March 24, 2009
By Dave Hirschman
Children explore the inside of the SR22.
Children stood on the wings and peered inside the open doors for their first close look at a general aviation aircraft on March 21 at Connecticut’s Robertson Field open house. Veteran fliers took note of the modern avionics, leather seats, and airframe parachute of AOPA’s Let’s Go Flying Cirrus SR22 Sweepstakes airplane.
Voters in Plainville, Conn., will decide March 31 whether the state’s oldest airport, Robertson Field (established in 1911), will remain an active airport or be sold for real estate development. The Let’s Go Flying SR22 made the trip from its home base in Frederick, Md., to Robertson Field (4B8) on March 21 where it took center stage at an open house designed to show Plainville residents the types of aircraft and future economic benefits they can expect by preserving the airport.
“Bringing the Let’s Go Flying SR22 here is a tangible way for AOPA to support the people fighting to preserve this jewel of an airport,” said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. “It also lets the voters here see and touch the kinds of aircraft that will expand economic opportunities here. We can provide real information on which they can base their decisions.”
Voters will decide whether Plainville will pay $96,000 of the total $7.7 million cost of buying the airfield. Previous studies determined the airport and its associated businesses will run a surplus and bring new businesses to the area. Federal and state governments have offered to pay the vast majority of the acquisition costs as long as the facility remains part of the nation’s air transportation system.
AOPA has purchased ads in local newspapers and notified area pilots of the upcoming vote.
More than 2,000 people attended Robertson Airfield’s open house. It also was the first stop on a busy year-long schedule for the Let’s Go Flying SR22. The airplane — a donation from philanthropist J. Lloyd Huck — is the centerpiece of the AOPA’s Let’s Go Flying campaign, an ongoing project meant to strengthen general aviation by expanding the U.S. pilot population.
“It was a great turnout, all had a chance to see the Let’s Go Flying airplane up close." - Neil Witkin, ASN volunteer
Neal Witkin, a Connecticut volunteer for AOPA’s Airport Support Network, helped organize the Robertson Airfield open house where more than 100 people took their first flights in GA airplanes on a cool, crisp spring day.
“It was a great turnout,” Witkin said, “and all had a chance to see the Let’s Go Flying airplane up close. With great appreciation and heartfelt thanks, I thank you for your dedication to save this general aviation airport.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
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 >>>