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Popular MLB Runway 5-23 Re-Opens to Applause

4/12/2018  |  Melbourne, FL

Popular MLB Runway 5-23 Re-Opens to Applause
Voted top aircraft approach in USA; Sixth in the world

MELBOURNE, Fla. (April 12, 2018) – One of the world’s most famous airport runways re-opened today after undergoing a complete rehaul – its first in nearly 25 years.  Orlando Melbourne International Airport’s (MLB) Runway 5-23 serves nearly 2,000 general aviation operations a week at the coastal Florida commercial airport.  And just this week, the airport’s approach was once again voted as the most beautiful airport approach in the USA, and moved up to sixth in the world by Private Fly magazine. 

Aircraft to and from MLB fly over Florida’s gulf stream, tropical barrier islands and the Indian River Lagoon – all which teem with wildlife and native fauna for which the region is famous.  “Private pilots rave about the view, and commercial passengers lean toward the window with their phone cameras,” said Rob Himler, Airport Communications Coordinator who himself learned to fly on Runway 5-23 as a student at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT).  Runway 5-23 is the primary runway for FIT’s flight training school.

More than a hundred aviation enthusiasts lined the runway today to watch three aircraft take to the skies in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean, flying from the runway to the coastline in seconds.  The runway rehabilitation cost nearly $1.3 million, of which the State of Florida Department of Transportation contributed half.  Due to pilot demand, the construction was completed three weeks early, led by Cocoa, Florida’s V.A. Paving.  All contractors and subs that worked on the project were locally based.

Participating in the “first flights” today was MLB’s AmbassaDog, Kuma, who sat right seat with her owner, Derek Fallon, in a Cessna 172.  Fallon and his wife own Melbourne Flight Training which operates from MLB.  He joked, “Today Dog was truly my co-pilot.”  FIT seniors Lenard Gervais and Hayden Flemming also took off during the ceremony in separate FIT Piper Archers to the delight of the crowd. 

Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) serves the Central Florida coast with three runways, a 200,000 sq. ft. terminal and a 40,000 sq. ft. customs facility. Greg Donovan, A.A.E. is executive director. The airport is convenient to beaches, Orlando, Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral. For more information, visit

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