Illinois Airport Rises Up After Devastating Tornado


Local news outlets are featuring the recovery efforts of Crawford County Airport (KRSV) in Robinson, Illinois, after an EF-3 tornado “completely destroyed” the facility a little over a year ago. Parts of airplanes and airport materials were found as far away as across the state line in Indiana. Airport officials credit community efforts for much of the rebuild effort. Remarkably, the airport is expected to be able to host an airshow in September, an annual event that has been postponed in recent years by the COVID pandemic, and most recently by the tornado, which struck on March 31, 2023.

With its 5,108-foot Runway 09/27 and 3,398-foot Runway 17/35, RSV is home to 16 based aircraft (14 single-engine; two twins). Just under half of its operations (49%) are “local” with 43% transient and 7% air taxi ops. Airport manager Howard Hunt said, “This is our livelihood. And we’ve been doing it for a long time.” He added that there was very little to recover from the rubble after the storm—including a few small tools.

Hunt credits “several hundred people” for the ongoing rebuild, including the local mayor. “Mike Shimer came out with his mowers and helped mow until we got our tractors and mowers replaced; because they were, like everything was, just gone.”

Hunt added he hopes that, as reconstruction is completed, the local flight school will soon be back to where it was before the devastation. He is also looking forward to the September airshow, and returning to a sense of “normalcy.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.


  1. Tell me, do any young people volunteer these days for community work or unpaid projects? In small communities groups of people came together to fix repair, support and build things because it was needed. I am left with the impression that today we have a society that only questions “what’s in it for me?” I really hope I am wrong but would like to see folks under 60 step up and commit to take the lead or help with all the opportunities and difficulties our communities/residents need to deal with.

    • It’s up to us all to include the young to be and feel part of the community.

      For example, I was recently struck by a visit to the Capetown SAAF museum by how many young volunteers there were working on the aircraft and helping out with visitors. Talking to one, the passion felt for the old aircraft and the cause was obvious. It was a little sad to me that it was so striking – it should be normal. They’re obviously doing something right there. I’ve seen similar at Airventure.

      The selfish in our society span all ages, but so do the generous, with their time and funding.

      • The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.” – Socrates 470BC – 390BC

  2. Mark-
    Thanx for exposing a community that values its airport and understands its value. Hopefully, some folks in Colorado and California will read this story and rethink their myopoic quests for “ideal real estate” for development. The idea that closing an airport only affects the people who fly in and out of it is so pervasive and yet, so wrong. Reading this story was very gratifying!