AOPA's Boyer celebrates with North Carolina community that "gets it"
A supportive community. Sound zoning laws. Informed government leaders. Planned airport expansion. That might seem like a wish list for many general aviation airports across the country, but these are some of the benefits of the solid airport-community relationship at Monroe Regional Airport (EQY) in Monroe, North Carolina.
AOPA President Phil Boyer, Vice President of Regional Affairs Roger Cohen, and Mid-Atlantic Regional Representative Chris Hudson met with about 40 state, local, and airport officials Monday in Monroe to learn about the current improvements and planned expansion of the airport.
"A successful growing airport like this starts with the people," Boyer said. "Your airport manager, who has an incredible grasp of aviation even though he's not a pilot, your elected leaders, and your outstanding Airport Support Network volunteer Tom Schick all work together to make EQY a model for other communities."
The city currently is installing a security fence and medium-intensity approach lights with runway alignment indicator lights (MALSR). The city also plans to start selling fuel at the airport in October in an effort to provide more competitive fuel prices.
Monroe City Councilman Bob Smith said the city would continue to promote airport expansion to lengthen and strengthen the runway and build new hangars.
AOPA also used the opportunity to lobby for Horace Williams Airport the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill owns the airport and wants to close it to develop the land. Boyer emphasized the importance of keeping the airport open and operational.
During the meeting, North Carolina Aviation Director Bill Williams also informed local pilots of the state's role in the emergence of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology in the continental United States. (ADS-B is in developmental service along the East Coast and uses GPS technology to send an aircraft's real-time position once every second to other ADS-B-equipped aircraft. GA pilots in ADS-B-equipped aircraft can receive free weather and traffic information on multifunction displays.)
District staff for AOPA member and strong GA ally Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) and Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) attended the meeting, along with state Sen. Edward Goodall, to stay informed on the latest developments in the aviation industry.
May 24, 2005