Guide to Obtaining Community Support for Your Local Airport

Table of Contents

Success Means Determination
The Role of the Airport Manager
The Airport Packet
Using the Packet
No Gimmicks
Fighting Back
In Summary

  1. Organizing Your Airport Group
  2. Public Relations and Political Action
  3. What's Your Airport Worth?
  4. Airport Noise, Safety and Airport Land Use Planning
  5. Resource Guide

Dear Aviation Enthusiast:

Airports are one of our nation's most valuable transportation commodities, and yet week after week, month after month, year after year, airports are being closed or significantly restricted. Why? Because the real value of airports just isn't being made known to those beyond the airport boundary. Fallacies and misinformation are being disseminated, and rarely does the true importance of an airport get conveyed to the non-flying community and elected decision makers. As pilots, we know the value of an airport, but if we do not convince the citizens and elected local officials, our airports may come under attack.

Obviously, you are concerned. You've asked for AOPA's help by requesting this book. And I am proud that AOPA can provide detailed assistance to you.

Airports coverIn beginning any endeavor, the first step is to gather necessary background information to meet your objectives. The AOPA Airport Support Packet is designed to provide you with the tools you will need to organize an airport support group and to carry forward a positive message that will garner widespread support for your airport.

From the inception of the idea to organize an airport support group to sample bylaws; from public relations programs to sample speeches from airport land use planning to airport noise issues, the AOPA Airport Support Packet will guide you step by step in developing an effective program to "set the record straight." The "Resource" guide contains these sample speeches and bylaws for your review. AOPA offers this booklet as one of the tools to help establish an airport support group through thorough preparation. Remember that this publication is advisory in nature and is not meant to substitute for proper planning and judgment. Organizers should base their activities on the group's experience levels and capabilities. The information contained in this booklet is information that can be used to demonstrate the importance of airports and their economic impact. It is not intended to replace the necessary research and review of applicable laws that may be required in a particular case. It is not intended to give legal advice or take the place of an attorney who can advise with respect to a particular situation. While every care has been exercised in the preparation of this booklet, AOPA cannot and does not accept responsibility for an individual's reliance on its contents. Once you are familiar with the information provided in this booklet, AOPA's Technical Services department will be happy to assist with further questions.

Many people simply believe that an airport is solely for a select rich few. Unfortunately, they do not understand that an airport serves the entire community or that restrictions or calls to close an airport will have far reaching economic consequences on the whole community. That's where YOU come in.

I wish that AOPA personnel could be there right along side you for each of these battles, but the reality of the matter is that it is your voice that will matter most to local officials and the community that surrounds your airport. Remember, however, that TEAM AOPA is here to assist you throughout the process.

Your personal commitment, coupled with that of other airport users and the airport management, along with the national support of the more than 413,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association can and will make a difference. Good Luck! - Phil Boyer