Business View Magazine | December 2018

192 193 CEDAR CITY REGIONAL AIRPORT airmail, we’ve got to have some emergency land- ing strips,” he recounts. “So, it put some invest- ment into Cedar and built an emergency landing strip for airmail – that was in 1929.” In July 1931, the Cedar City Chamber of Com- merce recommended that the City take over oper- ation of the Airport from the federal government due to dissatisfaction with the way it was being run. Almost seven years later, in March 1938, the federal government yielded, and officially turned the Airport over to the City. In November 1941, civic leaders obtained a Civil Aeronautics Author- ity (CAA) grant for $287,000 to finance leveling and grading the airfield, fencing it, placing bound- ary lights, installing an enormous beacon, and contracting two mile-long runways. The Branch Agricultural College, now known as Southern Utah University, was already training pilots in a CAA-approved pilot-training school, which was started in 1939. The improved air- field and training program helped secure the assignment of the 316th Army Air Corps Training Detachment to the Branch Agricultural College after the United States entered World War II. Cadets completed pre-flight classes on campus and received 10 hours of flying instruction at the Airport in B-17s and B-25s. Today, the University is still the Airport’s biggest user for flight training. “Commercial service started in 1951,” Valgard- son continues. “We had Western Airlines as our first commercial operator, then Bonanza, then Hughes Airwest. Skywest Airlines started in St. George in 1972, just 40 miles south of us; they were running routes from St. George to Salt Lake, and they did one stop in Cedar City. Today, Sky- west is our current carrier.We’re essentially a gen- eral aviation airport with commercial service on the side.We maintain our Airport to com- mercial standards because we know we’ve got that commercial user and the FAA is going to hold us to those standards, but our real bread and butter is our GA use.” Catering to the GA community is a priori- ty for Valgardson. Currently there are 66 GA aircraft based at Cedar City with a waiting list of 25. “The Airport doesn’t have a lot of assets,” he admits. “We have one set of T-hangars and two smaller executive hangars.We’ve got open tie-downs, but with our climate, nobody wants to sit out in the sun in the middle of the summer, and then, snow and ice in the middle of the winter.One of my goals, right now, is to try and get the City to feed the need and build some hangars so we can lease them out.” Another goal for Valgardson is to get the City to purchase land outside the Airport