Aviation starts at airports, Baker says

October 16, 2013

airport support networkAOPA Airport Support Network volunteers met with AOPA President Mark Baker Oct. 12 during AOPA Aviation Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, to discuss airport issues.

Airport access is a top priority for Baker, and he thanked the volunteers for their work as the association's first line of defense—the eyes and ears at the local level—against threats. He acknowledged that many of them work regularly with AOPA to promote, protect, and preserve their airports, and said, "but guess what, I want more."

Baker and the government affairs division pledged better two-way communication with the volunteers and more involvement in helping with local issues.

While most of the volunteers in attendance said their airports were inviting of the community, some spoke of tall fences with barbed wire that alienates visitors.

Baker said the association would "take it one airport at a time to improve access." He said that while the industry can't turn back the clock, it can improve access. A picnic table with a view of the airport or a special viewing area of the runway for takeoffs and landings would be a step in the right direction. "It's all about starting at airports."