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Page 55
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 3
airport--not the least of which that he wasn't a
pilot and had no desire to be, was in fact, deep
down, the kind of man who kept both feet on
terra firma at all times, a licensed mechanical
engineer since 1955, meaning he understood
the workings of things and what he knew was
that all things with moving parts eventually
broke, especially airplanes, and what would
be worse than a broken airplane at five thou-
sand feet? Jerry didn't know, couldn't even
imagine, but no, he wasn't in the market for
an airport, thank you.
Still, he couldn't not listen.
Jerry Kahlbau was months away from retir-
ing from the University of Texas. For thirty-one
gratifying years he'd been a research engineer
and machine designer, and a darn good one,
and now he was at a turning point in his life.
Soon he'd be retired and then what? He had a
handful of modest real estate holdings around
town but the buildings and rent took care of
themselves, mostly. In ways he didn't want to
admit, an airport sounded interesting--amus-
ing, he didn't know, maybe a way to make some
money, though he couldn't see how. Marshall
talked and Jerry listened and absently shook
his head side-to-side, partly to keep the rain
out of his face and partly out of habit. After
1980. Aerial view of Bird's Nest Airport with circular drop zone of gravel shown in bottom right of photo.
Photo courtesy of Alan Coovert.