Friday, February 05, 2016

Air Force to train at Marianna Municipal Airport (KMAI), Jackson County, Florida

JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - More aircraft will soon be landing at the Marianna Municipal Airport. Air Force personnel spent Thursday showcasing their CV-22 Osprey aircraft to Jackson County residents at the airport.

"It is a tiltrotor," Lieutenant Colonel Mark Newell, the 8th Special Operations Squadron Commander, said. "It is not a helicopter or airplane. So it's able to take off vertically like a helicopter but also fly at the speed of a turboprop airplane and go long ranges in shorter periods of time."

The 1st Special Operations Wing announced they will soon start conducting training and flight operations for the aircraft at the facility.

"The training would primarily just be take offs and landings and possibly traffic patterns, as we stop in here for refuel," the Lieutenant said.

Stationed of out Hurlburt Field, officials say the area provides realistic training in an urban environment.

"Marianna is conveniently located between a couple of our training areas, so it's a perfect place to stop and get refueled and then continue on our mission," Lt. Col. Newell said.

Crews use to fly the aircraft to the airport in 2014, but stopped sometime after. Officials say it will not only be a benefit to the Air Force but also to citizens of the county.

"It avails a lot of new businesses to the area with the income generated from the fuel," County Commissioner Eric Hill said. "We have some pilots that come here and eventually relocated here. So it does a lot for the county."

Lt. Col. Newell says they will likely train and refuel at the airport three times a week. Residents can expect to see and hear the aircraft landing in a few weeks.

Newell says one of the reasons they stopped using the airport in the past was because of noise complaints from residents.

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