Thursday, October 26, 2017

Former Whiteside County Airport (KSQI) manager lands at Dixon Municipal Airport (C73): Mike Dowell will offer charter service, training, aircraft rental



DIXON – The Dixon Municipal Airport got a new arrival Wednesday that officials hope will bring more traffic to the facility.

A group of pilots led by M&M Aviation Services owner Mike Dowell, who managed the Whiteside County Airport for 21 years, flew four planes to their new home in Dixon.

Dowell is bringing his charter service, flight training and aircraft rental business, and is renting four hangars and office space in the terminal. The flight school includes private pilots as well as students from Sauk Valley Community College.

The decision to move came after more than 2 months of contentious talks at Whiteside – the airport board hired new leadership over Dowell in August and denied his request to continue doing business there last week.

He said he wanted to stay in the area and continue serving the client base he built in the past 2 decades, so he went back to his roots where he first started his business doing flight instruction in 1995.

“For us, it’s not only a welcome here, it’s coming home,” he said.

Dixon Airport Board President Dan Ruckman said Dowell’s business and knowledge of airport operations will be a boon to the airport.

There had been talk that the airport could be on the city’s chopping block a year ago when the City Council was looking into whether it would be worth it to improve the facility or close it down.

“I think it’s going to be good for the airport and for Dixon,” Ruckman said. “This will increase traffic, fuel sales and maintenance and create more of an aviation presence here.”

The hope is that it also will encourage more students to become pilots in a field that’s high in demand. The number of pilots has dropped significantly since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the industry is now faced with a shortage.

Dowell told the Whiteside Airport Board last week that denying him rental space violated Federal Aviation Administration guidelines that say an airport can’t give exclusive rights to a business that could hinder competition, and that the matter should be decided in court.

Dowell hasn’t decided whether he’ll pursue litigation.

He will join other fixed-base operators at the airport, Breneman Aircraft Services and Crystal Aero Services, which offer fuel sales, maintenance and flight training.

“We’re just glad to be here,” he said. “We can already see the support from people who want us here.”

MORE INFORMATION


M&M Aviation Services has moved to the Dixon Municipal Airport, 1650 Franklin Grove Road.

Go to mmaviation.net for more information.

The company's corporate headquarters is at 2910 W. Rock Falls Road/U.S. Route 30 in Rock Falls.

Go to discoverdixon.org for more information on the airport.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.saukvalley.com

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