Following the recent retirement of Wes Faulkner who served as manager of Rolla National Airport for over 12 years, Rolla City employee Darrin Bacon was selected as the airport’s new manager by City Administrator John Butz.(Darrin Bacon, picture left, is the new manager of Rolla National Airport, located 13 miles north of State Highway 63 north. Darrin has more than 20 years experience as a licensed pilot and certified flight instructor. He was recently hired following the retirement of Wes Faulkner who served as manager for over 12 year.)
As a licensed pilot and certified flight instructor, Bacon is not only well known at Rolla National Airport where he operates Bacon Aviation, but also in the region’s aviation community where he has met and taught hundreds of pilots to fly over the past 20 years.
Formerly an equipment operator in the Sanitation Division of the City of Rolla’s Environmental Services Department where he was also the chief welder, Bacon also brings a strong mechanical background that will serve him well as he oversees the airport’s operations, including several thousand landings and take offs throughout the year, supervision of airport staff, coordination of maintenance issues, the airport’s fueling station, fueling trucks, mowing operations, plane storage hangers and facilities.
Bacon attended the Spartan School of Aeronautics (now Spartan College of Aeronautics) in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he earned his private and commercial pilot certification and instrument rating, advanced ground instructor rating, and certified flight instructor rating.
What impresses Bacon most about his new position at the airport is the variety and number of companies who use Rolla National Airport. “I don’t think the Rolla community is aware of just how many national and regional businesses use Rolla National”, said Bacon.
In addition to the fleet of 33 FedEx Caravans operated by Baron Aviation, the largest employer at Rolla National Airport, Bacon said his staff frequently sees aircraft owned by Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Kingsford Charcoal, Wal-Mart, Inc., Colton’s Steakhouse, Garmin International, Caterpillar, Inc., and many others landing at Rolla National. In addition there are several private pilots and military pilots with the Missouri National Guard and Fort Leonard Wood who use the airport on a regular basis.
Bacon recalls a recent visit by executives from Caterpillar and other national corporations who landed their Charter jets at Rolla National Airport on Aug. 29 to attend a career fair held at Missouri University of Science and Technology. “For the aviation community, and those flying in and out of Rolla National Airport, their first impression of Rolla is when they arrive at Rolla National,” said Bacon. “That’s why we try to provide a well maintained and operated facility where customer service, refueling and maintenance are our top priority.”
In addition to the many pilots who land and use Rolla National Airport for business and pleasure, Bacon said there are several plane enthusiasts who often stop by to tour the airport and take photos of the vintage World War II era DC-3 aircraft (commonly referred to as C-47s in the military). Some of the area Boy Scout troops also visit and tour the airport to earn merit badges.
Bacon said plane enthusiasts and groups are welcome to visit and tour Rolla National anytime during the week, Monday through Friday (8 a.m.-5 p.m.). The airport is located off Missouri Highway 28 and Highway 63 North in Maries County. It is a 20 minute drive from the Rolla City limits. For more information about Rolla National Airport, please call (573) 299-4498.
Executives at Caterpillar International and other national corporations landed at Rolla National Airport on Aug. 29 to attend a career fair at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. Rolla National is located 13 miles north of Rolla off State Route 63 north. (Photo by Steve Mason, Chief Pilot, Baron Aviation, Inc.)
The “Spirit of Good Year” blimp landed at Rolla National Airport to refuel on their way back from covering the University of Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Alabama football game held on Sept. 25, 2010. The crew was on their way back to their home base in Akron, Ohio via Columbus, Ohio, when they realized they needed to stop at RNA due to weather conditions, and to refuel. (Photo by Alex Harrop, Rolla National Airport)
Many air craft enthusiasts stop by Rolla National Airport to see and photograph the vintage DC-3 WWII era plane once used by the U.S. Air Force to transport troops and supplies. (Scott Grahl/City of Rolla photo)