Organizations like Wings of Carolina, Elite Aircraft Services opt for Raleigh Exec Jetport in the Triangle Region
Elite Aircraft Services, Wings of Carolina Flying Club, N.C. Forest Service and many other partners operate at and use the amenities of Raleigh Executive Jetport.Posted — Updated
From flying clubs to the state forest service, a number of organizations rely on Raleigh Executive Jetport's space and amenities. After recently undergoing major updates, the regional airport — located just off US-1 in Lee County, between Sanford and Cary — is primed for both business and recreation.
Founded in 1961, the Wings of Carolina flying club relocated from Chapel Hill to Sanford in 2001. Since then, they've leased land and built a hangar and facility on the south end of the airfield where they store planes, conduct lessons and meetings, and house offices. Since one of the club's primary functions is to train new fliers, the lower traffic levels and state-of-the-art facilities at Raleigh Exec make it the perfect space to do so.
"Raleigh Exec is what we call an uncontrolled field, meaning there's no traffic control that you have to communicate with. That's really convenient for an operation like ours because it's much easier to do flight training here," said Geoff Myers, president of Wings of Carolina. "At that same time, it helps to be near airports that do have those facilities, so you can get trained on them. At Raleigh Exec, you've got RDU and Greensboro both a short hop away, so it's really been a convenient location for us."
Other organizations, like Elite Aircraft Services, use Raleigh Exec for training, as well — but thanks to the hangar space, they're also able to use it for much more. Incorporated in 2008, the organization manages over 175 customers and 35 aircraft, ranging in locations everywhere from Winston-Salem to Myrtle Beach.
At Raleigh Exec, Elite Aircraft Services leases land for four large corporate hangars they own. It also use two of Raleigh Exec's hangars for storage, as well as other amenities like the full-service and self-service fueling. For the company, the extra space the airport affords was much-needed.
"Once we reached maximum growth capability at RDU, we needed to add an additional location to continue growing — Raleigh Exec was a clear choice for our needs. The population and business growth patterns, plans for the future Interstate 540, ease of a traffic-free commute, and the airport authority's willingness to collaborate and develop are just a few of the reasons we were drawn to the airport," said Elite Aircraft President Matt Walsh. "Not to mention the relaxed atmosphere, privacy, security, and active desire for growth. It's also an extreme benefit that 100 percent of the aircraft property tax monies are strictly for airport upkeep and development. It's nice to know where your tax money is going and how it helps grow the airport, local businesses, and the community."
In addition to aviation-focused organizations like Elite Aircraft Services and Wings of Carolina, state entities also benefit from the location and resources of Raleigh Exec. Since the airport is almost perfectly positioned in the middle of the state, organizations that need easy access across the span of North Carolina use the airport as their central hub.
For the North Carolina Forest Service, Raleigh Exec serves as a hub for maintenance, storage, and refueling.
"If you took a ruler and drew a line between our other locations at Kinston Regional Jetport and Hickory Regional, you'd find that Raleigh Exec is almost in the middle," said Robert Delleo, Aviation Division director and chief pilot at the North Carolina Forest Service. "Whenever an aircraft needs maintenance, we fly it to Sanford and are able to fix it up, which makes it convenient for us. We also lease a hangar and use an office and some storage space there."
In leasing a hangar at Raleigh Exec, the Forest Service also uses the fuel and water hydrants at the airport to fill up their planes. In fact, during the latest updates, the airport specifically installed a water hydrant next door to the Forest Service's hangar, which they're able to quickly use before heading out to fight fires.
That communication and interest in the needs of their clients is a hallmark of Raleigh Exec. In fact, both Meyers and Walsh have nothing but praise for the airport's management.
"We've got a great relationship with the airport and Bob Heuts, the airport director, has told me numerous times if I need anything, just walk in and ask or give them a call on the phone," said Myers. "They come down a couple of times a day and check all of our planes and make sure that they have fuel in them. It's a huge help and just automatic."
Echoed Walsh, "Raleigh Exec is more than just your average airport — it's a stepping stone to building your aviation business. They're eager to grow, have tons of insight into the area, and years of experience that they apply towards helping you reach your company's goals."
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