Airport Observation Area
Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust (TAIT) is constructing a first-class observation area for R.L. Jones, Jr. Airport (RVS) on 91st Street between Elwood Ave. and Elm Street. Previously, cars would pull over on the curvy stretch of 91st St on the south end of the airport’s runways to watch airplanes fly overhead. Some aviation enthusiasts would go so far as to drive onto the airport to try to get a better view of the runways, creating a hazardous situation if they were to inadvertently drive onto an active runway. These circumstances led to the desire for the public to have a safe and relaxing place to park and watch airplanes.
Airport staff sought input from private and commercial airport tenants to design a plan for an observation area “outside of the airport fence” for public use. Initially, the airport constructed a parking area with six paved parking spaces off of the southwest corner of the main runway, the single best vantage point to view aircraft taking off and landing.
TAIT was not able to justify budgeting the considerable funds to purchase the proposed amenities but began a community-wide effort to raise funds for the improvements to the observation area. Fundraising efforts began in October 2009 with a golf tournament. The 2009 golf tournament was followed by another golf tournament in 2010 and the sale of personalized brick pavers to edge concrete areas. The most recent fundraising effort was the sale of taxiway lights that were recovered from Tulsa International Airport and R.L. Jones, Jr. Airports and rewired as desk lamps. The original fixtures were replaced with new LED fixtures.
When complete, the observation area will offer a park-like setting including a shelter, picnic tables, viewing platform, and restrooms. Thus far, six picnic tables on concrete pads, a raised platform and a concrete pad for an airport diagram and a gazebo have been constructed. All construction has been performed by R.L. Jones, Jr. employees other than the airport’s diagram that was painted onto the concrete pad by a local young man, Jesse Durney, as his Eagle Scout project. Next, RVS employees will be pouring sidewalks and installing the brick pavers.