Hastings Municipal Airport named Airport of the Year

The Nebraska Aeronautics Commission honored the Hastings Municipal Airport on Thursday, Jan. 25 as Airport of the Year.

Representatives of the Hastings aviation community accepted the award during the Nebraska Aviation Symposium at the Crown Plaza Conference Center in Kearney. The Nebraska Aeronautics Commission is a division of the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

The Airport of the Year designation is open to all airports in the state, regardless of size.

“I know a lot of people have noticed the changes and growth of our airport as well as the increased activity,” Airport Manager Matthew Kuhr said. “I think this award validates that the efforts of the city, city staff and the airport community are being recognized on a larger scale.”

Kuhr was joined at the Nebraska Aviation Symposium by Airport Advisory Board members Jason Haase, Phil Beda, Aaron Schardt and Brent Hoops, as well as Airport Facilities Technician Jim Howsden; and Flight Instructors Dan Spellman and Glen Bredthauer. 

Spellman and Bredthauer are also members of the Hastings Experimental Aircraft Association chapter. Bredthauer is also a mechanic for J&S as well as a member of the Nebraska Antique Airplane Association.

On behalf of the Airport, the representatives received signs for the airport, a certificate and a poster to display.

Kuhr said the city and the aviation community have worked hard over the last few years to create a culture and environment at the airport that is welcoming to everyone that is interested in aviation. 

The Hastings Municipal Airport is home to the Nebraska Chapter of the Antique Airplane Association, which hosts a hamburger feed during the last Saturday each month from March to October.

“We work hard to engage and include the local community,” he said. “We have grown. New mechanics and families have moved to town. We are the home of the Nebraska Antique Airplane Association. We have an Active EAA chapter. We have an FBO to refuel and take care of the business traffic that come to town. And we have several people that are learning to fly as well as several that have completed their licenses. I think that all of this led to the receiving of this award.

Kuhr is excited about the growth. 

“Aviation is so much more than buying a ticket for an airline,” he said. “An active airport can help drive economic growth for a city.”

Hastings Municipal Airport sees several medical aircraft each week that help bring in doctors or supplies to Mary Lanning Healthcare, as well as the medical evacuation of people who need care. 

The military uses the Hastings Municipal Airport for training and fuel.  

Recent accomplishments for Hastings Municipal Airport include an influx of prospective pilots earning licenses and bringing in the mechanic company J&S Aviation, which offers a full avionics shop servicing dash and navigation systems. 

Becoming the home of the Antique Aircraft Association and having an active Fixed Base Operator, Hastings Air LLC, has also increased the profile of Hastings Municipal Airport. 

“We serve the community in so many ways,” Kuhr said. “We want our airport to be something the city and community can be proud of.”


Published Date: 01/26/2024

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