June 13, 2013
By Jim Moore
More than a decade after AOPA convinced North Carolina officials not to scuttle a valuable airport, and following persistent attempts made since, the fight is back on.
Horace Williams Airport, with a 4,005-foot runway that has long served the needs of medical operations, arriving parents of university students, and other general aviation traffic, would be closed by Aug. 1 if state lawmakers approve draft legislation requiring the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, owner of the facility, to shutter the public-use field.
AOPA Southern Regional Manager Bob Minter caught wind of this latest attempt on the airport’s life and fired off a letter on behalf of AOPA’s 10,000 North Carolina-based members, and the association as a whole, urging that the one-sentence provision be struck.
Minter noted that the university does not plan to commence construction of new facilities on the property for years to come.
AOPA advocacy helped save the airport when the school first proposed shutting it down in 2002, citing operating costs. That battle was won, though the university has made further attempts since. AOPA is committed to preserving airports around the country.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
Parents thank AOPA for saving UNC's Horace Williams Airport As students return to classes this week at the University of North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus, pilot-parents are thanking AOPA that they still have an airport where they can land. "Please thank Phil Boyer and everyone at AOPA who helped achieve the great result for Horace Williams Airport (IGX)," one parent wrote in an e-mail to AOPA.
AOPA intensifies effort to save Horace Williams Airport Members urged to contact North Carolina legislators Photo by Jack Imperiale As AOPA reported last month, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill snuck a last-minute anti-airport provision into Senate Budget Bill 622 that would allow the university to close its Horace Williams Airport (IGX), which serves chiefly as the base for the university's Area Health Education Center's (AHEC) Medical Air Operations. The Senate language would allow the university to close the airport once AHEC has access to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Horace Williams airport faces closure The prognosis for Horace Williams Airport is not promising, but AOPA continues to fight for this vital Chapel Hill, N.C., asset. State House Speaker Joe Hackney was recently quoted in a local paper, saying that it was up to officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to decide the fate of the airport.
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