February 28, 2007
The vote didn't go well for a Washington state airport, but AOPA hasn't given up just yet on trying to save it.
The Blaine City Council voted 4 to 3 on February 26 to close Blaine Municipal Airport by the end of 2008. AOPA and AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Martin Ranck had rallied pilots to once again turn out and show support for the northwestern Washington airport. And they came from as far as Seattle to attend the meeting.
"We're extremely disappointed about this outcome," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "Unfortunately, some city leaders wanted the FAA to fund the entire airport development program - all $16 million of it at one time. That's an unrealistic expectation."
AOPA is in contact with U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and the Washington Department of Transportation to see if there are any other avenues to counter the closure. AOPA along with Ranck had worked tirelessly for 18 months to try and secure the airport's future.
The city council in October 2006 had voted to keep the airport open, but the majority of the council members wanted more than $16 million in federal Airport Improvement Program funds all at once. The FAA was only able to offer $500,000 this year due primarily to timing and the need to stage grants over an extended period of time.
Even though the state has invested funds in airport development, the airport has no federal grants or grant obligations to keep the airport open. With no FAA grants, options to force continued operation of the airport will fall to the state with its grants.
The city now faces a precarious situation. The airport land might fetch $5.7 million for the 34-acre site, but the city would have to pay back grant money and make settlements with airport leaseholders to the tune of $4 million, according to a report in The Bellingham Herald. The city could face lawsuits as well.
February 28, 2007
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>