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Air Center manager speaks at Optimist Club

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The Sunrise Optimist Club received a special treat recently when Mark Bleth, manager deputy director of the Roswell International Air Center, gave an outstanding presentation. His talk encompassed several of the new projects, future changes for the Air Center and ongoing programs.

One of the new projects is the possible construction of a widebody hangar that will handle some of the largest planes flying. He said they are working on a flight to Denver and are looking at remodeling the Air Center. Parking has become a problem and they’re looking at long-term parking.

He gave a detailed description of the projects that have been going on there for years such as the U.S. Navy conduct flight training at the Air Center catching up on their sorties. Twenty-six Navy planes are often stationed there. The Air Center sells the Navy fuel, the officers stay in local hotels and eat in local restaurants boosting our economy.

He discussed how Boeing tests all their airplanes here in Roswell at the Air Center, usually brake testing.

One of the things he said that struck the Optimist members was the STEM program, which is geared toward the youth. It stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Hopefully these young students will gain interest in the science and math areas and possibly get into aeronautics and flight.

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Bleth gave us some figures such as the Air Center has 50,000 customers annually, planes are at 70 to 80% capacity now since they moved up to the larger planes. Over 800 jobs are tied to the Air Center.

Mike Perry, Optimist Club vice president, presented Bleth with a gift of appreciation for taking the time out to speak to the club.

Want to hear more local community speakers or help make Roswell a better place for our youth? Join the Sunrise Optimist Club any Wednesday morning, 7 a.m. at the Lovelace Hospital cafeteria/conference room or contact membership chairman Roger K. Burnett at 420-9420.