SHARE

Although she’s only been Hillsdale Municipal Airport manager for five days, Ginger Moore already has almost a lifetime of expe­rience with the airport.

Ginger Moore is the new manager of the Hillsdale Municipal Airport. Nic Rowan | Col­legian

Since childhood, Moore has been sur­rounded by flight. Both her parents were pilots, and as a child, she was present with them when the Hillsdale airport opened. She became a com­mercial pilot in 1980 and served as a flight instructor and assistant airport director under former airport manager Jason Walters.

When Walters resigned his position on Sat­urday, City Manager David Mackie appointed Moore as a replacement. Addi­tionally, Walter’s company, Patriot Avi­ation, no longer has any con­nection with the airport.

Moore’s position as an airport manager makes her a part-time city employee. In recent years, other cities like Cold­water have adopted this model, shifting man­agement of the airport to a city employee, rather than a business owner or flight school instructor. According to Mackie, putting the airport directly under the city’s control could poten­tially save the city up to $50,000 per year.

Mackie’s decision met with appre­hension from the public, espe­cially with res­i­dents who had hoped the city would seek out another business to relocate to the airport.

Travis Ste­belton, a native of Hillsdale who runs an aerial survey business out of the Jackson Airport with a fleet of eight planes, said he would have been inter­ested in the position if the city had con­ducted an open search.

“An open search would yield the best fit to turn the airport around,” Ste­belton said.

Moore said despite any dis­agreement about Mackie’s uni­lateral decision to appoint her, she has been a com­mitted servant to the airport and looks forward to con­tinuing to guide its future. As assistant manager, she handled com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the Michigan Department of Trans­portation and the Federal Avi­ation Admin­is­tration. Addi­tionally, she founded the airport’s flight school and accounted for the airport’s adver­tising and public rela­tions.

“I’ve been doing a lot of the avi­ation side, a lot of the legal side — keeping things legal — and putting on big events in Sep­tember,” she said. “I’ve been doing a lot of man­aging already, so I think I’m ready for this.”

Moore orig­i­nally came to the Hillsdale Airport under former manager James Scheibner’s tenure as a flight instructor. At this time, she taught Walters how to fly, which she credited as instru­mental in her return to airport after a brief retirement.

“When the city let the former manager go, Jason was looking into taking over being the manager and he wanted me to come up and help him,” she said. “And that’s how I got back involved.”

Moore said her ultimate goal as manager is to keep the airport safe.

“With Jason, we did a lot of updating, many improve­ments,” she said. “But there’s always more.”

According to Moore, the airport needs a new fuel farm, as the current one will not support the new airport apron in the long run. The new apron has also attracted people inter­ested in building private hangers, Moore said.

“I think it’s important to develop some areas on the new apron,” Moore said.