Thursday, August 24, 2017

Barkley Regional Airport (KPAH) Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky: Record number of aircraft

Monday's total solar eclipse attracted the largest collection of planes ever to land at Barkley Regional Airport.

"We had 84 aircraft arrivals for the event," said Richard Roof, airport manager.

"We had some that showed up as early as Saturday, and the last one left yesterday (Tuesday)," he said. "We had everything from a single seat, home-built experimental aircraft through a corporate jet almost the size of SkyWest."

According to Eddie Grant, airport marketing manager, over 200 people arrived on private planes at the airport from 15 states, including New York, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Ohio.

"We had some folks that, after the airplane was stopped, unloaded lounge chairs, shade umbrellas and coolers and stayed with the plane, although most went to our viewing area," Roof said. "A surprising number were either being met being met by family or friends or had a rental car and were viewing off site."

Over 60 cars were rented, both for arriving SkyWest passengers and general aviation passengers. In addition, there were 201 control tower take-offs and landings (though not all eclipse-related), and 1,400 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel and 5,600 gallons of Jet A fuel were sold.

"We'll declare that to be a pretty good day," said Roof.

While there are no official crowd counts available for historical comparison, the airport manager said the Paducah visits of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush attracted several thousand people.

Regardless of the crowd count, the airport drew positive responses for services provided during the eclipse.

"Overall, everyone's pre-event planning worked extremely well and the event went very smoothly," Roof said. "We got a lot of compliments from passengers and flight crews. If we were to do it again tomorrow, there'd be only one or two minor changes we'd make to the whole thing."

While it won't be tomorrow, the airport will get to make those minor changes since Paducah will be in the path of the next total solar eclipse in seven years.

"Almost everyone was amazed and pleased as to how well executed everything was ... and many of them also said they will be back in 2024."

Original article can be found here ➤

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