AOPA weighs in on DXR tree issue
Regional representatives unique advocacy tool for members
Jan. 9, 2004 Danbury, Conn., mayor Mark Boughton says he wants to protect the community's vibrant general aviation airport, Danbury Municipal (DXR). In a meeting with AOPA Northeast Regional Representative Craig Dotlo, Boughton said he not only wants to maintain the airport, he wants to increase its profitability.
Recent reports that the city refused to fund its portion of a project to cut down trees that could pose a safety hazard concerned AOPA. The FAA had threatened to displace the landing threshold on the airport's longest runway by nearly 1,000' unless the trees were cut down. That would leave only 3,500' of runway 8-26's more than 4,400' of asphalt available for landing, greatly reducing the airport's utility. It could also potentially affect all five instrument approaches into DXR.
A non-fatal accident at the airport on Wednesday only served to increase awareness of safety issues at the airport.
Boughton told Dotlo that he plans to ensure that the city funds are available this year for its $110,000 share of the $4.5 million project. The rest of the funds will come from the federal government and the state of Connecticut.
The mayor said he wants to maintain contact with AOPA to help facilitate the process.
"This is precisely why AOPA has regional representatives all around the country, and what sets this organization apart from others," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Craig and the other 12 regional representatives are highly skilled individuals who work on behalf of AOPA members on issues like this one in Danbury, or the threatened closure of a popular airport in Chapel Hill, N.C., a couple of years ago, or the pilot background check law in Michigan that we got rescinded last year.
"They extend the reach of AOPA into statehouses, county and city council chambers, and mayors' offices all across the country."
AOPA has recently beefed up its efforts at the state and local levels, and assigned staff to work on nothing but the issue of threatened airports.
"Combined with our exceptional Capitol Hill lobbying staff, and the strength of more than 400,000 members, our regional representatives make AOPA a force to be reckoned with," said Boyer.