Plans for solar eclipse celebration discussed


NEW KNOXVILLE – Plans for a 2024 solar eclipse celebration and an upcoming 5K run were part of the discussion at the May 10 Auglaize County Airport Authority (ACAA) meeting at the Neil Armstrong Airport outside of New Knoxville. Rapidly rising gas prices were also noted.

Airport manager Ted Bergstrom received the ACAA go-ahead to form an April 2024 Solar Eclipse planning committee. Bergstrom said a total eclipse of the sun will happen on April 8, 2024, at roughly 3 p.m., passing almost directly over the airport. The committee will help with a possible large flight volume into the airport. Items considered for discussion are gift bags with viewing glasses, food trucks, and other possible activities for arriving groups prior to the eclipse.

Bergstrom also said promotions have begun for the June 11 Fly Me To The Moon 5K – Promotions for the race have begun. The agenda for the event includes a 9:30 pm start for the 5K, which involves closing down the runways for a race lit by runway lights. Afterwards there will be fireworks and food trucks. Those interested in participating in the 5K can register at

Surging fuel prices were also discussed.

The airport manager said that 100 low lead is $5.31 He said the area average is $5.83, noting gas prices jumped an average of 28 cents since the ACAA April meeting on the 12th. What has kept their prices down was receiving an April 13 delivery of 100LL delivery before the price increases. The current inventory is 5,000 gallons.

Jet A fuel is $6.39. The area average is $5.34. Jet A fuel has jumped 42 cents since the April meeting. The last Jet delivery was on MARCH 29, 2022. The current inventory is 6,000 gallons.

Airport financial officer Mark Howe reported that the airport cash on hand is $188,455, up $16,046 over the same time last year. Net income was $1,248 for April and $61,596 year to date. Normal April expenses were down $18,000 from the same time last year.

It was noted by ACAA president Brent Richter that the terms of three of their airport authority board members expire on June 30, 2022. They are Gene Will, Sara Topp and Jason Clark. Richter said none of the members have indicated as to whether they want to renew their board membership. The ACAA members discussed several options for reaching out to new members.

The airport manager said preparations for moving the Longhorn Learjet 28 to Neil Armstrong Museum in Wapakoneta is moving forward. He said pad construction has begun at the museum, with concrete to be at full strength by first week in June. The last week of May is when crews will begin the decommissioning and disassembly of the aircraft. The week of June 6 is expected the time the Learjet will be moved, dependent on the weather, he said.

The Learjet was operated by Neil Armstrong in 1979, when he broke altitude and rate-of-climb records in a corporate jet.

Reviewing the airport hangar maintenance projects, Bergstrom said additional metal quotes have been received for hangars G and H exteriors. The hangar J parking lot will get a seal coat by Taylor Paving & Striping in July.

He said the hangar wait list now has four people, although none are interested in D block.

Hangar F office area renovations are still ongoing.

The next ACAA meeting is Tuesday, June 14, at the airport.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

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