Purdue to buy Lafayette Aviation, establish technology park

(WTHR photo)

We all know about Purdue's proud aviation history, but President Mitch Daniels Tuesday announced plans to help continue that proud tradition long into the future.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels used the Aviation & Aerospace conference to announce plans to purchase Lafayette aviation. He said it will now be known as Purdue Aviation. The school has 40 planes in its fleet currently flying in and out of that airport with more growth expected.

Students use the planes for flight training but that isn't the only expansion in Daniels plans.

"We are setting aside almost 1,000 a thousand acres - 980 to be specific - on the northwest end of our airport. It has been designated as Indiana's latest certified technology park," President Daniels told the gathering.

Plans for the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District include expanding the airport runway from 6,600 feet to 7,000 feet.

"This state is serious about creating opportunity for every one of its citizens, and we believe we have built the finest business climate in America," President Daniels continued.

That reference to creating opportunity for all was the only statement of the morning that could even be taken as a reference to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Governor Mike Pence used the opportunity to counterpunch Illinois's new governor who said he wanted to rip the economic guts out of Indiana after the state was reeling from the RFRA fallout.

"I heard the other day the new Governor of Illinois said, very delicately, that it would be his intention to rip the guts out of Indiana's economy. A week later, we announced 300 new jobs moving from Chicago to our capital city and last week I was told of another 500. If that is ripping, then keep it coming!" Governor Mike Pence exclaimed.

The Aviation and Aerospace conference was held at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis.