Chris and Amanda Welsh, with the Henderson-Oxford Airport, were on Thursday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss their recent hiring as the local airport’s newest fixed-base operators (FBOs).
Hired in October to manage day-to-day operations such as fueling, hangaring and maintenance, the Welsh family brings a lifelong love for aviation and their years of experience working at the Triangle North Airport in Franklin County with them on this new venture.
“I’ve been involved with airplanes basically my entire life,” said Chris. “My father got his pilot’s license when he was in college, so I’ve been exposed to them, literally, since birth.”
With aviation in his blood, Welsh began working with a mechanic at the Louisburg airport after his own graduation from college and has spent the past six years there honing his skills.
Upon learning that the Henderson-Oxford Airport was in need of a new FBO, Welsh said he and his family put together a presentation for the airport’s Board Authority and the rest is history.
The Welshes’ main goal for the airport, located on the aptly named Airport Rd. in Oxford, is to increase the general aviation traffic and to make businesses and corporations more aware of its existence and amenities.
“General aviation has ebbed and flowed [recently], said Amanda. “We are just at an ebb. Right now, we have a great condition runway at a good length [5,500 ft]. We just had our apron redone and are having work done on our lights to get them up to LED spec.”
“The facilities of the airport have outpaced operations,” she further explained.
The Welshes anticipate that continuous growth in Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park will help push business their way. “I think Raleigh’s going to come north and that the people of Henderson and Oxford are going to see growth from those who want to get just outside of North Raleigh,” Amanda said.
Proximity to the interstate is another plus for aviation traffic, according to Chris. “This airport has good access, via I-85, to the Durham area. As RDU grows and becomes less friendly to very small aircraft – piston/propeller-type, you’re seeing the movement of these traffic operations go to the Sanford or Louisburg airports. We’re hoping to draw some of that traffic to the Henderson-Oxford Airport.”
The airport is also increasing awareness by participating in events such as the annual military history show. Celebrating its third year this past October, the event coordinated by Harry Coombs features various military displays from the Revolutionary War, World War II, Vietnam and more. The Welshes hope to make the event even bigger next fall with the addition of rides and games for the whole family.
The airport also offers flying lessons for all interested potential pilots. Instructor Paul Hesse with Empire Aviation runs the flight school and can be contacted by clicking here.
To hear the interview in its entirety, please click here.
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