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"Watsonville airport projects take off; hangar construction follows restaurant deal"



Sunday, April 1, 2012

Watsonville airport projects take off; hangar construction follows
restaurant deal 
By DONNA JONES
The Santa Cruz (CA) Sentinel


WATSONVILLE - Projects are taking off at the Watsonville Municipal Airport.

With the ink barely dry on an agreement to complete a $100,000 revamp to the
airport's restaurant for a new tenant, a veteran business is preparing to
break ground for a 14,500-square-foot hangar.

United Flight Services general manager Laura Mohler said the estimated
$600,000 hangar will replace the trailer the business is using as an office
and enable mechanics to work on aircraft with a roof over their heads.

"Getting the hangar built will be a huge advantage to us," Mohler said.

Not only will it improve the working conditions for mechanics but it could
attract more business. Many pilots prefer to see their planes locked inside
at night, Mohler said.

It's one more piece of good news for the airport, said Rayvon Williams, who
was named the airport's general manager in November and oversaw the search
for restaurant tenant. Props, as the aviation-themed eatery will be known,
is expected to open this spring.

Williams was host a tenant appreciation party Saturday. 

The hangar project has been two years in the making, but environmental
studies and the discovery of historic fuel contamination of soil slowed
work, Mohler said. Construction is set to start in June, and Mohler hopes it
will be complete by the end of the year.

"We're picking up speed now and getting back on track," she said.

In addition to 10,000 feet of inside work space, the hangar will feature six
offices. United Flight Services will use one and lease the others.
Aviation-related businesses will get first crack at renting the spaces,
Mohler said.

United Flight Services offers a range of aviation services, including
aircraft inspections and maintenance, plane rental and flight instruction.
Its fleet includes four single-engine Cessnas.

It has operated at the Watsonville airport since 1966. In 2002, the business
was purchased by Bob Ross and Alicia Márquez. Ross was killed in a 2010
plane crash in Arkansas. His wife, Joyce Ross, is now the primary
shareholder.

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