February 1, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
A general aviation resurgence is under way at Nevada’s Reno-Tahoe International Airport, and pilots can support it by participating in a survey to measure potential use of GA facilities on the field.
With airport administrators pursuing GA-friendly policies launched two years ago after a shakeup of the airport authority’s governing board, pilots and aircraft owners may now return to the field “in historic numbers,” said John Howitt, president of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Association (RTAA).
Previous airport policies drove two long-established fixed-base operations from the field, and were pressuring other GA users to vacate the premises. Now, airport administrators are publicly touting the value of GA to the airport and the community.
“The airport authority now recognizes the importance and value of general aviation operations,” said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airport advocacy. “In fact, the authority website now states that the Reno-Tahoe region thrives from the many general aviation operations at Reno-Tahoe International airport. Pilots can provide important information about the beneficial effects of an enhanced GA presence on the airport by participating in the survey.”
AOPA has long been active advocating for the changes, supporting the activities of the RTAA, meeting with pilots and local officials, and keeping the aviation community informed. The effort has been spearheaded by Airport Support Network volunteer Bob Larkin, who received the 2011 Sharples Award for his advocacy efforts.
RTAA’s Howitt urged pilots to take the survey in an accompanying letter on the airport’s website.
“I believe that the Reno Tahoe airport is now a great place to be and that aircraft owners and pilots will return to KRNO in historic numbers as the Airport Authority continues to support its recently adopted resolutions to provide GA with a friendly and welcoming environment,” he wrote. “Please get involved!”
Howitt added that GA hangar availability is still in short supply despite the addition of FBO Million Air, making it important for pilots to register their views by taking the two-minute survey.
Dunn also urged pilots to take the opportunity to work with officials to keep the re-emergence of GA at Reno-Tahoe moving forward by providing their views in the survey.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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