Navy chooses Nevada over Las Cruces for flight training
By Alta LeCompte
Las Cruces Bulletin
The outlook for winter 2016 is quiet skies over Las Cruces.
Navy flyers from Corpus Christi will not be training here from January to March as they sometimes do, Lt. Liz Feaster of the Navy public information office said Dec. 1. Feaster said Training Wing Four will winter in Nevada.
Student aviators and their instructors, however, were in Las Cruces during the summer of 2015. It was the 12th time since 2001 that student aviators with Training Air Wing Four, from Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, came to the City of the Crosses.
Scott Andre, president of Francis Aviation, fixed-base operator (FBO) at the Las Cruces and Santa Teresa airports, said the Navy’s presence pumps $1 million into the local economy.
Although training detachments last only a few months, they provide a boost in revenue for the city and for busi- nesses, such as hotels, restaurants, and car rental companies.
“They rent cars; they eat (a lot),” said Christine Logan, a member of the New Mexico Economic Development Department Community, business and rural development team for southern New Mexico. “They often get Internet services and security guards.
“It’s a great opportunity to have military personnel get exposure to New Mexico and for the Navy to train here when they can’t at home. Even for the short term, it’s great for us.”
Those who get acquainted with Las Cruces will likely return when they are traveling across the country in the future, she said during a previous detachment.
Logan said she could attest to the economic value of the visit, because she compiled economic statistics for the city during her tenure as the city’s economic development director.