If you haven’t visited the Marion Municipal Airport, it is a great time to discover or revisit this gem in our community. On September 1, the airport will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the official public opening in 1950. But the planning of the original over six hundred acres airport started back in 1943. Today, the over nine hundred acre facility is home to a wealth of operations the general public might not be aware of. All of which are integral to the economic health and future of our community, making the airport an important feature to Marion.
Our airport’s official abbreviation is KMNN. Here are some services it hosts for Marion. The National Weather Service, not only important for the flight traffic but also for our community, has space there. Central Ohio Soaring Association (COSA) is based at KMNN, providing glider tows, rides, and competition for unpowered flight. It is also the home base for Tactical Agriculture LLC, an agricultural aerial application business providing the local farming community with many agricultural services.a
A number of local companies use the Marion Municipal Airport to travel to their other facilities around the world. Companies like POET, Whirlpool, SilverLine, and United Church Homes depend on the airport to help their operations run efficiently in this global economy. Prospective companies, looking to build in Marion County, often travel through the airport to visit potential Marion locations.
The Marion Municipal Airport has two fixed-based operations, providing fueling and maintenance operations. This important feature allows the airport to provide great customer service to its clientele. Hanger space is also an important service the airport has. Though almost filling their current space, it has room for future hangers to be built at the location.
The Marion Municipal Airport provides public education to our community. It is the location of the annual Wings and Wheels event, a separate nonprofit organization, offering STEM hands-on experiences. Though unfortunately cancelled this year due to the pandemic, this annual September event presents a wealth of experiences. They include up-close viewing of different military and personal aircraft, food vendors, a car show benefitting the Cruisin’ for Dialysis organization, and a variety of aircraft rides. Each year they have special exhibits, like the NASA exhibit in 2018 and the Red Tail Squadron in 2019. Parking and admission are free, with only the food and flight rides having costs. Community volunteers dedicate many hours year-round to make this experience a fun and educational event for all ages. Look for the theme of “Women in Aviation” in 2021.
Though seventy years old, the Marion Municipal Airport is not stuck in the 1950s. With its almost nine hundred acres it is not landlocked like many of the neighboring community airports. It offers self-fueling operations 24/7. It works closely with the City Parks Department, who handles the mowing and snow removal, saving the city and taxpayers money in these maintenance fees.
They are many exciting changes due to open in the next month. The new terminal building, with a pilot’s lounge, updated technology, meeting room space, and offices will open soon. This beautiful building was made possible through grants in 2019 from the FFA Federal Aviation and the Ohio Department of Transportation. The old terminal will eventually be torn down, possibly allowing for a sheltered area for the public to watch flights as they come in and out. The airport wants to provide this opportunity and hopes to have the plans finalized soon.
The Marion Municipal Airport works on a ten-year plan with the help of Matt Arnold, the Director of Aviation of KMNN. Matt shared, “The airport has received grant funding 2020 improving the terminal road leading into the new building. In 2021 the funding will work on the design and renovated of runway 7-25’s paving and lighting, as well as improved technology.”
Matt also shared future goals he hopes to see at the Marion Municipal Airport. He would love to see a car rental service, an established flight school, and an air taxi service there. All are very possible with the growth Marion is seeing. As their tagline says, “The Marion Municipal Airport- Your destination awaits you!”