February 9, 2011
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.
Pilot Training and Certification,
Pilot Town Hall,
FAA Financial and Regulatory
Flying over Manhattan en route to Nantucket for the event. Nantucket Flying Association President Chris McLaughlin introduces the documentary "Shady Lady" before a packed audience at the Dreamland Theater.
Pilot Skip Gibbs regularly uses his Bonanza A36 to bring medical volunteers and supplies to remote areas of Mexico. Just before sunset, Gibbs was flying to the historic city of El Fuerte in the state of Sinaloa where LIGA International Flying Doctors of Mercy has been doing good works since 1934.
The board of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority will wait 120 days before making a final decision to close Braden Airport, citing community concerns.