Jet setters and celebs jet in and out, leave nary a trace

2011-10-02T00:00:00Z Jet setters and celebs jet in and out, leave nary a traceBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

Region airports and those who work at them zealously guard the privacy of corporate CEOs, rock stars and other celebrities who whoosh in and out on jets costing a small ransom.

The Wall Street Journal's Jet Tracker database lifts the veil of secrecy on whose jets touched down when, but it doesn't tell who was on board, maintaining an air of mystery to the flights and raising more questions than answers.

For example, a plane from famed fashion design house Polo Ralph Lauren touched down at Porter County Regional Airport on the afternoon of May 26, 2010. Was it delivering a squad of supermodels to the hometown of Orville Redenbacher? Or did the 10-passenger Gulfstream 200 just need fuel on its flight from White Plains, N.Y., to Aurora, Ill.?

Was a Gulfstream G150 from a company owned by the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, of Wichita, Kan., ferrying people to one of their now-famous political confabs when it touched down at the same airport on the afternoon of Feb. 31, 2010? Or was it just flying company executives about?

Those who run local airports and those who maintain, fuel and park the luxurious jets will never tell. At least they won't tell who's coming in today. But they will reminisce.

Porter County Regional Airport Director Kyle Kuebler remembers like it was yesterday when entertainer Bob Hope swooped in to the airport.

"Bob Hope, he was a card," Kuebler said. "As soon as he got off the airplane, he was in form. And that was fun."

He also remembers sitting around the terminal with country music legend Roy Clark, who had a pilot's license, and shooting the breeze about flying. Wayne Newton, aka "Mr. Las Vegas," Hank Williams, Mario Andretti and Andy Williams are just a few of the other names Kuebler can drop.

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