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Pilot, who is grounded in airport management, takes over Riverside Airport leadership

Aviation professor puts academics to practice as General Manager of the Riverside Municipal Airport

Daniel Prather, Riverside Airport General Manager
Brenda Flowers

Daniel Prather has been selected to pilot the Riverside Municipal Airport to higher goals when named general manager this fall. He comes to the City-owned regional airport with several years of experience in airport management, education, training, and speaking throughout the country.

Prather developed the aviation program at California Baptist University located two miles from the Riverside Municipal Airport. He came to CBU with experience as associate professor of Aerospace at Middle Tennessee State University and adjunct instructor at several other universities. He also served in operations at Hillsborough County Aviation Authority at Tampa International Airport in Florida.  He is also an Accredited Airport Executive through the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and an instrument-rated private pilot. The City and university have agree that he will continue to teach in the aviation program at CBU.

“Everyone is asking me how I am going to work both jobs,” Prather said. “I will manage the airport and teach.” However, contacts between the City and university will be negotiated between his supervisor, the General Services Director, and university management.

During the past few years, the airport has experienced an increase of flights by small commercial planes, small personal aircraft and student training classes. There is a plan to adjust the current runways to accommodate the growing need for smaller aircraft for which Prather will supervise.

Prather plans to create an internship program for aviation management students as he manages the operations of the airport complex which includes approximately 150 tenants, maintenance shops, flight schools, and a café on the 441-acre property with two intersecting runways with the longest heading east/west. He is responsible for the runways and taxiways and interacts with the nine-member Airport Commission.

Prather replaces Kim Ellis who managed the Riverside airport since 2014. In 2019, Riverside Municipal Airport was the 24h busiest airport, out of 224 airports, in the country that has a FAA contract tower and the 137th busiest airport in the country out of 520 airports regulated by the FAA.

A meet and greet is scheduled with Prather for Monday November 7th at 9:00 am in the Airport Terminal.