BY KRISTINA HACKER
209 staff reporter
The Turlock Municipal Airport has been in operation since the 1940s. From 1942 to 1945 it was an Army Air Training Base in conjunction with the Castle Air Force Base where the student pilots were housed. In July 1947, the airport property was deeded to the City of Turlock.
A widening project at the Turlock Municipal Airport is currently under way at the City-owned airport, which is located approximately 9 miles east of the city along East Avenue at Newport Road. No commercial airlines fly out of the Turlock airport, which is mainly used by private pilots and air ambulance service companies.
The airport receives its revenue from a number of sources, with a majority coming from the rental of tie down spaces and hangar rentals. There is also some revenue generated through the one Fixed Based Operator on the field. A Fixed Base Operator (FBO), is an entity providing services such as aircraft rental, flight training and aircraft maintenance. In some cases they also manage the fuel operation. It is important to note that there are no General Fund dollars used by the City to support the airport.
The airport also receives funds from Cal Trans Department of Aeronautics for general maintenance and upkeep of the airport.
The airport is also the site of the popular Young Eagles event each year, providing free flights to children between the ages of 7 and 17. The Turlock Regional Aviation Association, which operates the airport, in conjunction with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department have sponsored three events, which are usually in the fall, and to date have provided the experience of flight to over 500 children from the surrounding area.
The airport also has over 150 acres of open land that is currently be used for sheep grazing. This operation has proven to be very effective in controlling vegetative growth at the airport along with providing wild land fire protection and significant reduction in weed control costs. The TRAA is currently exploring a number of long term agricultural uses at the airport to further insure financial viability.