February 9, 2011
By AOPA ePublishing staff
Hundreds of local pilots joined AOPA President Craig Fuller for a pilot town hall meeting at Van Nuys Airport in California Feb. 5 to find out more about the state of general aviation.
The event took place at Clay Lacy Aviation, with a T-6 Texan and P-51 Mustang on site for the close to 300 attendees to admire. The visit had a special significance for Fuller, who grew up in California and earned his instrument rating at Van Nuys.
“I always enjoy these gatherings, but this one was different!” he said after the event. “Van Nuys Airport is where I purchased my Cessna Cutlass in 1979 and I flew out of KVNY while attending UCLA. Of course, things have changed a bit since then. However, what has not changed is the passion of the aviators flying out of this beautiful airport.”
AOPA President Craig Fuller thanked Clay Lacy Aviation CEO Clay Lacy for hosting the event and his involvement in general aviation.
During the event, Fuller recognized some passionate members of the aviation community who have helped Van Nuys to thrive as a bustling GA airport: Clay Lacy, founder and CEO of Clay Lacy Aviation and host of the meeting, and AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Elliot Sanders. Lacy founded his company at Van Nuys in 1968 and has been growing it since; Sanders has long been involved in issues at the airport, including a shift toward corporate operations that threatened to squeeze out smaller, propeller-driven aircraft.
But members of the aviation community don’t have to run airport businesses or have an official role to get involved. Fuller encouraged members to continue to fight against aviation user fees. GA has found support on Capitol Hill, he said, and 116 members of Congress recently signed a letter to the president urging him not to include a user fee proposal in his budget this year.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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