December 17, 2008
By AOPA ePublishing staff
Festus Memorial Airport - photo courtesy of City of Festus, Missouri
When the city of Festus hired a real estate company to sell Festus Memorial, area pilots knew they would have to act swiftly to save the only public-use airport in their Jefferson County.
But when a series of more traditional attempts to save the airport failed, the pilots, under the banner of Citizens for Airport Economic Expansion (CAEE), decided to purchase the airport themselves. A group of investors, working with a major St. Louis bank, offered $2.275 million for the property.
AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Terry Propst, a member of CAEE since its inception in 2004, says pilots spoke to the mayor, the governor, and everyone in between before finding a way to keep the airport open.
A study conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Transportation determined that the best way to increase the value of the airport to the community would be to expand the 2,200-foot runway to 5,000 feet and build an industrial park on adjacent land.
While the CAEE knows it has its work cut out, members are optimistic that they can create a vibrant commercial, industrial, and recreational area in one of the state’s fastest growing counties.
“Surveys tell us that protecting airports is a top priority for our members,” said Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airports. “Pilots actually buying an airport to keep it open can’t happen every day, but it demonstrates the commitment of our members!”
Show your commitment to your airport. See if your airport has an Airport Support Network volunteer. If not, consider signing up or nominating someone else.
New draft airman certification standards are available for review on the FAA’s website. In addition to releasing the draft standards, the FAA also announced that it would be deleting questions from the private pilot airplane knowledge test, effective Feb. 9.
A California charter school has teamed up with a glider school to give students a potentially life-changing opportunity.
Do you operate at airports or heliports that have LED systems? If so, AOPA, the FAA, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and multiple professional pilot organizations want to hear from you.
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