September 3, 2009
By Sarah Brown
At a time when some airports are struggling to stay open and Americans are scaling back spending, Peter Weidhorn decided to buck the trend. He bought an airport.
Eagles Nest Airport in West Creek, N.J., has served the area for 20 years, but Weidhorn said the airport has been little-used and has not been seen as a benefit to the area. He bought it with plans to develop it as an asset to the community and to preserve general aviation for generations to come. On Oct. 10, the airport will welcome the public to an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The open house will be an exciting opportunity for everyone, especially young people and older ones who have occasionally thought about learning to fly,” said Weidhorn, who is president of Eagles Nest Airport, Inc. “It’s not always understood that an airport is an integral part of the community.”
Buying the airport was not a profit venture, Weidhorn said. It was the product of a 30-year love of aviation and the desire to “work towards preserving general aviation for future generations.” He wants to ensure that the airport is a positive resource for the community, and so he is inviting area residents to visit the airport, take a look at airplanes, and enjoy free food and gifts as they learn about what GA has to offer. Weidhorn has invited pilots to fly in to the airport for the open house to show off their aircraft and introduce the public to the world of GA.
“It’s really a pilot-driven event,” he said.
Eagles Nest is now a single 3,200-foot asphalt runway, without services. Weidhorn said he is working with the New Jersey Department of Transportation to make infrastructure improvements, and he wants to develop the ability to deliver fuel, build hangars, and have aircraft based at the airport. These improvements will create community income from the businesses that use GA and allow the airport to serve as an educational and recreational medium for the community, he said.
“It’s my dream and intent to develop it as a viable general aviation airport,” he said.
For more information, contact Karen Hendra at 732/616-3196 or send an e-mail.
A touch of history, affordable flying, unique sightseeing, a good meal, and a community of pilots: Isn’t that what general aviation is all about?
Getting the job done on the local and national levels requires long-term planning, a hands-on approach, and keeping the effort moving, said Sean Collins, AOPA’s Eastern regional manager.
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