News Article | 12/21/2007

Council supports Hillwood Alliance flight school

After hearing a presentation from Hillwood Corporation representative Matt Byrd Monday night, the Haslet City Council agreed to consider a resolution at the first meeting in January in support of Hillwood’s plans to operate a flight training school at Alliance Airport.

“The council was very impressed with the presentation,” said Diane Rasor, Haslet’s city secretary. “They believe this will be very good for the city. Because there are not enough military bases to provide this training, the government is contracting with private airports for the service.”

Byrd said the program will train foreign pilots under the direct supervision of the United States Air Force. There will be three Air Force personnel on site during the operations.

“Providing this training would contribute to U.S. foreign policy and national security,” Byrd said.

According to a fact sheet provided by Hillwood, the program will produce a maximum of 28 flights per day, Monday through Friday. Ten of those flights will depart between 9 and 9:30 a.m. and return an hour later. The remaining eight will depart between 1 and 1:30 p.m. and return an hour later. Each flight will consist of a takeoff, a landing and possible touch-and-go maneuvers.

The actual training flight will not take place around Alliance Airport. After takeoff, the flights will travel to existing military special-use airspace that is currently being used for Department of Defense-related activities. These areas are approximately 80 miles southwest and northwest of Alliance.

“Military operations have taken place at Alliance since the airport opened in 1989,” Byrd said.

“Alliance has a U.S. government contract to fuel government aircraft and routinely fuels military and government aircraft.”

Only 22 pilots will be trained each year. According to the fact sheet, all pilots attending training in the U.S. go through an extensive security process at the U.S. Embassy in their country, then by the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the FBI and the U.S. Air Force Security and Training Organization. The planes used will not carry live ammunition or have any weapons on board.

In other action, the council authorized the mayor to send a letter to TxDOT requesting a traffic study on FM 156 to Bonds Ranch Road.

“Local municipalities may request in the form of a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation that a speed limit be lowered on a state highway,” Rasor said. “The recommendation of the study will be based on the average speed that drivers are traveling. Although having police coverage does not allow a city to set their own speed limit on a state highway, it does help with the study because drivers will slow down when they see police officers, therefore lowering the average miles per hour a driver is traveling.”