Henry G. Lackey, Deputy Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Aviation, was the guest speaker for the Soup and Sandwich Series held by the Bell County Chamber of Commerce.
Lackey was the mayor of Henderson from 2003 to 2006 and also served on the Kentucky Senate from 1982 to 1986 and 1991 to 1994. He has been a private pilot for 35 years.
Lackey spoke about the importance of aviation in Kentucky and the services that the department of aviation provide for the state. The department does several safety and maintenance projects throughout the state. They inspect runways, taxiways, aprons, lighting and fuel systems.
The department also manages the Capital City Airport and provide maintenance of based and state aircraft. The state owns 11 aircraft. The average year for the aircraft is 1976.
The state takes part in several missions using aircraft. Those missions include: strip mine inspections, emergency disaster relief, wildfire spotting and search and rescue.
The Airport Zoning Commission, which is a department within the department of aviation, issues permits for any tall structures built or altered on or near a public airport by Kentucky law.
Medical emergency services is another topic Lackey discussed. Lackey said Kentucky has more helicopter medical emergency services than Canada.
Lackey then focused on the Middlesboro Airport. Lackey said there has been around $2 million invested in the airport. Any business or business owner in corporate America that has to come to Middlesboro uses the airport.
The Middlesboro Airport is a single runway, general aviation airport owned jointly by the city of Middlesboro and Bell County. It is home to over 45 based aircraft and 16,000 annual operations.
Future improvements for the airport include: runway widening, taxiway widening, runway lighting, obstruction lighting, runway lengthening and new hangars.
To finish the presentation, Lackey played several soundbites of pilots that allowed the audience to get hear what goes on inside of an aircraft.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.