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Genesee County Airport

June 5, 2019 - 4:29pm

Above, three generations of the Marchese family, of Batavia, helping at last year'sfly-in breakfast. Seated is Fran Marchese, who has been a Batavia Rotarian for more than 40 years and is a past president. At right is his son, Paul Marchese, who has been a member of the Batavia Rotary Club since the 1980s. Center is Paul's son, Joe, a college student who volunteers at the breakfast annually.

Submitted photo and press release:

The popular Batavia Rotary Club Fly-in Breakfast returns to the Genesee County Airport on Father's Day, June 16. Serving is from 7 a.m. until noon.

Rotarians will prepare the all-you-can-eat extensive breakfast of eggs, pancakes, sausage, orange juice, coffee, tea and milk. A specialty is the "Rotary Scramble" combination of eggs, sausage, peppers, onions and cheese.

Tickets are $8 per adult and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Children under 5 are free.

"We have expanded the number of our serving lines so waiting has been greatly reduced," said Ed Leising, longtime chairman of the event.

Also, there is plenty of onsite handicapped parking close to the hangar that is the breakfast site.

The Fly-in Breakfast is one of the Batavia Rotary Club's main fundraisers each year to support the many community service projects conducted by the club.

"Every penny our Batavia Rotary Club raises from fundraising is donated toward local, regional and international projects," Leising said. "Money we raise in fundraisers such as the Fly-in Breakfast is never used for the operation of our Rotary Club itself."

Leising cited several programs that benefit from the club's fundraising efforts, including $18,000 in college scholarships awarded annually to students from Batavia, Notre Dame and Genesee Educational Partnership and $250,000 pledged to the Healthy Community Center to be constructed as a joint venture of the YMCA and United Memorial Medical Center.

Recent short-term projects have included remodeling of the Domestic Violence Safe House operated by the YWCA and improvements to Crossroads House security.

Batavia Rotary Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary of providing for the community under its motto of "Service Above Self."

Tickets for the Fly-in Breakfast are available in advance from any Rotary member and also at the door.

History of the 100-year-old Batavia Rotary Club's Annual Fly-in Breakfast

By Gregg McAllister

Genesee County Chamber of Commerce had a great idea in the late 1990s as they launched the Wingding Weekend as an end-of-summer festival that included an air show.

Anne Garlock, who was on the Chamber's planning committee, suggested to fellow Rotarian Ed Leising that the Club should organize a fly-in breakfast at the county airport for Sunday morning during the weekend.

Ed assembled a team of workers who obtained food donations, equipment to cook a hearty pancake and eggs breakfast in an airport hangar, and suddenly the idea took flight.

Rotarian Carol Boshart and her husband, Jeff, of Boshart Enterprises and Aircraft Services, and Jay Gsell, county manager and also a Rotarian, provided support and clearance to use the hangar for cooking and seating of guests.

That first year in 1998, the club served nearly 900 breakfasts.

Over the next few years, the tradition continued, and Rotarians developed a relationship with the local Flying Farmers club, which conducted a fundraising breakfast at the airport each Father's Day in June.

Eventually, the Flying Farmers decided they were not going to continue their event, and offered the Father's Day date to Rotary.

The first year of the change to June for the breakfast, the hungry crowd of breakfast lovers climbed by 200.

Now Rotarians average 1,350 to 1,400 breakfasts served annually, with income of $11,000 to $12,000 for community service projects.

Many area residents have made the trip for breakfast at the airport part of a Father's Day ritual as parents, children and grandchildren meet for a huge meal. Pilots fly in from airports throughout Western New York, and guests enjoy seeing the various planes.

Even with so many years of experience, the event requires six months of planning and preparation. Basically all of the food is donated from generous sponsors like Tops, United Memorial Medical Center, Kreher's egg farm and Suburban Propane.

A team of Rotarians sets up tables, chairs and massive grills in the hangar the night before.

The first shift of workers starts cracking eggs by 6 am in order to be ready for the first surge of customers at 7. Serving continues until noon. A cleanup crew comes behind, and the hangar is restored to airplanes by 4 p.m.

Working on the event is a family tradition for a number of Rotarians. One young adult who now lives in Pittsburgh comes back each year to help because that's what she did when in middle and high school.

"It's a great way to spend time with my Dad the Rotarian on Father's Day," she said.

February 20, 2019 - 4:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office today announced $23.6 million in funding for 31 airports across the state, including $656,000 for a new aircraft hangar at the Genesee County Airport.

Other airports in the region to receive funding: 

  • $559,000 to construct a deicing containment System and emergency equipment at the Penn Yan-Yates County Airport;
  • $499,000 to deploy a new start-of-the-art garage parking guidance system at the Greater Rochester International Airport;
  • $369,000 to renovate an aircraft hangar at the Dansville Municipal Airport in Livingston County;
  • $336,000 for the installation of a new Jet-A fuel tank and associated equipment at the Williamson-Sodus Airport in Wayne County;
  • $204,000 to construct an aircraft fuel storage and dispensing system at the Pine Hill Airport in Orleans County;

Press release:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $2.6 million in infrastructure funding has been awarded to support safety enhancements, modernization of facilities, operational improvements and local business development at six airports in the Finger Lakes Region.

The funding is part of a $23.6 million investment in 31 airports statewide. These projects are funded through the Governor's State Aviation Capital Grant Program initiative and complement the Governor's Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, which provided $200 million to modernize airports across Upstate. 

"New York's airports represent the front door to our local communities and are critical to facilitating tourism and business development," Governor Cuomo said. "A world-class airport is crucial to regional economic growth, and by investing in the modernization of our local airports we are creating vibrant communities where people want to live, work and play."

"We're investing in airports across the state to modernize facilities and enhance the overall travel experience," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This infrastructure funding will continue to make operational and safety improvements, and encourage local business development. These projects are upgrading airports, increasing tourism, and growing the economy of the entire State of New York."

Projects being awarded include the construction of new passenger amenities such as new wayfinding technologies, construction of new airplane hangars and fuel facilities, enhancements to safety and security, and expansion of vehicular parking facilities. These activities will help make the communities surrounding these airports more economically competitive with facilities in neighboring states.

Infrastructure investments help make New York State attractive to new businesses and facilitate development and job growth. Through this initiative, Upstate airports in New York will continue to improve their facilities to better serve the public, while retaining and creating well-paying aeronautical jobs. The State Department of Transportation will immediately begin working with airport project sponsors to expedite the delivery of these improvements.

November 15, 2018 - 12:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

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Josh Fullmer sent in this picture he took yesterday afternoon of a Chinook helicopter landing at the Genesee County Airport.

September 13, 2018 - 3:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

A Navajo twin-engine airplane successfully set down at the Gensee County Airport this afternoon after its landing gear would not deploy, according to County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

There were no injuries.

Hens said the plane landed on its belly.

The plane has been removed from the runway.

August 23, 2018 - 1:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $1,860,921 in federal funding for the Genesee County Airport in Batavia.

The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Specifically, the Genesee County Airport will use the funding to reconstruct its taxiways and taxiway lighting.

“Keeping our airports in top-notch shape is crucial to safe travel for area residents and in attracting business and tourism to Batavia,” Senator Schumer said. “These federal funds will allow the Genesee County Airport to reconstruct part of its existing taxiway and upgrade its existing lighting system, which will improve service for the passengers and pilots who fly in and out of the area every day.”

“This federal investment will give the Genesee County Airport the resources it needs to reconstruct their taxiway and improve taxiway lighting, which will increase safety for travelers flying to and from Genesee County,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Investments like this are critical to local economic development around our state, and I will continue to fight for the resources that our airports across New York need to be safe, modern and efficient.”

This funding is awarded through the Airport Improvement Program and is administered by the FAA. AIP provides grants to public agencies for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Funds obligated for AIP are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources.

March 9, 2018 - 5:32pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Offspring Aviation, Genesee County Airport, news.

The perfect age to start learning to fly a plane is between 13 and 15, according to Mark Bouthillier, who will be offering a free monthly aviation seminar at the Genesee County Airport.

Bouthillier started flying at the age of 14 in Rochester and is a local pilot and aircraft owner who lives in Tonawanda.

“I’m always the guy at the airport that says, ‘Hey do you want to go flying?’ ” Bouthillier said. “When I was 14 at the airport, it was common for someone to ask if I wanted to go flying. I would have said, ‘Absolutely. Let’s go.’ ”

Over the last three decades, young people are not getting involved in aviation like they did when Bouthillier started flying.

“Us kids used to go to the airport and hang on the fence and watch the airplanes all day long,” Bouthillier said. “You just don’t see that anymore. We have to take aviation to them.”

The free monthly aviation seminar will be on the first Saturday of each month, starting at 10 a.m. on April 7, at the Genesee County Airport. Bouthillier will be taking kids and their parents flying free of cost to introduce them to the life of a pilot.

Interested parties need to preregister with Bouthillier through phone, (716) 253-8445, or email at [email protected]

He will also be handing out pamphlets of the various careers in aviation.

“I’m trying to do my part because it was done for me,” Bouthillier said.

Bouthillier owns the airplane which is fully insured and has a background check done by the Experimental Aviation Association. He has a Facebook page called Offspring Aviation, located here

The target age to start flying a plane is between 13 and 15, but someone who is 8 or 9 is too young. Bouthillier said no one is ever too old to learn to fly a plane.

“I’m treating it more like a career fair,” Bouthillier said. “They can come and check things out.”

At age 16, Bouthillier said one can solo an airplane; at age 17, one can obtain their private pilot's license; at age 18, one can get their commercial license; and at age 21, one can become an airline pilot.

“I’d be happy to take anyone flying to introduce them to what it is like in a cockpit, to fly the plane,” Bouthillier said. “I’m not trying to twist anyone’s arm, I’m just trying to show them what’s out there.”

There is always a demand for pilots, air-traffic controllers and people in other aviation careers. Bouthillier said there are always jobs there, paying well.

“The salaries in aviation are extremely good,” Bouthillier said. “These are all six-figure jobs.”

January 29, 2018 - 9:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, snowy owls, outdoors, animals, news, notify.

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Area wildlife photographers were shocked and saddened Friday to find a dead snowy owl Friday afternoon atop a utility pole near the Genesee County Airport.

The DEC confirmed today that it was notified of a dead snowy owl that had been banded at that location.

National Grid, after being contacted by the DEC on Friday, assisted in recovering the animal from atop the utility pole (see video below).

Local photographer Jim Burns (who freelances for The Batavian) is a wildlife photographer and a frequent visitor to the airport, which attracts both numerous snowy owls and photographers. He said such deaths as this animal's are not uncommon. The owls fall victim to electrocution (the possible cause in this case), being hit by cars and poisoning. 

Poisoning is perhaps the most preventable cause of death of snowy owls. The owls feast on rodents and if the rodents were poisoned before becoming an owl's meal, the owl is poisoned as well.

"That's the main message to get out there," Burns said. "People should put out traps instead of poison."

Though still rare, the birds have been showing up in WNY in recent years, probably, because their northern hunting grounds are becoming crowded. It's generally the younger birds who migrate south. Burns estimated the deceased owl was no more than 2 years old.

The birds are banded by Operation SNOWstorm, which tracks snowy owls to assist in their preservation.  

The Department of Environmental Conservation asks that if you find a dead banded bird, report it on the website www.reportband.gov.

Photo by Margy Meath.Video by Oded Kalir.

July 20, 2017 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Airport, batavia, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced new federal funding from the Department of Transportation for the Genesee County Airport. The $2,926,222 grant will assist the airport in rehabilitating a runway and install runway distance-to-go signs.

“It is of paramount importance that we invest federal funds in local infrastructure projects like this one,” Congressman Collins said. “This grant provides the Genesee County Airport with new resources to ensure the safety of travelers and provide new efficiencies which will ultimately increase air traffic. I am proud to be able to help secure this funding.”

“This announcement is terrific news for Genesee County,” said Legislator Marianne Clattenburg, Public Service Committee chairwoman. “We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Collins to improve infrastructure and support job creation in our community."

"Genesee County has pursued an aggressive and proactive redevelopment and improvement of our general aviation/reliever airport here in Batavia,” said Jay Gsell, County Manager. “Genesee County is excited and encouraged that the FAA, our long-term partners in airport maintenance, upkeep, and improvement, have again shown their faith in Genesee County and our airport partners to provide one of the best and safest flying venues in NYS.”

The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any local government pursuing a federal grant.

June 22, 2017 - 10:58am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Genesee County Airport, news, reconstruction, batavia.

The runway at the Genesee County Airport will be able to accommodate larger planes once the center portion is replaced.

The runway hasn’t been resurfaced since 1978, according to Tim Hens, the highway superintendent.

“It’s basically original to when they built the airport,” Hens said. “It’s actually a limiting factor on the size of the airplanes that we can bring into the airport right now.”

After the reconstruction, Hens said a medium-sized business jet will be able to land on the runway.

The 3,000-foot stretch that will be reconstructed is in between the extension that occurred in 2005 and the restoration in 2007. The pavement depth varies from five to nine inches, Hens said.

The reconstruction will be covered under 95 percent federal and state aid.

“This is very similar to other airport projects we’ve done,” Hens said.

Northeast Paving, in Lancaster, was the lowest bidder for the project, at just over $3.1 million.

C&S engineers provided a construction inspection contract, at a little over than $305,000.

Both bids are contingent on receiving the grant, which will likely be given in August, Hens said.

“They usually expect us to turn it around in five days,” Hens said.

Hens said the construction will be phased so there will always be a portion of the runway open.

“We’ve limited the actual shutdown,” Hens said. “There will a one-week period of time where we have to shut down the entire runway, but that will be during the night only.”

There will still be 2,000 feet of the runway available for use when the construction is going on, Hens said.

“If they do it right, we’re hoping we can get another 40 years out of the pavement,” Hens said. “So we won’t have to do it again, at least not in my lifespan.”

May 13, 2017 - 7:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Whiskey 7, Genesee County Airport, batavia, news.

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Whiskey 7, the World War II-era plane based in Livingston County, was practicing touch-and-gos at the Genesee County Airport this afternoon.

Previously: Photos: D-Day plane stops for fuel at Genesee County Airport

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August 9, 2016 - 12:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Genesee County Airport, business.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced $184,871 in federal funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the Genesee County Airport, located in Batavia. The grant will assist the Genesee County Airport in funding the full reconstruction and rehabilitation of 3,400 feet of existing runway.

“Utilizing grant funding to support our local governments is a smart investment and a responsible use of federal tax dollars,” said Congressman Collins. “Investing in infrastructure projects like the Genesee County Airport’s runway rehabilitation will significantly improve the quality, efficiency and safety of its daily operations. These efforts will allow the Genesee County Airport to continue to grow and positively impact our local economy for years to come.”

“This important federal funding will help ensure the future of the Genesee County Airport,” said Ray Cianfrini, chairman of the Genesee County Legislature.The grant will fund the full depth reconstruction of 3,400 feet of the existing runway 10/28 pavement that has reached the end of its useful life. We look forward to continuing to work with Congressman Collins to improve local transportation infrastructure and support job growth throughout Genesee County.”

The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any local government pursuing a federal grant.

June 17, 2016 - 8:00am

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Batavia Rotary Club’s 14th annual Father’s Day Fly-In Pancake breakfast will be from 7 a.m. to noon this Sunday, June 19, at the Genesee County Airport, 4701 Saile Drive, Batavia. The menu consists of pancakes, scrambled eggs, omelets, sausage, coffee, tea, milk and juice.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children 4-12; children under 4 are free.

"We normally serve about 1,500 people but expect over 2,000 people because it coincides with the grand opening of the new Genesee County Airport terminal," said breakfast Chairman Paul Marchese.

Presale tickets are available from any Rotarian, Marchese Computer, or can be purchased at door for the same price.

All of the proceeds are used by Batavia Rotary to support many local agencies as well as help fund our college scholarships given to three outstanding high school graduates from Batavia, Notre Dame and Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.

Treat your dad, grandpa and yourself to a great breakfast at the Genesee County Airport this Father’s Day.

Pictured from left, Rotarian Susie Ott, Paul Marchese, chairman of the breakfast event, and Batavia Rotary Co-President Paul Saskowski.

June 9, 2016 - 2:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, Genesee County Airport, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced that Genesee County Airport will receive $498,750 for construction of a new storage hanger as part of the Aviation Capital Grant Program. $10 million was awarded to 20 applicants across the state through a competitive application process.

“I am pleased to announce that Genesee County Airport will receive nearly $500,000 for upgrades to its infrastructure,” Hawley said. “The airport is an economic and commercial hub for Western New York and very important to the residents of Genesee County.

"I will support any measure that increases airport safety and allows patrons more efficient and comfortable travel. We still have many upstate infrastructure projects that deserve attention and I will be fighting to make sure we receive our fair share.”

Additional grants will be distributed through the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization competition after the application and selection process has been completed.

June 6, 2016 - 10:34am

Press release:

The Batavia Rotary Club has announced that its 2016 Fly-In Breakfast will be held Sunday, June 19 (Father’s Day) at the Genesee County Airport, 4701 Saile Drive, Batavia, from 7 a.m. to noon.

Rotarians will cook breakfast for more than 1,500 guests, as well as dozens of pilots who will fly their aircraft to the Batavia airport that morning.

Tickets are $8 for adults; $5 for children ages 4 to 12; and free for children under the age of 4. 

Residents throughout Western New York are invited to enjoy breakfast, meet the pilots, and view their aircraft.  The Fly-In Breakfast menu will feature sausage, eggs, pancakes, and beverages. Over the years, the volunteer Rotarian-cooks have become known for their “any-way-you-want-them” omelets, which will once again be available. Tickets for the event may be obtained from any member of the Batavia Rotary Club or at the door.

Saile Drive is located just north of the City of Batavia and the Batavia exit of the New York State Thruway, off Route 98.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Batavia Rotary Club’s programs for youth and community programs. Last year, the Club donated more than $100,000 to charitable causes.  

Fly-In Breakfast Co-Chair Edmund Leising said that the airport’s expanded facilities may attract more guests this year.

“We’ll have a record number of volunteers hosting and cooking the morning of the 19th,” he said. “Guests will have the chance to talk with pilots, view their aircraft, and see all the changes made at the county airport.”

May 19, 2016 - 1:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee County Airport, news.

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A WBTA reporter confirmed with Genesee County Airport authorities that a plane made an emergency landing, not at the airport, but on Saile Drive itself, within the last 10 20 minutes. No word on any injuries or other details yet. Town of Batavia Fire Department responded to the scene.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: Troopers are waiting to confer with FAA officials before releasing information about the incident.

UPDATE 1:52 p.m.: East Saile Drive will be closed between Bank and State streets until an FAA rep can come and investigate the scene, which would take a couple of hours.

UPDATE 2:02 p.m.: Trooper Daniel Hollands, of NYSP Troop A, Batavia, said law enforcement responded to Saile Drive after receiving a call from the Emergency Dispatch Center at 1:15 p.m. that a plane landed on the roadway on Saile Drive. They arrived to find the pilot and sole occupant uninjured. No word on who contacted the dispatchers. It will be up to the FAA to release the ID of the pilot and other pertinent information, Hollands said.

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January 3, 2016 - 1:37pm
posted by James Burns in batavia, Genesee County Airport, snowy owl.

Up until recently it has not felt at all like winter. It has just seemed like an extended fall season. But as you know, shortly after Christmas the cold and snow returned.

Well it is now officially winter, by the calendar, by the feel of the ice and snow and by the return of the snowy owls to the Genesee County Airport. The owls have not been seen here this season until the last couple days. Their arrival is two months later than last year's visit. One can assume that they also did not feel winter was upon us until recently either.

Pictured below, a female snowy owl. 

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August 7, 2015 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in WNY Aviation Adventure Camp, Genesee County Airport.

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Students in the WNY Aviation Adventure Camp completed their course work today and received their certicates of graduation at the Genesee County Airport.

The program gives students an opportunity at a variety of hands-on learning opportunities in the aviation field. Field trips included visits to FL Soaring Club in Dansville, the Niagara Aerospace Museum along the classes at Boshart Enterprises & Aircraft Services.

Photos by Jill Breslawski include some of the activities from throughout the camp.

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June 22, 2015 - 4:07pm
posted by Traci Turner in Genesee County Airport.

Most of the foundation for the Genesee County Airport's new eco-friendly terminal building and hangar has been completed.

According to Tim Hens, county highway superintendent, the terminal is being built to Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design standards. LEED is a green building certification program that certifies building projects and rates each project based on various environmental standards. The airport terminal project received a silver rating.

"The building is environmentally sensitive so it will be a very energy-efficient building," Hens said. "It will be Genesee County's first green building."

In addition to the foundation, contractors have begun working on plumbing and electrical and building the base of the elevator shaft. While many companies are working on the construction, the general contractor is Building Innovations Group.

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Keeler construction workers were dressing the stone up from the edge of the black top to the edge of the building pad this afternoon. In the next few days, the fence near the road will be taken down and they will work on getting everything topsoiled.

The next big step is constructing the steel structure of the terminal building, which is set to begin on July 20. The structure of the hangar will start going up in August.

The project received approximately $1.5 million in state and federal grants. The rest of the building costs are being funded by the county. 

The target date for completion of the terminal and associated hangar is January or February.

March 17, 2015 - 11:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, nature, Genesee County Airport, snowy owl.

Rebecca Grela shared this picture she took Saturday of the snowy owl at the Genesee County Airport.

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