McLaughlin: DeKalb airport a ‘gem for the county’

Planes, trains and automobiles.

Or is it more like “I’m stuck in my automobile because of a train, and planes? Do we really have an airport?” The answer is yes, we really have an airport, and we’re sorry you got caught by the train.

This past month the DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau staff was lucky enough to go on a tour with airport manager Renee Riani. Only then did we realize how great the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport is, and how it compliments the many other amenities in DeKalb County. Not only does it accommodate a variety of aircrafts everyday but they also offer hangar storage facilities, meeting spaces, self-serve fuel, aircraft repair and service, flight instruction and designated viewing areas.

“It’s a real gem for the county,” Bob Clark said. “I fly in about 2 to 3 times a month. The fuel prices are always fair and it’s a very nice runway.”

Flight instruction and discovery flights are available through Fly America, which is based at DTMA. A discovery flight is just what it sounds like – a flight that allows a person who has never been flying to try it out for the first time. It’s usually a short flight with a certified flight instructor or commercial pilot and includes your participation.

Kishwaukee Education Consortium also holds its aviation program on site at the airport. The program utilizes state-of-the-art flight simulators – luckily, the plane will not bounce or rattle you when you land a little too aggressively in the grass beside the runway.

The airport isn’t just used for recreational use. Many companies, potential businesses, and college sports teams benefit from the convenience of having this facility. A number of large corporations have put down roots in our county and the airport has helped make that possible.

Riani has exciting visions for DTMA and we’re looking forward to partnering with her for some of those such as educational tours, and other ways to involve the community. We encourage you to pack a lunch, and grab a spot in the viewing area and see how many planes come in.

Another way to view the DTMA is to head out to DeKalb Chamber’s Local Showcase and Spring Fest at 4 p.m. May 14.

• Katherine McLaughlin is the marketing and sales coordinator for the DeKalb County Convention & Visitors Bureau.