AOPA to pilots: Get involved in Garrett airport planning

November 26, 2013

Pilots who use Maryland’s Garrett County Airport (2G4) have the opportunity to weigh in on the airport’s master plan study, and AOPA is encouraging them to take part. The association recently attended the first in a series of meetings of the Airport Advisory Committee charged with updating the plan.

"The Airport Master Plan is a sort of blueprint for the future, and it’s important for pilots to be involved," said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy. "Having a solid master plan in place helps prevent the kind of haphazard development that can lead to problems down the road."

A survey asking pilots about how they use the airport and any difficulties they may have with the field is available online, and pilots have until Dec. 16 to file their comments.

Airport master plans are designed to ensure orderly development that take into account the airport's infrastructure, types of aircraft that use the field, and the needs of the surrounding community. Most airport master plans look ahead at least 20 years and are developed using FAA forecasts, data collection, and public input.

While a master plan can cover numerous issues, the FAA must approve just two elements: the critical aircraft and the airport layout plan. The critical aircraft is either a single type of aircraft or a composite of many aircraft that represents the most demanding characteristics of each, including approach speed, takeoff and landing distances, wingspan, tail height, and other factors. The airport layout plan is a series of scaled drawings that depict current and future airport infrastructure, safety areas, airspace, obstructions, property boundaries, and other information designed to show what’s happening at the airport at a glance. Airports that receive federal grant money must maintain a current airport layout plan.