July 12, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
A newly enacted update of South Carolina’s aeronautics code marks the first significant rewrite of the state’s aviation laws since 1976, and offers a model for protecting aviation infrastructure at the state level, said AOPA Southern Region Manager Bob Minter.
“The care of general aviation airports is a top priority for AOPA members,” Minter said. “State agencies are primarily responsible for each state’s system of GA airports.”
House Bill 3918 took effect June 18, placing the state’s Division of Aeronautics within the state’s Budget and Control Board, and governed by the state Aeronautics Commission, said Minter, who has served since 2006 on a 13-member technical advisory committee overseeing the extensive revision of South Carolina’s Airports System Plan.
“Bringing AOPA’s extraordinary resources and expertise directly into the formation of state and local public policy through our regional managers is a powerful example of the broad spectrum of advocacy efforts AOPA provides our members,” he said.
Minter urged members in South Carolina to express their appreciation to legislators for passing the 94-page bill, “and to further encourage them to support much-needed state funding for South Carolina’s general aviation airports.”
“South Carolina Aeronautics Director Paul Werts, his staff, and the Aeronautics Commission are doing an outstanding job of doing more with less during these difficult economic times,” Minter added. “This passage of House Bill 3918 is a significant event. Now they need the funding required to move South Carolina’s airports forward, and AOPA will work with them to help make that possible.”
Other participants in the technical review of the new aeronautics law included the National Business Aviation Association, the South Carolina Aviation Association, the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, air carrier representatives, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and state transportation-and-infrastructure planners.
AOPA’s Central Southwest regional manager recently put GA’s utility to the test with a whirlwind trip covering four states, seven airports, and nine meetings.
Wisconsin’s governor has signed a bill adding aviation to an existing recreational-use statute.
Smith Field in Fort Wayne, Ind., has withstood three separate attacks—in the 1970s, 1990s, and 2002—to close it and redevelop the land. Now, it's thriving.
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