Airports Prepare For Pilots To Descend For Eclipse

Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-20 18:50:30-04

The Sumner County Regional Airport has been expecting hundreds of planes from all over the world to fly toward Gallatin ahead of Monday's coast to coast eclipse. So many pilots have requested to land there, airport officials said they'll likely fill up well before the big event.

"I've gotten interest from the biggest business jets to the smallest single engine planes," said airport manager Roe Massey. "For the last week the calls have been nonstop."

Massey said spaces to park aircrafts will be first come, first served. He thinks he has enough room to handle more than 100 planes, but he has known that won't be nearly enough. Once the airport is at capacity, he said pilots will need to find a different airport to land, which could be difficult.

"All the smaller fields in this area in the path of the eclipse are booked," Roe said. "I heard some other airports to the north of us have officially closed. I don't want to do that. This is a public airport, and while I still have ramp space, I'll put folks up."

Roe said he also worried about pilots and their guests going hungry because the Sumner County Regional Airport has no restaurants or vendors. Luckily, local pilots have hauled gas grills into their hangers.

Pilot Mike Haraseviat has planned to grill up burgers and hot dogs free of charge for visitors.

"I feel a camaraderie with other pilots, and I just really want to be here," Haraseviat said. "I want to make their stay at the Sumner County Regional Airport one they can remember on a positive note."