A new operations manager has just landed at George M. Bryan Airport in Starkville.
Courtney Cox was hired to serve as the airport operations manager in September, and has officially begun her new role. As operations manager, Cox is responsible for the general operations of the airport, including fueling, plane parking and fixed base operations. Cox is a licensed general aviation pilot and a Mississippi State University graduate in communication.
She was born in Nashville, but spent her high school years in Sacramento, California. She began her job in the first week of September.
“It’s all the normal operations stuff like any other place, keeping things running and labeled, changed out, keeping things clean and fixing broken stuff, ” Cox said.
She said the airport was a common stopping point for private jets and other aircraft, with massive influxes on game days.
“It’s so busy on game days,” Cox said. “There’s a ton of jets that come in and out, and this is the first place they see when they come in, whether they come in from another SEC school, or Kansas State. We had a lot of planes come in for Kansas State. It’s the first impression of Starkville for people who are flying in.”
She said she worked closely with Airport Director Rodney Lincoln to ensure the airport ran smoothly.
“This is a good stepping stone,” Cox said. “It allows me to be at the airport and around airplanes. I fly at lunchtime a lot.”
In the long term, Cox hopes to become an airline pilot flying for a major carrier. She said the operations manager job has given her the opportunity to learn more about aviation and more easily build hours in the cockpit.
“I’m already here, so it just kind of gives me easier access to work on building my hours, and to learn just because of all the different types of aircraft that come in and out of here," Cox said. "I am learning a lot about airplanes of all different sorts, and how they work. I feel like it’s making me a better pilot.”
Cox credits her uncle, who works for Delta Airlines, as a driving factor for her interest in aviation and flying for a major carrier.
“That’s what he wants me to do for sure, but any major airline is what I’m shooting for long-term,” Cox said.
Despite coming from California, Cox has connections to Starkville through her grandfather, who played baseball at MSU. She is married and has two daughters.
“They love coming out to the airport,” Cox said. “A lot of times we’ll have to be here after hours or early when there’s planes that come in, and they love riding around in the golf cart with me and just being around the airplanes.”
She also said she enjoyed being a part of the aviation industry in the current day and age.
“There’s just so many people catching wind and so many people taking flying lessons,” Cox said. “We have a really great flight school, and I think they have over 100 active students right now.”
Cox is a former editor of Town & Gown Magazine, published by the SDN.