BY MELANIE BUCK –
Philip Hensley was honored by the Mena Airport Commission at their January 2017 monthly meeting for his 14 years of service to the commission. Hensley resigned from the board for personal reasons and Kevin Williams has been appointed by the Mayor to fill the last few months of the unexpired term. Hensley was presented a plaque and thanked by the commission for his dedication of duties.
Airport Manager, Fred Odgen, said, “The airport commission thanked Philip with a plaque for his 14 years of outstanding service on the airport commission. The commission commended him for his service, not only to the commission, but also to the community at large and thanked him for his years of dedicated service to the commission noting that the airport has grown and thrived during this time.”
“I always enjoyed being a part of the commission because a lot of good things happened during my tenure and those were pretty exciting times. I enjoyed my time and the people I have served with; they are all real top-notch folks from our community. I would do it again if I had the opportunity, but I think that 14 years is enough.” Hensley said he still remains active with the Lions Club and his local church, Christ Community Fellowship but that “sometimes you need to think that there are fresher ideas out there.” He said his replacement, Kevin Williams is, “young and enthusiastic about serving.” Hensley has served many boards over the course of his career including the Chamber of Commerce, Water Commission, Economic Development Commission, and more. “I’ve always been very happy to serve,” he smiled.
Other members of the Mena Airport Commission include: Duane Corcoran, Chair; Andy Anderson, Vice-Chair; Rodger Crider, Jeff Montgomery, Nancy Wright, Kevin Williams, and Phillip Wilson.
In other happenings at Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport, several businesses are swapping hangars, while others are building new structures to house their planes and operations.
Ogden reported that Mike Shepard is building a 100 ft x 150 ft hangar to house his 1941 Douglas DC-3 airplane. Shepard owns Arkansas Round Engines, an aviation business that makes its home at the Mena Airport.
Hampton Aviation is also in the process of building a 110 ft x 125 ft hangar. The new building will sit adjacent to the Mena Aviation Complex and will be used to expand Hampton Aviation’s services.
There are also some hangar swaps in the works with Mountain Airframe, Hampton Aviation, and Northwest Arkansas Aviation. Ogden said those plans aren’t set in stone yet and more details will be available soon.
Ogden said the AWOS, or Automated Weather Observation System, has been repaired for the time being and temperature readings from the airport can again be found through the National Weather Service. The current AWOS is an old system that is becoming increasingly hard to purchase replacement parts for. However, Odgen said that it’s on the airport’s capital improvement plan to be replaced in the next couple of years.
The next meeting of the Mena Airport Commission will be February 13, at 3 p.m. in the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain Board Room.