At airport, more than 400 aircraft flying in for eclipse
Rob Berg, manager of the Madras Municipal Airport, was juggling activities at the airport Monday — fielding calls on the massive fly-in for the eclipse, preparing for the Airshow of the Cascades the following weekend, and accommodating helicopter operations for the Nena Springs Fire.
Berg and his wife, Tracy, are practically camped out at the airport, where they are in the final stages of preparation for the Solar Port airport fly-in and camping, which begins this week on airport property.
More than 400 aircraft, including 26 large jets, were already scheduled to fly in, with times set up for Friday (4-7 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and Sunday and Monday (5 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
The Bergs have hired a communication trailer, which will be set up to see the entire airspace. "Normally, we're an uncontrolled airport," said Rob Berg, who anticipates the arrival of about 20 aircraft per hour during those times — or approximately one every three minutes.
"I can't think of a country that's not represented at this time," he said.
Just west of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, there will be 429 spaces for RVs, 650 spots for tents, and 400 vehicle parking spaces for the day of the event. Those locations are not sold out.
Additionally, on Monday, the Bergs opened another 90-acre field located to the north on airport property. "Fields are mowed and ready to go," he said, noting that they have hired 20 part-time personnel to assist the airport's seven full-time employees.
Solar Port will share port-a-potties, wash stations and garbage collection with the city of Madras' sold-out Daytripper Parking, located between the two Solar Port sites.
Those facilities will also be used for the Airshow of the Cascades the next weekend, Aug. 25-26.
In the meantime, there will be hundreds of aircraft arriving and departing. "It's going to be a big conga line getting out of here," said Berg. "A bunch are staying over until Tuesday, and several have asked to stay for the air show."