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NEWS - 27 August 2005

AWOS ACTIVE

A new AWOS (Automated Weather Observation System) was commissioned at Okeechobee County Airport during August, 2005, which can be contacted at 118.675 or, by telephone, at (863) 467-1148.

The AWOS system provides accurate, precise weather data, to pilots, the FAA and the National Weather Service. Okeechobee's AWOS provides Altimeter Setting, Density Altitude, Dew Point, Lightning Detection, Precipitation, Sky Conditions, Temperature, Variable Wind, Wind Direction, Wind Gust and Wind Speed.

 

NEWS - 04 August 2005

OKEECHOBEE AIRPORT HAS A NEW MANAGER

By Pete Gawda, Okeechobee News
Okeechobee County Airport's new manager, Vernon Gray, comes to the job with years of experience. He is a veteran of 22 years in the navy in the aviation field. In addition, he spent 16 years as a civilian defense contractor in the aviation field.

Mr. Gray said that after two years of retirement he decided to go back to work.

After applying for the job, he was interviewed over the telephone in late March. Next, on April 11, he had a 3.5-hour face-to-face interview with County Administrator George Long. Mr. Long must have liked what he heard because Mr. Gray said that two or three weeks later, he was offered the job as manager of the airport and the industrial park.

Upon arrival, he hit the ground running. He is now in his fifth week and is involved in several projects.

"Thus far he has done a great job and I expect he is going to continue to do that," was Mr. Long's comment about the new airport manager.

Mr. Long went on to say that he expected to see more uniformity in leases and better maintenance.

The apron lighting project will soon be completed that will light up the area around the terminal building, the aircraft parking area and the fueling area.

Mr. Gray said the Automated Weather Observation Station (AWOS) is operational. Using this system, pilots approaching Okeechobee can receive current weather conditions by radio. He said it would pick up lighting 75 miles away.

In three or four months, Mr. Gray said the airport master plan carrying the airport ten years into the future would be completed.

Security fencing around the airport will be completed this year.

Mr. Gray said he was actively seeking tenants for the industrial park. He said his priority was to facilitate economic development of the airport and the industrial park and to create jobs. He said he measured economic development by the number of jobs created and that while renting hangars generates revenue for the county, it doesn't generate jobs.

However, he said that all hangars are rented and there is a waiting list of 20 people for vacant hangars.

Mr. Gray said there seems to be a lot of interest in renting industrial park space. He said he had a call from a woman in Oregon who was interested in a 30 to 40,000 thousand square foot warehouse.

As a drawing point, the Okeechobee airport has the lowest priced aviation fuel in the area, he said.

Mr. Gray grew up in rural southern Maryland and he said that coming to Okeechobee was like coming back to the area where he grew up. He and his wife have two grown sons. One is a teacher and the other son is in civil engineering.

The Grays also have four grandchildren.

      

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AWOS ACTIVE
A new AWOS (Automated Weather Observation System) was commissioned at Okeechobee County Airport during August, 2005, which can be contacted at 118.675 or, by telephone, ....
The Landing Strip Cafe
Acclaimed as one of Florida's very best fly-in restaurants ($100 dollar hamburger), The Landing Strip Cafe' is conveniently located within the Okeechobee Airport Terminal.