Terre Haute Regional Airport

Terre Haute Regional Airport is one step closer to obtaining a new Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting vehicle.

Bids for the new $750,000 vehicle are due April 26, said Scott Craig, attorney for the airport’s board of directors. The board will likely hold a special meeting to award a bid prior to a May 2 deadline for submission to the Federal Aviation Administration for grant funding.

The bid award will be contingent upon federal funding. Monica Newhouse-Rodriguez, managing principal of Newhouse & Associates which serves as the airport consultant, said the airport qualifies for a larger model vehicle and voiced confidence it would receive the federal funds.

The vehicle is part of the airport’s five-year capital improvement plan. That plan includes design and construction of a new fire station at the airport.

“The vehicle will be the first step,” Jeff Hauser, airport executive director, said after the meeting. Hauser said airport authorities are “now looking at 2024” for design and construction funding for a new fire station from the FAA, as well as state funds, Hauser said.

Airport personnel will use the new rescue vehicle to quickly respond to any aircraft fire emergency, while the Terre Haute Fire Department would also respond. The vehicle is required for certain aircraft landing, including a jet that regularly moves federal prisoners to and from the Terre Haute Penitentiary, Hauser said.

In other business, the airport has about 83% of funding remaining in its 2021 budget through March, which is close to last year’s percentage of the same time, when the airport had 85% of its budget remaining.

“In our revenues, we also have a little bit of an increase, almost a $16,000 increase in general operating revenue,” said Kelsey Veatch, finance manager. Veatch said the increase is from box hangar rental income, revenue from restaurant rent and “we had an increase in fuel flowage fees,” she said, which points to an increase in flights at the airport.

In a related issue, another vintage aircraft through the Commemorative Air Force is slated to come to the airport.

A SNJ/T-6 Texan, a World War II trainer aircraft that has characteristics of a high-speed fighter of its era, is scheduled to be at the airport May 28-30, through the Minnesota Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.

Ethan and Emily Malavolti, owners of Malavolti Aviation Services and Corsair Cafe, located in the terminal building at the airport, are sponsoring the aircraft’s arrival.

Rides on that plane, a two-seater, will cost $395 for a flight of 20 to 25 minutes, said Ethan Malavolti, who will fly the aircraft.

“It is a blast to fly and takes you back to a different realm” of aircraft history, Malavolti said. Starting Friday, Corsair Cafe will offer a one-ride giveaway. “Anybody who visits the cafe can submit one entry per day,” Malavolti said.

Currently, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, through the Central Texas Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, known as “That’s All, Brother,” is at the airport through today, also offering rides. That aircraft, carrying paratroopers, led the main airborne invasion of Normandy, France on D-Day on June 6, 1944. Hoosier Aviation is sponsoring this aircraft’s visit to Terre Haute.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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