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Page 86
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 4
"If the road ever gets this far."
"Even if it doesn't."
Jerry swiveled around and looked at the
busy room, at men in smudged work clothes,
at a single diner in a suit and tie in the corner.
As if talking to the suited man, he said, "My
wife and Mr. Adams don't get along. Some-
thing someone said to someone, I think. I
don't recall. Whatever it was, it stuck." He lift-
ed his cup for the waitress. "You understand
what I'm saying?"
"I don't believe I do."
"If you try to work a deal with Mr. Adams,
the owner financing is off the table."
"Just like that?" Dayle said and neatly placed
his knife on the napkin next to his plate.
"Some things don't make sense," Jerry
said. "They just are."
"Without deeded access, I can't get a title
policy. And without a title policy, I can't get
bank financing to improve the place, expand
the flight school, redo the runway, and a hun-
dred other things."
Jerry pushed his pie plate into the center
of the table. The plate had delicate, blue rose
petals around the rim and looked out of place
in the rustic diner. Taking his time, he lifted
a tatty cloth napkin from his lap, wiped his
mouth, and folded the napkin into a square the
size of a handkerchief. He placed the square
on the table directly in front of him. "Please
don't think me rude, but none of that's my
In all, nothing came of the deal. Jerry Kahl-
bau was pleasant enough, but inflexible.
Another Go at Bird's Nest
Then in 2006 when rumors of a new toll
road proved true enough, Dayle made anoth-
er pass at buying Bird's Nest Airport. This
time, he went at it in reverse. He approached
Lew Adams, signed him to an option to pur-
chase his 50-acre property with deeded ac-
cess, and then bellied up to Jerry Kahlbau. In
the intervening years Jerry's wife, LaNelle,
had passed and Jerry had softened in some
ways. He agreed to a 90-day option, time
enough, everyone believed, to put all the
pieces in place and close a big airport devel-
opment deal. Immediately, Dayle put his team
together. He contacted Tre Deathe, head of
the Texas Aviation Association, and asked him
to join the team. And, since the group needed
someone who could count, Dayle invited Rick
Winter and asked him to put together a busi-
ness plan, spreadsheets and forecasts. The
three formed BN Group Development and
worked for months mulling over airport busi-
ness strategies and highlighting opportunities
and threats and meeting with knowledgeable
At the same time, another pair of investors,
Tim Casey, a pilot, one-time flight instructor
at Bird's Nest Airport and real estate execu-
tive, and Arlene Wohlgemuth, pilot, former
legislator, and lobbyist, formed Eagle Rock,
LLC and wanted to develop Bird's Nest them-
For months the two groups, BN Group
Development and Eagle Rock, LLC, worked
independently, feverishly running about the