Airport good city asset

Published 9:35 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2018

There are good things happening at the Suffolk Executive Airport, and a couple recent notable events out there are just some of the many.

Last week, a film crew was at the airport beginning principal photography for the World War II action movie “Wolf Hound.” Mechanics, pilots and four genuine warplanes from the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach were an amazing sight. Actors, directors and cameramen were on hand and ready for action.

Director Michael B. Chait said the Suffolk landscape, with its forested areas, looks quite similar to 1944 France, so it made the perfect place to film the aerial scenes. Chait also said the airport had been quite hospitable and contributed to an “extremely pleasant experience.”

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The week before last, the airport was the scene of two skydiving records broken at Skydive Suffolk.

The husband-and-wife team of Steve and Sara Curtis, co-founders of the Arizona Arsenal Skydiving Team, organized the jumps. Their team of eight broke the Vertical Formation Skydiving Head-down Sequential Virginia record on Saturday at Suffolk Executive Airport with an eight-way performance in four formations. The team included Sara and Steve Curtis, Reinaldo Duarte, Eugeni Goriounov, Jason Johnson, Rachel Newcomb, Scott Owen and Nick Sortino, plus their videographer Edward Heady.

The couple returned to the airport on Sunday with a team of six: themselves, Duarte, Goriounov, Johnson, Cameron McMahan and Heady taking GoPro video. They completed a six-way performance in nine formations to set a new VFS Head-up Sequential Virginia record, with their feet towards the ground.

If you don’t care much about historical movies or skydiving records, these news items might not excite you much. But all Suffolk citizens should be thrilled about how well the airport and its businesses are doing.

The city invests a considerable amount of money and energy into the airport every year. The city’s Aviation Facilities Fund has a budget of more than $1 million. Much of the funds for capital improvements there come from the federal government, and there are also several revenue streams there — hangar leases, fuel sales and so forth. Less than a tenth of the budget comes from the general fund.

There are five businesses located at the airport, including Skydive Suffolk, and about 11,000 planes take off and land there every year.

But those numbers could never tell the full story of all of the good things that are going on at the airport, and stories like the “Wolf Hound” filming and the skydiving records tell the rest of the story.

We expect the airport will continue to be an asset for the city for years to come.