Gale will be conducting periodic interviews with Airport Professionals so that we may learn more about them, the facilities that they manage, and share them with other like-minded professionals. We hope you enjoy reading this profile of Peter as much as we enjoyed speaking with him and writing it. Let us know if you, or anyone you know, would like to be our next Featured Airport Professional!
In an ever-changing world, the Fitchburg Municipal Airport has been able to rely on Airport Manager, Peter Kettle, for the past 15 years. He started as a member of the Fitchburg Pilots Association. He then served as a Commissioner, Vice-Chairman, and Chairman of the Fitchburg Airport Commission. Most recently, when the airport was in need of a Manager, Peter stepped in to fill that role too. As a dedicated and valued member of the Fitchburg Airport community, Peter continues to guide the airport toward self-sufficiency and sustained economic contribution.
Thirty years ago, when living in the United Kingdom, Peter’s wife gifted him with a ride in a glider piloted by a British Navy Pilot. He was hooked! Peter immediately began taking glider flying lessons. Since that time, he has achieved two gold medals in glider competitions: one for climbing to a height of 18,200 feet and the other for a flight over five hours (5 hours and 20 minutes in fact!). Both of these feats were achieved with no engine! In the meantime, Peter also obtained his private pilot license and purchased his own plane.
Since assuming the position of Airport Manager, Peter has guided the Airport through major redevelopments, including the construction of the Airport’s new administration building; the reconstruction, reconfiguration, and extension of Runway 14-32; and the closure and removal of Runway 02-20. The new building and runway environment will allow the Airport to better serve its existing fleet, as well as attract additional users and businesses. The closure of Runway 02-20 has opened up approximately 45 acres of land for construction of additional facilities.
Peter is excited to see what the future holds and believes the Airport is perfectly positioned for growth over the next 10 years and beyond. In addition to a new runway and ample space for new facilities, one of the greatest benefits to pilots and businesses wishing to base at Fitchburg is the positive and welcoming community environment. Peter attributes this to friendly and helpful airport staff, both in the administration building and at the many businesses around the airfield.
The Airport has many long-standing partnerships with quality aviation businesses that offer a full range of services to the Fitchburg community. These businesses provide airport users with every necessary convenience one would expect from a modern GA facility. Some of these partners include: Twin City Airmotive, which services Cirrus aircraft, provides parachute services, and completes general work on all aircraft types; FCA Flight Center, which provides pilot training courses from beginner to advanced ratings; Unlimited Aero Engines, which provides racing engine preparation for high performance experimental aircraft; Wayne’s Upholstery, which provides aircraft upholstering and repair services; Nagle Aircraft, which services Beech Aircraft; and finally, Skyline Aviation, which runs a fleet of nine Cirrus SR 22 aircraft, to accommodate customers traveling throughout North America.
To assist in planning for the future, the Airport is pursuing a Master Plan Update project in 2021. The Master Plan will review the adequacy of the Airport’s existing facilities and evaluate its ability to meet the needs of its users through the planning period. Facilities planned for review include seven new (4,000 sq. ft.) hangars, aircraft aprons, opportunities for aeronautical and non-aeronautical development, and other improvements necessary to aid the Airport in advancing its mission to remain a premier GA facility and trusted transportation resource in the New England region and beyond!
When Peter isn’t flying or managing the Airport, he enjoys golfing and considers himself a fanatic of old English motorcycles, which he builds and repairs at his home workshop.