Eddie Chiles, who once owned the Texas Rangers, was known for his oil well services companyís television commercials in which he said, ďIf you donít have an oil well, get one.Ē Despite the nationwide reputation Texas residents have managed to project, that achievement remains easier said than done. And for most residents, acquiring title to an airplane is about as probable.

But that doesnít mean the local airport is not important to them.

Even before the community lost its commercial passenger service when the federal Essential Airline Service subsidy was withdrawn, City of Brownwood and airport officials understood that the real mission of Brownwood Regional Airport is found in general aviation. Thatís not to say that the matter of scheduled passenger service has been forgotten, because continued growth of area industries as well as new developments in aircraft design may eventually make flight feasible. But if that happens, it will be a bonus. The future of aviation in Brown County, as determined by a recent airport master plan, will remain in the realm corporate and personal flight.

Airport officials have been working diligently in recent months to enhance Brownwood Regionalís place on the map with a series of fly-ins featuring Saturday lunches and fellowship. School classes and youth groups are hosted routinely for field trips, encouraging the next generation of aviators to consider the possibilities. The airport serves corporate customers like FedEx, UPS, Kohler, 3M, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in addition to its more than 50 based general aviation aircraft.

A century ago, the train depot was the site where most visitors to the community got their first impression of it. Thatís not the case with the airport, but it is the place where decision-makers in business and politics see their first ó and most recent ó looks at Brownwood. And with the improvements made in facilities there in past years, that impression is a positive one.

In years to come, a modern airport and aviation services will only become more important to support businesses and industry that will be required to look further into international markets to compete. Itís a partnership for which only the sky is the limit.

Brownwood Bulletin