The Marana Regional Airport is more than just a couple of runways. It offers a wide variety of services to the owners and pilots of the aircraft that either call it home or land there on a cross-country trip or fly over just for repair service.
The town of Marana actually owns the airport property and provides basic services, such as runway and grounds maintenance, utilities, and police and fire protection, however, the individual aviation facilities are run privately by Tucson Aeroservice Center.
If you need a place to bed down your plane, your hangar rental will start with Lisa in the Pima Aviation, Inc. office. Pima’s the “landlord” for the hangars and it’s a division of Tucson Aeroservice.
Upon entering the terminal building, you’ll be greeted by Kaela, Larry or Kelly, who are part of the FBO (fixed-base operator) service team. The Tucson Aeroservice Center FBO provides pilot rest facilities, a flight planning room with online weather and access to flight conditions around the country, refresher areas and office space.
The building is home to several aviation-related businesses, including LifeNet and Pro Flight Gear.
The FBO ramp service delivers fuel to needy aircraft (piston or jet), guides arriving aircraft to safely shutdown at a designated parking area and obtains ground transportation for pilots and passengers.
Many large corporations hold business events at local resorts. Their pilots prefer to land at Marana because of close, less congested access to their destinations, the personal treatment they receive and the ease of getting in and out of the field, when compared to larger, commercial airports.
So, let’s say, that when you landed your Cessna 182, you noticed a lot of static on your usually crystal clear radio. Dave Stabell and Brett Christianson in the Avionics Shop will get you right in and figure out the problem.
Between them, they have over 65 years of electronics experience, plus a full availability of backup parts and equipment.
Great. Radio is all better, but, now you noticed a small puddle of oil under the engine.
This is a job for Ron Anders and the Maintenance Shop Team.
“Not a problem,” says Troy Wagner, chief inspector.
The plane is towed over to their hangar, just down the ramp from Avionics. The problem is easily identified by one of the four certified mechanics.
Meanwhile, Angie is picking the replacement items in the Parts Department. Everything’s fixed, and your aircraft is good to go.
Did you know that Marana was the place to train pilots in 1942? There were actually five local Army Airfields back then: Picacho Field #1 (now Picacho Stagefield Heliport), Rillito #2 (now called Marana Regional Airport), Coronado Field #3 (in Red Rock), Avra Field #4 and Sahuaro Field #5 (now El Tiro Gildeport). The Army Air Force initially trained in the AT-6 “Texan;” later, the US Air Force used the T-28 “Trojan”.
The area looks a lot different today than it did back then. If you’re ever out-and-about near the airport, stop in at the FBO (the blue terminal building) and take a peek at all the photos in the hallway showing the changes over the years.
And give us a holler at maranaaviationfoundation.org if you’re interested in working on the AirExpo committee.