Suffolk Executive Airport (SFQ) at Suffolk, Virginia, will be the site of next year’s Virginia Regional EAA Expo, according to Gordon Campbell, president of the Virginia Council of EAA Chapters, sponsors of the annual event.
The event, traditionally held in October at Dinwiddie County Airport (PTB) near Petersburg, will move up to June 14-15 in 2008. There will be no Expo this year.
“The facilities and layout at Suffolk Executive will ensure that the Expo continues as an important event, and will allow significant growth during the event’s second decade,” Campbell said. The 2008 event will be the 11th since the Virginia Council was formed in 1996.
Dinwiddie County Airport no longer could support the growing Expo, said DeWitt Whittington, one of the organizers. In addition, October weather – including two hurricanes – has “put a damper” on the event on several occasions, he commented.
Suffolk Executive is owned by the city of Suffolk, which has been encouraging Expo’s move for several years, according to Whittington. Evelyn Jones, a member of the Suffolk Airport Commission, affirmed that idea, expressing “excitement” at Suffolk being chosen as the new location. “We have a location at which this event can grow, and we have a population which will support the event,” she said.
Whittington pointed out that SFQ is on the outskirts of Norfolk and draws from a wide area, including nearby North Carolina. “Suffolk Executive is within a 45-minute drive for more than a million people,” he said, naming the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Chesapeake. “The Hampton Roads area is headquarters for the Atlantic Fleet and includes the Oceana Naval Air Station and Langley Air Force Base. Suffolk, itself, has a growing population of 79,000,” he said.
Airport Manager Kent Marshall was equally enthusiastic. “My staff and I will do everything we can to help make the Expo a premier event on the East Coast,” he said, pointing out airport features particularly beneficial to EAA participants. Not the least of them is 24-hour availability of auto gas from a self-service pump, in addition to 100LL and Jet A.
This fall, Suffolk Executive will start a four-year expansion program that includes improvements to the main runway, an additional taxiway and other upgrades, according to Marshall. The main runway, 5/23, is 5,000 feet long, while 14/32, the secondary runway, is 3,700 feet, he added.
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