Murky, wet flying conditions on Wednesday did not ground the continued growth of the aviation program at Kansas State Polytechnic.
Thanks to a Kansas Department of Transportation grant of $428,990 – officials at Salina Regional Airport will use the funds for repairs and maintenance of the ramp or apron area of the airport used by the aviation students.
K-State Poly Director of Flight Operations Eric Shappee tells KSAL News that the repairs will be another key piece in staying safe during their training that includes about 70 flights a day.
“The ramp is basically where we park our aircraft and we actually taxi out to the run up area for instrument checks,” he said.
“We run the engine up and if we have debris on the ramp that can be kicked up by the propeller it smacks the airplane and damages the aircraft.”
Kansas Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson was on hand in Salina Wednesday to announce the grants which will help 26 airports around the state with needed repairs. Carlson also noted the improvements at rural airports will ensure that 93 percent of the population will have access to air ambulance service as well.
The aviation program at Kansas State Polytechnic currently has about 170 students enrolled.
Flight Operations Director Shappee expects that number to swell in the near future as a shortage of pilots around the U.S. will make training more pilots a necessity.