Friday, April 26, 2013

Fantasy of Flight: New schedule closes attraction Mondays-Wednesdays


 Fantasy of Flight, the aviation-themed attraction in Polk County, is switching to a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule, effective May 6. It will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those days.

It will no longer be open to guests on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Previously, Fantasy of Flight was open seven days a week.

Closing on non-peak days allows the attraction to focus on development, founder Kermit Weeks said.

"By reducing our days open, we will be able to deliver more focus to our daily customers and use the closed days to focus on developing an even better product that will touch even more people," he said.

For more information, go to

Altitudes Café opens at Suffolk Executive Airport (KSFQ), Virginia

Travelers and hobbyists passing through the Suffolk Executive Airport will once again be able to get a bite to eat at the airport without putting quarters in the vending machines.

Altitudes Café held its grand opening last weekend. Set in the newly remodeled terminal building, the restaurant will serve breakfast platters, sandwiches, burgers and salads. Initially set to be open on weekends only, it will expand to Fridays as the weather warms up.

Owner Raven Ford heard of the opportunity through the work of her husband, Orren Ford, who is an instructor at Skydive Suffolk. She spent lots of time at the facility and eventually met Kevin Hughes, the city’s economic development director.

“He asked me about opening the restaurant, and we just kind of went from there,” Ford said.

The restaurant is an expansion of Cravin’ Raven’s Cheesecakes, which she has operated for several years. It includes cheesecakes, birthday parties, sculpted cakes and special orders.

The airport has been without a restaurant operator since the Throttle Back Café closed.

“We’re kind of hoping it’s going to stay pretty busy,” Ford said. “But it’s going to be hard because the restaurant was closed for so long. I don’t think it will be a problem once the word gets out.”

Ford said she aims to provide good food at reasonable prices while enabling people — both fly-in and walk-in customers — to support a small business rather than eat fast food.

“We try to keep it around that same price range, but better quality food,” she said. “We’re trying to get to that point where people can go out and enjoy a meal and not take long, and it’s not something that comes in a wrapper.”

She also said she hopes to source at least some of her offerings from local farmers.

“We’re excited,” she said, speaking of herself and her business partner, Tanni Williams.

“We are so pleased to welcome Altitudes Café to the Suffolk Executive Airport,” Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson said in a press release. “For many travelers, our airport is both a welcome center and a central hub for their activities in our community. It will be a wonderful amenity for Suffolk’s fly-in visitors and guests to have dining options during their stay.”

To contact the restaurant, call 828-3512.

Story and Photo:

New title, $33,000 raise, 4-year deal for Mike Dunn at Chicago/Rockford International Airport (KRFD), Illinois

 ROCKFORD — Mike Dunn got a new title and a $33,000 raise Thursday when the Greater Rockford Airport Authority approved a new four-year contract.

Dunn was named executive director of Chicago Rockford International Airport by a 3-0 voice vote. There was no discussion.

His salary: $175,000.

Commissioners Paul Cicero, Ray Wetzel and Tom Myers approved the contract. They are a quorum of the five-member board, which has two vacancies. Chairman Bharat Puri resigned in February, and Cicero said Phil Rubin resigned several weeks ago and plans to move to Florida.
Commissioners Darrin Golden and K. Edward Copeland were absent.

The airport authority will provide group life, health accident and disability insurance, and match up to $8,750 of Dunn’s contributions to a retirement plan. The airport will make all payments under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Dunn will get 20 vacation days and an automobile allowance of $1,000 a month. Total compensation will be about $200,000 a year.

“Mike came here with a short-term contract,” Cicero said. “We were confident he would do well and so was he.

“We’ve done a written personnel review of his first year and it was excellent on all accounts. Quite frankly, we want him to stay here.”

Dunn was hired for $142,000 in January 2012 as the director of government affairs and economic development. His contract was for one year and did not include insurance benefits.

His predecessor, Bob O’Brien, made $187,000. O’Brien and the board parted ways in March 2011.

The board did a national search to replace O’Brien, but decided none of the candidates were a good fit. They hired Dunn.

When Dunn was hired, the board said it also planned to hire an operations manager who would report directly to the board chairman. But that won’t happen.

The board also:

    Approved a reorganization that puts Dunn in charge of the operations manager and the board chairman. Dunn was the latter from 2004 to 2010.
    Appointed new officers: Cicero as chairman, Myers as vice chairman, Wetzel as treasurer and Copeland as secretary.

Story and Photo:

Airport study recommends independent authority as long-term solution: Charlotte/Douglas International (KCLT), North Carolina

Airport study suggests independent authority may be long-term solution


A consultant hired by Charlotte city leaders recommends Charlotte Douglas airport remain in the city's hands for now, but that could change down the road.

"It is the hottest ticket in town -- reading this thing and going through it," councilman Andy Dulin said.

The 60-page study, obtained by Eyewitness News, cost taxpayers $150,000. State lawmakers have recently pushed a controversial plan that would take control of Charlotte Douglas away from the city and give it to a regional board.

Read the full report by clicking here.

The study praises the city's governance, saying the airport is "spectacularly successful."

"Charlotte has done a good job," Dulin said. "The authority is not a bad idea, but it's just not workable now."

Even after saying Charlotte has done a great job, in the end, the study did recommend control being handed over to an airport authority, saying a board would be less "politically involved" in airport management, function more like a corporation and keep finances separate from the city.

The authority the study talks about is very different from the one Rep. Bill Brawley introduced a bill to create.

"I think the whole state has a stake in the success of the airport," Brawley said.

The authority in the study would give more control to the city -- over picking board members -- and less to the entire region and surrounding counties.

"We would want to have the entire area that is impacted by the airport included to some extent," Brawley said.

Story and Video: