Thursday, July 18, 2013

Airport Review: Jack Edwards Airport, Gulf Shores, Alabama (JKA)

Every two years, 50+ members of my family meet at Martinique on the Gulf, in Gulf Shores Alabama, for a family reunion and a 4th of July celebration. 

Since I just recently became a student pilot, I decided that it would be fun to take a lesson wherever I travel with my family. So for the first time, I took a flight lesson outside of Virginia.

Before the summer began, I looked around at flight schools in the area. I ended up contacting Gulf Air Center, located at the Jack Edwards National Airport (JKA). I began to email back and forth with my instructor, Rod Kellogg, who was willing to make anything work for my family. We set a date and time for our flight: July 2nd, at 1pm. 

Arriving at Jack Edwards, I was happy to find one of the nicest general aviation airports/FBO's I'd ever been too. After looking around for a few minutes, I was greeted by Rod up at the front desk. He turned out to be one of the nicest, most personable people, much less a flight instructor, that I'd ever met. After talking a little bit about the flight, we walked over to the hangar where our Piper PA28 Warrior (N8410C) was parked. You can read about my flight out of JKA right here: Piper PA-28 Flight Over Gulf Shores

Just recently, a new start-up airline was formed in the South - Southern Airways Express. This airline turns Jack Edwards into a miniature commercial airport; the destinations out of JKA are: Birmingham, Memphis, and New Orleans. I saw a Southern Airways C208 Caravan on the ramp before we took off in the Piper Warrior. You can see the Southern Airways Express C208 from my Piper in the first photo, the second photo was not taken by me: 

I enjoyed the challenge of flying at a multi-runway airport. There was a lot more activity than anywhere I'd ever flown to thus far. Being summer and due to all of the vacationers, there were a lot of private/charter jets and turbo props around the ramp. I hadn't seen so many in one place since Santa Monica, CA back in March! Being in the pattern with jets flying in from around the country was a cool feeling. 

Here are the videos I took from JKA, which can be found on my youtube channel: MartinsAviation1

My first takeoff from JKA (Piper Warrior - Runway 17)

My first landing at JKA (Piper Warrior - Runway 27)

After my flight with Rod and the family in the Piper PA-28 Warrior, I had the chance to fly in the Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six. Here are two videos taken by me from the co-pilot seat of our takeoff and landing at JKA:

Piper PA-32 Takeoff Runway 6 JKA

Piper PA-32 Touch & Go Runway 6

I really enjoyed flying in and out of Jack Edwards National Airport (JKA), and hope to go back sometime soon! The people at Gulf Air Center were awesome and welcoming. If anyone has the chance to visit Jack Edwards or fly into/out of the airport, I'd highly recommend it! 

Thanks for reading,
Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation


  1. I had not heard of Jack Edwards before. What a gorgeous place. And Rod... you can tell by his smile. I'm thinking that this is the reason it's fun to go to work when you work in aviation.

  2. Why does that name Rod Kellog sound so familiar? Has he flight instructed in videos before or something?


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Many Thanks, Happy Flying,
Swayne Martin