February 24, 2005
After an entire tiedown apron and a piece of the runway slid into the Santa Clara River this week, pilots at Santa Paula Airport in Southern California are determined to rebuild. AOPA has pledged its political expertise to help airport officials work through the maze of state and federal assistance programs.
"Seeing this vibrant airport literally washed away has been painful for pilots everywhere. We sympathize with the pilots and businesses based at Santa Paula and have committed the resources of our Washington, D.C., office and California Regional Representative John Pfeifer to help," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "With their contacts and in-depth knowledge of how state and federal agencies work, they can provide invaluable assistance as the airport begins the rebuilding process."
The airport, which is renowned for its antique, classic, and experimental aircraft, and for its Aviation Museum of Santa Paula, closed Tuesday as the river began to eat away at airport property. By the following afternoon, the raging water had swept away a C-shaped section of the airport's 2,650-foot runway. No aircraft were damaged by the water, but the usable runway length was reduced to 1,800 feet.
On Thursday, AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula spoke with Santa Paula Airport Association President Rowena Mason to determine how AOPA could best assist the airport. They agreed that political expertise would be critical as the privately owned, public-use airport seeks government help to rebuild.
Updates on the airport's status will be available on the Web site. For video of the river clawing away at the airport, visit the Ventura County Star .
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