Pilots who fly in and out of A.L. Mangham Airport in Nacogdoches are disappointed the airport's oldest runway will eventually close. Pilot Darvin Fleniken has used the Mangham Airport for fifty years. The former corporate pilot is familiar with how strong crosswinds on the main runway can force his light aircraft in the wrong direction. In windy weather he chooses runway 15-33, the airport's crosswind runway. "Oh yeah, every time the wind is gusting real strong it's favoring runway 33 the most. I land 33 and take off 33, so do all the lite airplanes," said Fleniken.
A yellow X signifies the alternate runway is closed. Originally it was a temporary shut down for the safety of construction workers. By next March the runway will be permanently closed. "The state says it will no longer fund repairs on 15-33 and of course to close it will save many dollars according to the state," Fleniken explained. The Texas Department of Transportation Aviation Department also reports there's not enough degree separation between the main runway and the alternate runway.
Despite the pending closure, improvements continue at the airport used by numerous private and corporate pilots. There's funding for the airport's complete resurfacing and construction of two taxi ways. There's also talk of a new multi purpose terminal. Fleniken said, "Sometimes there will be as many as 3 corporate jets here at one time with two crew on each airplane."