RATON — Voting 5-0 to approve an agreement with the New Mexico National Guard for its readiness facility at the Municipal Airport, the Raton City Commission set the stage for a Colorado Springs based aviation company to expand into the area. The company, Doss Aviation Incorporated, is an aviation training centered business that works closely with the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, teaching volunteers from each branch the ins and outs of flight, the maintenance of aircraft, fuel logistics, and accountability. Doss has a similar facility in Pueblo that graduates around 2,000 students a year and employs between 175 and 200 workers. Doss was needing to expand its operations and was looking for an airport close to Pueblo that would allow them to transport students back and forth without losing too much time. “We found that the National Guard had a readiness facility at the Raton Municipal Airport that they were getting ready to close down. When we talked with them about bringing in Doss Aviation, they offered us the facility at no fee for one year. That’s the same offer we made to Doss,” Raton’s City Manager Scott Berry said. The lease agreement is for one year beginning March 1, 2016 and ending Feb. 28, 2017. It was a near perfect fit. The Raton area has open air space and is situated close to Pueblo, so the operations remain connected. The airport runway is nearly new and large enough to land
smaller commercial airliners. The readiness facility is large enough to house class rooms and has an area big enough to work as a hanger for Air Force trainers. And it’s close to Colorado Springs, where the Air Force Academy is located. Doss provides initial flight training and class room training for cadets attending the Air Force Academy, along with trainees from other service branches. The flight trainers are ex-military pilots. Along with the trainers, administration, and staff, the facility will need security, food service workers, and aircraft mechanics. It will also host a small store and a bar. The number of employees for the operation is still being worked on. “This will bring about economic development. Doss will invest in the community itself if this works well,” Berry said. “This could expand into other areas, not general aviation, but with other clients in the government.” The program is also providing initial training for U.S. allies who are in their own national Air Forces. There was a great deal of public support for the program, along with state level support. It received assistance from the State Aviation Department and was supported heavily by New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor, John Sanchez.