FBO of the Week: Guntersville Municipal Airport (8A1, Alabama)
AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" can be found at Guntersville Municipal Airport (8A1) in Guntersville, Alabama. Reader Alberto Silva shared all the details of his unscheduled stop in this compelling testimonial:
I was flying a Grumman Yankee with all of its 22 gallons of gas from Indiana to Florida. As I was going south, Hurricane Sandy was heading north, so I knew that I wanted to head south ASAP. I started going southwest to miss the low ceilings in the mountains. About 120 miles west of my most direct route, I decided that the mountains were low enough that I could cross them with enough clearance. However, as these things go, I was running out of daylight, and ceilings started to come down. In the interest of self-preservation, I decided to turn around to the last airport that I had seen.
This airport turned out to be 8A1 in Guntersville, Alabama. Although the airport looked like your typical sleepy county airport, I soon learned that Guntersville is a very popular fishing spot and a good all-around place to have fun. As soon as I landed, and before I talked to the line person, he called the manager to let him know that someone had landed and probably needed a room for the night. A few minutes after I made it to the FBO, the airport manager and his wife appeared. He was already off duty but came back because he knew I would need help. He told me that there was a room for me at the Best Western and that the crew car was not available because four other guys had arrived about an hour earlier and they had it. However, they were staying at the same hotel and I could probably talk to them for a ride in the morning. He gave me a name and a phone number to call and took me to the hotel.
As the hotel was already waiting for me, I promptly checked in and called the other guys. You see, there was some kind of fishing tournament in town and getting a room was not a trivial matter. The airport manager obviously knew the hotel employees and "reserved" me a room — at least until I got there. I had dinner with the other four guys and took a ride to the airport the next day, fueled up, and took off again.
This story is not about a well-recognized FBO with excess resources. It is a story of a small county airport with modest FBO facilities and people who really care. The airport manager did not have to arrange for accommodations for me, but he did. He did not have to leave whatever he was doing with his family to pick me up, but he did. He obviously cares about his customers, even if they are just there for one night, and his actions showed it. I doubt that this customer service is part of his job description with the county. This was, by far, the best treatment I have received at any FBO in my travels.
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!