June 5, 2008
AOPA ePublishing staff
It took unprecedented dedication and cooperation from politicians, pilots, and communities at large to create what some involved have called a miracle—the reopening of a general aviation airport four years after it closed.
A ceremony reopening Lanett Airport in Alabama was held May 21, thanks to residents and political leaders in four cities and two states. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Mike Ballard was actively involved in raising community awareness and support for the airport, preparing necessary paperwork, and working with city and FAA officials.
“To finally achieve this goal is very fulfilling but also exhausting,” Ballard said, noting that it took a combination of perseverance, cooperation, and a drive for economic development that led to the opening of a new automotive manufacturing plant just five miles from the field, a plant that will bring jobs to the once-depressed area and benefit from easy access to an airport.
Other factors included the dedication of local politicians. In fact, Lanett Mayor Oscar Crowley campaigned on a promise to reopen the airport—a promise he was able to fulfill. And Crowley was by no means the only elected official who worked to get the airport back in business.
Leaders from the cities of Lanett, Valley, and Lafayette in Ala., and West Point in Ga. banded together to promote the airport and keep the project on track. During the reopening ceremonies, Valley Mayor Arnold Leak recognized the exceptional cooperation that brought the airport “back from the dead” and looked ahead to the addition of another runway.
The FAA has asked the National Transportation Safety Board to review a judge’s ruling reversing a fine it levied in an unmanned-aircraft case.
The Tucson Soaring Club is trying to grow the sport by training the next generation of glider pilots.
Able Flight has received and $8,000 check from the AOPA Foundation.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.