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Page 98
AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 4
Three, nothing was level. Not even close.
The rolling hills of the property would need
the tops snipped and carted off to fill in the
bottom land. Once you decide on an elevation
for the runway, all the other elements (taxi-
way, ramp, hangars, jet center, FBO building,
fuel farm, and on it goes) seek the same level,
which means great tons of dirt work.
Four, the electrical power station north of
us and the connecting towers leading to and
from the station were in the middle of the air-
port's approach and departure path.
Five, look the other way and the Manor
High School and Middle School complex is
a short two miles south. It's hard to imagine
the school district supporting an airport that
points its airplanes directly over the school.
Six, street access to SH 130 requires build-
ing a new road over a low point in the proper-
ty. I'm already wondering what a bridge costs.
Seven, even if I'm able to resolve all the
other issues--no guarantees on this point--
the runway as proposed puts aircraft in the
flight path of Austin-Bergstrom International.
I couldn't risk the possibility of a mid-air col-
lision involving a Bird's Nest taildragger and
a Boeing 777.
One more. The proposed runway would
cross two creeks. And that's not going to hap-
pen. In the presentation Dayle and Tre and
Rick put together, they inked in a 5,500-foot
runway in a more or less north-south axis, sort
of overlapping the existing runway. The prob-
lem was that the new longer runway would
have to cross several creeks. Let's agree it
was not impossible to reroute a creek, but
whether you could get the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers to agree with you--not to men-
tion the city, the county, and creek-loving en-
vironmentalists and water resource crazies
from all corners--was another matter. And
even if you could get everyone on board, my
guess was the process would take five to ten
years with no guarantee of receiving approv-
al. An alternative was to set aside the north-
south runway alignment and instead go with a
northeast-southwest alignment which stayed
well clear of any creeks.
At the end of our tour, early afternoon, the
five of us huddled next to the flight office,
Dayle and Tre and Tim trying to read my
face, hoping for a sign.
"What do you think?" Dayle said to me.
"I need some time," I said. "To think about
it."
"I wish there was something I could say."
"Like what?" I asked.
"That's the thing," Dayle said. "I don't even
know."
Weak Links
I believe we all experience the world in our
own unique way, through senses conditioned
by time and experience and truths only we
can understand. Some feel pitfalls ahead and
move with caution. Others smell advantage
and act quickly. I'm tempted to say I look at
the world around me as I might a machine--
though that strikes me too cold--as a thing
of many moving parts. When I can, I'll take
a thing apart and learn how it works. And
when I can't, like now, I imagine all the parts
slowing down. When the parts are moving
this slowly, it's easy to see how an adjustment