Just four and a half miles from downtown Goshen — a nine- minute drive from the Goshen College campus — lies a 6,000-foot sod airstrip, where 68 aircraft reside, including seven private company jets. As I drove up to the main terminal, a small yellow Arrow-Trek aircraft flew overhead and touched down on the landing strip.
The Goshen Municipal Airport is the “best well-kept secret” in Goshen, according to Randy Sharky, manager of the Goshen Air Center.
Sharky, who flies about 400 hours per year in both jets and helicopters, has managed the Air Center for 22 years. “People tend to think of a municipal airport as a rich man’s playground,” said Sharky, “but that is so untrue.”
It is true that flying out of the Goshen Airport is expensive. A trip to New York may only take a couple hours, but it will cost about $14,000. Because of this price, the main use of the airport for travel is by private business charter. When a local business needs to send representatives across the country for a meeting on short notice, chances are the Goshen Air Center can get them there within a few hours.However, since many aircraft are constantly flying from place to place, there is occasionally a chance for the everyday person to experience flight in a private jet. Grace Weaver, a sophomore English major at Goshen College, had just such an experience when her uncle, Mark Myers, offered to fly her to her grandmother’s house for Easter. Myers was already flying to Springfield, Ohio, via the Goshen municipal airport for business, so taking Weaver along was no extra hassle.
The trip, which would usually have taken three and a half hours, took only 45 minutes. They took a small jet, which comfortably seated Weaver, Myers, and the pilot and co-pilot. “I expected it to be bumpy and not very enjoyable, but it was fun,” said Weaver. “By the time I thought we’d reached altitude, we were there.” They landed in the Grimes Field Airport, a small local airport just 20 minutes from Grandma Myers’ house.When they took a trip to the nearby Champagne Aviation Museum, Weaver found out that her grandma had actually flown one of the planes on display.