From the files of Bob Malkas: What an airport supervisor should be doing

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Local Voices

Bob Malkas

After over 40-years of commitment and involvement with the LMA I feel I have a personal obligation in 2021 to continue promoting the correct path to follow that would allow the airport to become financially self-sufficient.

The strategy would have to start with a new commitment from officials to accept the long-standing official Master Plan to develop the airport. That plan already exists but is not updated as required. Its cornerstone is to extend the north-south runway by 2,000 feet. The airport will never be successful without this improvement. The short runways are not a condition that pilots want to contend with, and that limits the types of aircraft that would select Lansing as a base.

Once the revised policy direction is approved, it must be publicized so that the airport community can make plans for using it in their future flying.

Lansing passed Ordinance No. 13-023 in May of 2013. It stipulates that the airport should have a full-time airport supervisor to direct the process to manage the Village’s investment in the airport, and that would include complying with FAA and IDOT guidelines so that participation in grant programs could be insured. The community should be made aware of these plans.

The Illinois Division of Aeronautics proposed in the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Airport Improvement Program an offer to Lansing Municipal Airport of $5,500.000 dollars to construct, light, and mark Runway 18 End Extension (1,615×75’) and Runway 36 End Extension (285×75’).

There was no follow-through.

The newly appointed supervisor would become the point man in the process to gather information about existing conditions and make reports to the Village Board so that they can consider ways to improve and correct them. The Commercial Operator Agreements of all businesses now operating on the airport should be reviewed and updated. It should be determined if the Village is receiving maximum value from its management of that Village-owned building. A report should be prepared to detail how the Ford Hangar has been used as a revenue producer for over the last ten years. Are there any on paper plans to remedy the vacancy?

An inventory of all occupants of the 90 T-hangar units should be compiled and supplied to the Board for them to review and determine if they are being used correctly as required in their agreements with the Village. The report should detail the aircrafts being housed in each unit and the pilot who is paying the rent on a monthly basis so that the total number of aircraft using the field could be determined.

At one time all tenants received periodic newsletters to keep them informed about airport activities and plans for future developments. These should be on file in the airport’s records.

The airport owns the Quonset Hangar on the north side of the property. The supervisor should report to the Board on how it is currently being used — and how it has been used for the last ten years. The Sun Aero hangar now owned by the Village is occupied by businesses that pay some form to rent for their use of the building. The supervisor should prepare a report to the Board detailing the existing conditions. All T-hangar tenants should be given an opportunity to convey to the Board their comments on existing conditions at the airport and what they would recommend to improve them.

The Board should be given reports from the Illinois Division of Aeronautics on what would have to be done for Lansing to again be approved for federal grants. It would be the supervisor’s responsibility to provide this.

I have defined a course of action for dealing with the Cook County leasehold tax issue. They make one demand. Exempt the Lansing Municipal Airport from the tax both now and in future developments. Based on history there is not plausible explanation to deny this request. The taxpayers of Lansing have suffered for this Cook County failure.

Official records show that there were 172 aircraft based at Lansing in 2008. By 2018 official records show that the count was down to 119. I leave it to the readers to determine for themselves the reason for the decline.

Bob Malkas


Local Voices is our version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Send your submissions to The Lansing Journal with “Voices” in the subject line.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thank You Bob Malkis for keeping up to date on the airport.Rumor has it the money for the runway and other projects were mis used by our former administration . I hope it is just that ….rumor ! Lansing needs to upgrade everything and need a supervisor there every day to make sure things are done !A lot could happen with the airport if it was run correctly by a supervisor. Again rumor has it some big businesses were interested if the improvements were made and I had heard some of the first hand. Keep people from running to Griffith and Gry airports when Lansing has a nice facility. Lynnie Ques was a great addition for casual eating for pilots and alike ! Thanks again Bob Keep us posted !

  2. Carl either supply me with your address by email or send request to Bob Malkas P.O Box 168 Lansing Illinois. I will send you a copy of Part 1 of the book I am writing about the airport.

  3. Bob should actually think about coming out of retierement ! 🙂
    i totall y believe in a friendly work enviroment but in the past i know of employees just doing nothing for improvemet and one running his own business out of the airport on their time and dime. We were not to be there to be friends and buddies we were there to do a job ! Ford Hanger should have been ready months ago for what ever its purpose is going to be ! I am not sure a banquet hall is the answer ! Maintenence got very lax for a while which in the long run would cost the village more money ! The fencing around the whole lace is one example !

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