JUST ASK SHANE: Why Do Military Planes Fly Around the Pasco Airport?
PASCO, WA - Every now and then I get an email with a question from a viewer who just moved to the area recently. Allen sent me an email saying, "I live by the Pasco Airport, and I often see military aircraft landing and then taking off, and then flying around the airport. Why are they here?"
Allen, this all starts with a history lesson. When the Pasco airfield was originally built in the 1940's, it was a training station for the Navy's pilots. The Navy closed the Pasco Naval Air Station back in 1946, and transferred the ownership of the airport to the City of Pasco, and eventually the Port of Pasco.
But as part of the transfer, the Navy retained the right to utilize the airfield to their advantage. These days, that means using the airport for training exercises. The planes come over from Whidbey Island and use the runway to practice touch and go landings. In fact, two planes were here training earlier this week.
"When they come over from Whidbey Island, they'll spend a couple of hours and they have more than one pilot inside that they rotate, so that everybody gets some training time when they come over here," said Ron Foraker, Tri-Cities Airport Director.
Foraker says the training sessions are pretty sporadic. Sometimes they'll be here every day for a week, and then not again for a month or so. A Navy spokesperson told me the training missions to Pasco are important because they give the young pilots some exposure to different environments.
Remember, if you've got a question about something going on in our community... send it my way. You can reach me in the newsroom at (509) 737-6738, or send me an email at JustAskShane@nbcrightnow.com.