November 7, 2009
By Sarah Brown
The field captains of airport defense met with AOPA government affairs staff Nov. 6 to review the game plan for protecting general aviation at the local level.
At a meeting of AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers at AOPA Aviation Summit, AOPA government affairs staff discussed common issues that volunteers encounter and provided advice on how to prevent and address threats to airports and encroaching development. Program director Jesse Romo urged volunteers to engage with their communities and take advantage of the resources available to them, including AOPA resources and involvement with state aviation associations.
“You don’t have to be the only one who knows everything,” Romo said. “You can know the people who do know.”
Volunteers at the meeting have been working on issues at their home airports, and Romo encouraged them to continue with the knowledge that they are not alone; other volunteers face many of the same issues. He focused on one particular issue that often faces airports, that of proposed obstructions that could impact the traffic pattern and pose a hazard to pilots.
From the longtime construction of roads, power lines, and buildings to the budding industry of wind turbines, obstructions impact airports across the country. John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy, explained how to get notified when builders report obstructions. It is important for members and volunteers to keep informed about proposed development because they know their airports best and can determine if construction will be an issue, he said.
Involvement of local pilots across the country has made a difference in ensuring the successful outcome of many aviation issues, said AOPA Manager of State Legislative Affairs Mark Kimberling. “The key to all these victories was our membership. You guys are the key and the strength to our organization,” Kimberling said.
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