August 2008 Editorial Winner

Woodring flight plan

By Jeff Mullin, Enid News & Eagle

In 1911, when American aviation was in its infancy, Clyde Cessna, an Enid automobile dealer, built his first airplane.

Aviation and Enid have been inexorably linked ever since.

That legacy of flight is reflected in the history of Enid Woodring Regional Airport, built in 1927 as the first municipal airport in the state.

But use of Woodring has been descending of late, rather than climbing.

It currently is the 10th largest in the state, down from fifth largest in 2004.

Enid’s Airport Advisory Board recently set a series of short- and long-term goals for the airport, aimed at helping it grow.

Plans include building an industrial park, providing for maintenance and airport growth.

A plan to attract aviation-related businesses to Enid is a natural in a community that not only gave birth to Cessna’s dream, but has, since 1941, been home to the facility now known as Vance Air Force Base.The advisory board’s plan would create jobs and a new tax base for the city, as well as improving the airport’s infrastructure.

Many planned projects will take time and money, including work on one runway, taxiways, hangars and the terminal building. A free trade zone will be established, and plans are to position the airport to regain commercial air service through the federal Essential Air Service program.

The board also wants to coordinate with the Air Force for contract travel services.

Since 1927 Woodring has been a key asset for Enid. The advisory board’s goals may be lofty, but they could spell a much needed resurgence for the airport, which in turn could help our economy take off.