Speaking of flying S | RecordCourier.com

Speaking of flying S

Ed Court, Chairman, Minden-Tahoe Airport, Advisory Committee, Gardnerville


World War II initiated the birth of Minden-Tahoe Airport, the Carson Valley Airport and the Douglas County Airport – all names synonymous with our general aviation facility, currently directed by the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, managed by the airport staff and advised by the Airport Advisory Committee.

By today’s basic standards, our airport is as complete an aviation consortium as is found anywhere, with projected plans to become as competitive in our non-commercial category with the best of the West.

In 1996, I was appointed to the Minden-Tahoe Airport Advisory Committee by the county board of commissioners and am about to conclude my initial tenure, four years, working with this select volunteer professional group.

From member to vice-chair to 2000 chairman, the airport has experienced dramatic but positive gains to place this facility financially into a self-supporting position. This is the culmination of hard-working aviation professionals from the conceptual years to the current 2001. All of the past year’s efforts by others should be lauded as well, with many having similar visions, goals and objectives, some of which are a reality today.

My first takeoff from this field was in 1957. The field is known around the world due to the soaring community and the Sierra wave, where many world soaring records exist today due to our outstanding flying conditions and expert pilots.

The 1960s and ’70s found Ed and Jeannine Court operating Lake Tahoe Helicopters Inc. from this facility, as well as the Lake Tahoe airport. Our primary utility functions – STOL (short field takeoff and land aircraft) and helicopters were our working tools.

We provided service to utility companies, the United State Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry, California Division of Forestry in the lower 48 states and to BLM fire suppression in Alaska. In 1983, we changed the company name to Nevada Air Industries, as it is known today.

The winter of 1969 buried the Sierra and the Carson Valley. Wild mustangs in the Pine Nut Mountains east of Gardnerville were floundering in extreme snow depths, unable to reach feed to survive.

Max Jones said, “Ed, I’ll get the hay if you can get it to them.” He did and we did!

The Pine Nut Mustang Association was born and captured the hearts of the world as international media, spearheaded by NBC’s Huntley-Brinkley, reported day-by-day operations, until the wild horses were free to move to lower levels and fare on their own.

Minden-Tahoe Airport has potential to become the ultimate “Eagle’s Nest.”

During the past few years, varied airport issues were voiced and addressed by many parties. The end result – complementing an awareness of opinions, which brought about airport public compatibility. Very positive, leading to many optimistic years ahead and, hopefully, an outstanding factor, public participation.

It has indeed been a pleasure to have served with professional individuals, too many to mention. You all know who you are!

I am proud of my contribution and am honored to have served our growing community.

I thank the Board of County Commissioners for the opportunity to allow my participation with confidence from them, that our common goals for the past few years have, hopefully, been met to their expectations and satisfaction.

Thank you, Nevada, for allowing me to share in your past. Please keep me in mind for your future.