Ethan Pine ’23: This summer I have been an Intern at the Crawfordsville Regional Airport, located four miles south of Campus. The Airport is equipped with a 5,505’ x 75’ runway which was built to accommodate private company jets for major businesses and manufacturers located in and around Crawfordsville. There are a total of five hangar buildings with approximately thirty spaces for tenant rentals, and one hangar designated for aircraft maintenance and flight instruction.
At Crawfordsville Regional Airport, my duties include but are not limited to : Assisting with aircraft fueling, towing, parking operations, and fuel farm operations, Working with Airport staff and vendors to plan and execute marketing activities, Assisting with aircraft services, such as catering, rental cars, hotels, reservations, Ground Power Unit, and other needs and requests, Assisting with the cleaning of Airport Terminal, grounds and hangars, Performing Airport landscaping, mowing, trimming, and other airport grounds tasks, and assisting Airport Manager in the performance of daily inspections of space and facilities, such as runway, taxiways, navigational aids and lighting to meet State and Federal airport rules and regulations.
My time this summer at Crawfordsville Regional Airport has been an incredible learning experience and has solidified my decision to pursue a career in aviation after Wabash. The biggest thing I have learned is how much “behind the scenes” work there is to keeping an airport up and running. From things as simple as cutting the grass and oiling the hangar doors, to things as important as testing fuel quality and relaying information to incoming pilots, Everything must work like a well-oiled machine otherwise the safety of the pilot, passengers, Airport staff, and even community are at risk. Lori Curless, the manager of CRA, has also taken the time to teach me about aviation and airports during time not spent on airport maintenance. One of the coolest things she has taught me is how to read runway markings. Much like traffic signs, there are markings on the runway that tell pilots everything they need to know: lights to indicate where the runway starts and stops, a series of six solid bars to signify the width of the runway, hold short markings where pilots must hold from the runway while making calls for intended take off, and many more.
Because of the connections I have gained and the nature of my internship, I also have had the opportunity to work towards earning my Private Pilot’s License and have flown approximately ten hours in a Cessna 172, learning basic maneuvers, Take offs and landings, radio communication, and weather patterns.
Overall, this internship opportunity, thanks to the Crawfordsville Regional Airport and Wabash College, has led to one of the most exciting, influential, and educational summers of my life.