Stennis air traffic control tower named facility of the year

December 8, 2022

KILN, MISS. – The Stennis International Airport (HSA) air traffic control tower was recently recognized as the 2021 Facility of the Year by Robinson Aviation.

Robinson Aviation (RVA) Inc, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, provides air traffic control tower services at 103 airports in the southeastern and southern United States on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the Federal Contract Tower Program.  Each year RVA accepts nominations from control tower managers and airport managers to select one as the RVA Facility of the Year.

Stennis Airport's control tower was selected because of the excellent services they provide, the positive feedback received from pilot and airport management, and the community spirit they displayed after Hurricane Ida.

The location of Stennis Airport, its runway length, and the airfield navigational equipment results in a high demand for flight training. Stennis Tower provides air traffic control services to many Navy and Air Force units flying high-performance jet, multi-engine and single engine aircraft and helicopters, including T-1/T-6/T-38/T-45/F-18/C-130/C-17/B-206/H-60. They also serve Guard units and NASA, as well as serving civilian flight training.

There are two flight schools on the airport, and students and instructors fly into Stennis from outside the area to perform flight training. The fleet mix and differences in airspeed make for a challenging environment, and the Stennis Tower team performs admirably, RVA officials said.

The tower team quickly restored control tower operations following Hurricane Ida. During the recovery period, helicopters that had been based in Louisiana relocated to Stennis. The tower team saw a 4,000 percent increase in helicopter operations flying to and from offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The tower team blended these additional operations in with the regular airport traffic safely and efficiently. Following the Ida, the tower was without air conditioning for a period of time. The team came together in these less-than-ideal conditions, knowing that air operations were vital to expediting recovery efforts on the back side of this major storm.

In addition, the tower team collected money and donated goods to support Louisiana residents severely affected by the storm. They then contracted with a local pilot to make three round trip flights to Houma to deliver the goods and money.

As a testament to their focus on customer service, Stennis Tower achieved obtained a score of 993 out of a possible 1000 on the annual airport flyers surveys. The airport manager gave the tower team a perfect score on his survey.

Located in Kiln, Stennis International is Hancock County’s community airport. It features an 8,500-foot runway rated to carry the world’s largest cargo planes. It is home to 15 aerospace companies serving both general aviation and military aircraft.

CUTLINE: A recognition ceremony was held November 16 for the 2021 RVA Facility of the Year award. Picture, left to right, RVA’s Chief Executive Officer Keren Williams McLendon, Stennis Tower Air Traffic Manager David Kaupp, RVA’s Vice President of the Contract Tower Program Jim Slate, and RVA’s Area Manager Michael Smith.


The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission was established in 1963 to lead the county’s economic development activities. Stennis International Airport and Port Bienville Industrial Park are home to 30 companies with more than 1,000 employees. For more information visit