Volunteers key to keeping airport maintained

Hillsboro?s airport is maintained?and used?by the Hillsboro Airport Board.

The board, whose members also are all pilots, work to do general maintenance and upkeep at the airport so it stays in good condition.

This year the board will have the runway resurfaced, and in the past they have done such things as put up new fencing and renting the hangers.

?If you didn?t have anyone involved with the airport nothing would be done,? said Dennis Scharenberg, board chair.

He said without their involvement, the only upkeep done would be mowing.

?We don?t have a lot of funds to deal with, but we make sure it is an asset to the city,? Scharenberg said. ?We try to keep it looking nice.?

The board members meet as needed throughout the year, and usually meet monthly during the summer.

In addition to the board, the Marion County Aviation Association meets once a month and includes some of the same members as well as non-pilots.

Currently they are expanding the group by adding pilots from Herington.

?We?re not just expanding the facility, but promoting Hillsboro,? Scharenberg said.

One way they work to promote Hillsboro is by encouraging those who fly into the airport to visit the town and see what it has to offer.

The group keeps busy with a number of activities throughout the year. One of their main events is held on Memorial Day weekend.

During the weekend, they hold a pancake feed and fly-in from 7 a.m. to noon. This year?s event is scheduled for May 27.

Scharenberg said people from Wichita, Salina and even Oklahoma fly in for breakfast.

They also have invited the Christian Motorcycle Association and will have helicopters available for people to look at.

?We have just a whole different group of airplanes for people to walk around and look at,? Scharenberg said.

The group also gives free plane rides to youth age 8 to 18 through a program by the Young Eagles, a National Experimental Aircraft Association.

In the past, there also has been an air show consisting of stunt flying.

Other activities the aviation association participates in include a yearly camp out with the group and a fly out once a month.

The group also meets once a month where members watch videos, hear guest speakers and talk about aviation.

The airport board receives its funding for maintenance at the airport from the city. Members fund the get-togethers they attend.

Members of the board include Scharenberg, Todd Helmer, Mike Knak, Terry Hagen and Loren Koehn.

Scharenberg said the airport is family oriented and encourages anyone interested in riding in a plane or aviation to call one of the board members.

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