Sunday, December 21, 2014

Marshalltown Municipal Airport (KMIW) issued improved runway approaches • Utilizes GPS technology

 Shown is the Marshalltown Municipal Airport/Niederhauser Field sign at the facility’s entrance, 2651 170th St., Saturday. Marshalltown Aviation, Inc., a subsidiary of Midland Aircraft Sales and Service, Inc., is manager.   

Stephen Valbracht has been in the aviation business for 15 years and continues to be amazed at technological advances.

Valbracht, manager of the Marshalltown Municipal Airport, was talking specifically about new instrument approaches to both sides of the airport's primary runway installed one month ago.

The new approaches takes advantage of newer GPS technology allowing pilots to navigate to the runway while also giving the pilot a vertical path to follow, he said.

"These approaches lower the height to which an aircraft can fly without first seeing the ground," he said. "Also, by providing an instrument-guided path on which to descend, the aircraft are in a better position to see the runway during poor weather."

Valbracht was thrilled to describe the new equipment, which was once only available with a significant investment.

"It is great," he said. "The instrument approaches are something we have enjoyed at larger airports over the years and now is available in Marshalltown."

Aircraft affiliated with area businesses and industry have taken advantage of the new equipment, as are other pilots.

Valbracht said a number of central Iowa companies rely on the airport and the new GPS equipment is an economic development tool which makes the area attractive to expansion or new business and industry.

Marshalltown was issued the new equipment as a result of local efforts which required a specialized survey and other work.

"The advances in aviation technology the past 10 and past five years has been amazing," Valbracht said. "The GPS technology now in place at the Marshalltown airport is something we would have dreamt about 10 years ago."

Valbracht became manager of the local airport in 2009, assuming control from long-time manager Bill Smothers.

Midland Aviation Sales and Service, of which Valbracht is co-owner, also manages the Newton Municipal Airport.

Ethan Nasalroad, Valbracht's partner, is the Newton manager.

The Newton airport obtained the GPS equipment a number of years ago at the request of the former Maytag Co.

Marshalltown airport business hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, call 641-752-0012.


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