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By Greg Garrett
Tehachapi City Manager 

Our Airport

From the City Manager

 

I've said it before many times, but it's worth repeating: The City is a collection of businesses whose services are designed to enhance the quality of life for Tehachapi residents. Some of our businesses like the water and wastewater departments, directly affect every City resident. Others, like Development Services, often have less of a direct-effect, but still impact the quality of life for all.

One of our most-unique businesses, one that has the potential to affect nearly everyone but often goes unseen beyond a handful of users is the Tehachapi Municipal Airport.

Established in 1929 by the County of Kern, the Airport initially served to bring air mail to Tehachapi and to provide a place for the budding aviation industry to have a local home. Over the years, the Airport has continued to serve a role in the community and has become a hub for emergency response activities, a place for businesses to thrive and a destination for a small group of dedicated general aviation pilots to call home.

Our Airport is not a large airport. Bound by the Union Pacific Railroad to the south, and Highway 58 to the north, the length of the runway is effectively set and is appropriate for a variety of aircraft but none larger than a small corporate jet. What this means is that Tehachapi is unlikely to ever have commuter commercial air service, but it also means that smaller general aviation activities can thrive without having to contend with larger aircraft. It makes Tehachapi a great destination for general aviation pilots looking for a great place to base and visit.

But the airport isn't limited by its accessibility to local pilots. It's also home to groundbreaking businesses like Sierra Technical Services and provides valuable industrial land to businesses like those located at the northern end of Green Street at Airport Industrial Park. These businesses provide jobs and value to our community and enhance the viability of the airport business. Life and property saving aircraft like medical helicopters and firefighting aircraft also regularly utilize our airport for their operations that help to decrease response times and limit potential emergency impacts.

The Airport also provides a great location for educational activities. Each year, hundreds of students from local schools gather at the Airport to test model rockets they've built as a result of science and technology education. It also provides a perfect location for those learning to fly for hobby or professional purposes. We recently had the opportunity to work with the local school district on a "build-a-plane" program to give students the opportunity to learn the basics of airplane construction and flight.

This program illustrates the possibilities that exist at the Airport for activities well beyond just flight. Similar successful non-aviation ventures include the Tehachapi Event Center & Rodeo Grounds as well Aviator Park, which is utilized by Pacific Crest Trail Hikers for safe overnight camping and local non-profit special events.

As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to stop by City Hall or email me at ggarrett@tehachapicityhall.com.

 
 

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