jim Turner


Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM



The first news story which The Logan Journal carried in February 2009 dealt with the impending completion of a new terminal and other improvements at the Russellville-Logan County Airport.
This Saturday those improvements and the many facets of the airport on Franklin Road will be on display during a grand opening and open house, which will last most of the day. Activities
begin with the Experimental Aircraft Association sponsoring a breakfast from 7-10 a.m. The Russellville High School Band will begin playing at 11 a.m. The Logan County High School Junior ROTC will help with a ceremony and ribbon cutting at 11:15, and Steve Johnson Aerobatics will perform an airshow with an MX2 stunt plane from 11:30-12:30. A static display of vintage aircraft will be held from 12:30-4 p.m. The Logan County Cattlemen will be involved in the cooking.
The Airport Board, which consists of volunteers approved by governmental leaders, will be on hand to conduct the ceremony and to welcome visitors. Steve Dilliha is chairman and John Alcott treasurer. Members who were involved in the planning and construction of the facility have included General Jerry Humble, Ronnie Wood, Wayne Yonts, Judge Sue Carol Browning and the late Harold Jessup.
Logan Countian Barry Smotherman is the new manager.
The airport open in 1964 on land purchased from Sheriff Edward Price. It had a grass sod landing strop that was 20 feet wide and almost 3,000 feet long. The state paid for half the cost with local individuals, businesses, organizations, fiscal court, Russellville City Council, fertilizer dealers and seed companies providing the match. Much of the early planning came from Bob Grape of Rockwell, who had transferred to Canada before the airport opened. The board then consisted of chairman George Page and Bob Guion and four men who are no longer living, Ewing Stuart, Bill Noe, Dr. Tom Threlkeld and Roland Clark 'Judge' Rhea.
In 1970, the facility was officially named Stuart Field, in honor of B. Marvin Stuart, who had chaired the Chamber of Commerce's Industrial Development Board for almost two decades and tied the airport into industrial development. Mr. Stuart had died that spring. Russell Porter, a Lewisburgian who was part of the Louie B. Nunn Administration, had secured an access road for the airport the year before. The Kemp brothers of KAPCO had a lot to do with improvements to the airport. Crop dusting services flown by the Abbot and Riggins families added to the field's use.
At the Sept. 27, 1970 dedication, Bill Allen, operator of Russellville Flying Service, provided demonstrations. On that day, you could fly over Russellville for $2.50 per person or all the way to Lake Malone and back for $5. Methodist Temple Paster Russell Bow, who was a pilot himself, planned the ceremony with the help of Chamber President Berks Brown along with Bo Shaw, Arley Smith and Sam Shumard. County Attorney Jesse Riley Jr. was master of ceremonies, and airport attorney Bill Fuqua was the speaker. Mayor Wallace Herndon and County Judge Bob Brown also spoke. Members of the board then were Page, Guion, Threlkeld, Ray and Noe. Joe W. Hendricks was airport manager.
Congressman Frank Albert Stubblefield announced a $4,546 grant for airport planning in 1973, and a $44,155 FAA grant for airport expansion in 1974. Among those involved then were Chairman Cyrus Shifflett, Joe Rudder, Don Abbott, Vince Bailey, Murrell Rogers and Dr. Threlkeld. Rudder was part of the E.R. Carpenter group who chose Russellville in part because of the availability of an airport, Fuqua says. Rudder, Vice President Stan Pauley and Mr. Carpenter himself all piloted planes into Stuart Field.
Steve Wilson has been the airport manager for many of the most recent years and has been instrumental in its development.
The improvements which will be on display this weekend are much more extensive and expensive than those which were on display at the dedication 40 years ago..
The following information came from our original story, written by Josh Givens.
The 3,000-square-foot terminal project was funded at $865,000, all of which is covered by the Kentucky Department of Aviation with a 10-year bond issue. The project is part of a larger initiative statewide to update facilities at 10 small, regional airports. The new Logan County terminal building is distinctive, with an exterior look reminiscent of a log cabin or a lodge often seen at the commonwealth’s state parks. The building was designed by JKS Architects & Engineers of Hopkinsville, whose president is Logan County native Keith Sharp. The general contractor on the project was John Cates’ Circle C Construction of Russellville, which bid the project at $682,106.

The facility is a major improvement over the previous terminal building, which was basically an office trailer. The new building includes a lobby with reception counter, an office area for the fixed base operator, a pilot’s lounge, a training room, a flight planning space, a community meeting space, restrooms with showers, a break room and a records storage area. Dilliha said the airport board is especially happy to have a secured-access area for the storage of board documents, which which were previously kept in a plastic storage bin.

A portion of the upgrades has been the installation of two 12,000-gallon fuel tanks, one for aviation gas and the other for jet fuel. Sale of fuel is one of the prime ways the airport supports itself.

Also part of the improvements is an access road to the new terminal and airfield, which moves entering vehicles away from the western end of the runway, at a cost of $164,000, with 95 percent coming from the FAA, 2,5 percent from the state and 1.25 percent each from the city of Russellville and Logan Fiscal Court.
Fuqua, who has been involved in countless economic development and industrial recruitment activities for Russellville and Logan County, is the long-time attorney for the airport board, which began while he was city attorney and his late father, Taylor Fuqua, was mayor of Russellville. He says that many of the existing industries which have been here for decades would never have considered locating in the Land of Logan if the airport were not here. The latest improvements should be a further boon to economic development, he believes.




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