The Farm Progress Show is not just a big event for farmers but also for the Decatur Airport. Three times as many planes are in and out of the airport because of the show, and while the uptick in traffic comes as no surprise, preparation and sleep are key to make sure the week is a smooth ride. Don Landoll's plane is one of about 300 going in and out of the airport each day.
"We were handled very, very nicely and the welcome wagon was nice," Landoll said. "[We] don't have to worry about handling bags or anything."
And air traffic control crews are handling the aircrafts.
"We have a lot of aircraft that comes from other states as well who aren't as familiar with the airport makes it a little more taxing as far as taxing and getting them in the right place," explained Air Traffic Controller Jeffrey Quick.
Planes are in place and ready for take off.
"We don't normally have so many operations we have many now," said Joe Attwood, Director of the Decatur Airport. And heading those operations, Owner of the Fixed Base Operations Will Gaitros.
"It is a little bit more of a headache because we have to plan our other daily operations around Farm Progress," he said.
Operations entail maintenance, additional fuel and shuttle services for guests with the help of double the staff.
"In three days we'll get roughly about a week and a half to two weeks of aircraft," Gaitros said.
And more traffic on the tarmac, means more foot traffic at the airport's restaurant: The Main Hangar.
"Just so far this week we're up almost 40 percent every day that the farm progress has been going on this week and this includes Monday," explained restaurant Co-Owner Chris Cooper.
And while business has taken off, airport officials said they expect traffic to slow down soon. They added that every day they follow the same standards as Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, so they're always ready for this spike in traffic but on these Farm Progress days they expect and plan for it.
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