The group that supports Robins Air Force Base held its first meeting in nine months Thursday, and heard some potentially good news.
It was the first meeting of the 21st Century Partnership under the leadership of Dan Penny, the new president. He told the members that talks are in progress for Robins to get more C-130 work.
“It hasn’t been approved by the Air Force but there is somebody working on it, I can tell you that,” he said. “It will take probably at least two years for that to happen.”
But he explained it in a way that sounded hopeful. Robins currently does most of the heavy maintenance on C-130s, but some of it is done at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
However, Penny said Hill is taking on F-22 and F-35 work, and it doesn’t have room to expand. With those new missions, he said the C-130s are going to have to go somewhere.
“They don’t have room to park the airplanes,” he said.
Another hopeful sign is that he said the effort is being spearheaded by Brig. Gen. Walt Lindsley, who commanded the maintenance area at Robins for the past two years. Lindsley is now working at the Pentagon.
Roland Leach, spokesman for Robins, said in an email that the base had no comment on the proposal.
“Since it is pre-decisional at this time, it would be inappropriate to comment on C-130 workload coming to Robins,” Leach stated.
Penny said he isn’t sure how many more planes that could be or how many additional jobs it could mean for the base.
The meeting was held at the Goodwill Industries in Macon. It was the first meeting since December because the group has been without a president, but actually only one meeting had been missed. The partnership had previously decided to have only two public meetings each year, although the executive board meets more often.
However, the group has now decided to return to having four public meetings per year. The next is planned for Dec. 8 at the Museum of Aviation.