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In the last issue of Over the Airwaves we talked about the ways to bring the fun back to your airport with events to draw in the community. In this issue I will focus on ways that you can increase visibility in your community, improve relations with elected officials, and educate about the value of your home drome.
When it comes to promoting your airport, are you speaking a foreign language to non-pilots?
Get to know your local radio personalities, TV reporters, and newspaper writers. They would like to have fun too. Perhaps offer to take them for an airplane ride, or invite them to an event-taking place at the airport. Perhaps write a Letter to the Editor letting readers know exactly what General Aviation is.
Public service announcements (PSA) are another way to get the public’s attention. Many TV stations allow the running of spots shorter than a minute free. Here is a PSA I created for Oceano Airport Celebration: Salute to Veterans.
Learn how to get your message across by using one of AOPA's resources on the newly designed website. Here is a summary with links:
Public Relations - The Key to Your Airport’s Success
It's Your Airport - Serving your community and creating value today and for the future.
What Is General Aviation? - Reveals the breadth of GA, from personal, recreational, and business flying to air ambulance, law enforcement, agricultural application, and much more.
Take 'em Flying! - An appropriate and well-planned flight in a general aviation aircraft is probably the quickest way to overcome misconceptions about general aviation. The brochure Take ‘em Flying! encourages pilots to share their love of flying by providing a firsthand flying experience to people unfamiliar with general aviation.
How to Have a Successful Media Event - A concise brochure that includes facts about GA, ideas for involving reporters and strategies for successful events promoting your local GA airport.
Writing a Letter to the Editor - An AOPA guide offering insights of experienced journalists on writing a letter to the editor that will set the record straight. It also gives tips on getting a letter published or broadcast.
Recognizing Your Airport Sponsor - Has your Airport Sponsor supported your airport and deserve recognition? Fill out an online form and AOPA will send a letter thanking them for supporting general aviation airports. After we receive your submission, we will contact you if we need further details and to let you know when the letter will be sent.
Holding an Airport Open House - A step-by-step guide to staging an airport open house that will help non-pilot neighbors appreciate the value of a convenient community GA airport.
Candidate Forums - Helping pilots discover where candidates stand on issues important to GA.
In order to promote general aviation, we need to define it effectively for the non-flying public. It is important to be positive and focus on the ways that G.A. helps our communities and our citizens.
“That’ll never happen here” is something that we hear a lot. Whether “that” is an airport closure, runway closure, or flight restriction, we need to be on guard for apathy in our pilot population. What is the opposite of apathy? Passion. Let’s mobilize our volunteers, organize, and overcome apathy to protect our airports and inspire the love of flight.
Having served on 5 Master Plan Committees at 3 different airports, I must say that my last one at SDL has been the most fruitful. Working closely with Aviation Director Gary Mascaro and Jim Harris of Coffman Associates, we wanted a plan that would best utilize the existing space at Scottsdale, which is landlocked.
The business center and old FSDO buildings were not being utilized. The existing Terminal Executive building built in 1970, which included a waiting area and two gates that were never used, is a waste of valuable space. Additionally there was empty space on the other side of the terminal building.
Scottsdale Airport is primarily a corporate jet reliever airport for Phoenix (KPHX). Those who fly jets into Scottsdale want the same amenities that Phoenix has to offer with fine restaurants, luxury hotels, golf courses, and numerous fine dining establishments.
The decision was made to tear down the above-mentioned buildings and to build two new hangars for corporate aircraft at an approximate size of 30,000 square feet each. Between the two hangars will be a 2-story office building housing airport administration, rental cars, customs and a restaurant. The existing parking that will be left will be turned into a two story garage to accommodate rental cars and guests.
Scottsdale did not have an operations building and one was just completed to house all operations and ops staff at the airport. The new buildings were just approved by Council and drawings are in the works for bids. This project is to be completed by April 2018. This is all great for staff and corporate jet owners. However, half of the based airplanes at Scottsdale are piston aircraft. There is a private entity that leases T- Hangars and shades, but they are extremely overpriced for the area. Their lease has seven years to run and I am working with the City to retain this area at a reasonable rent.
Newer generation aircraft will not fit into T-Hangars and are based in Shades and FBO hangars. The Master Plan calls for the building of box hangars with water and bathroom to be located on the Kilo ramp. As soon as the bids are accepted for the corporate construction, design work will start on the Box Hangars to cost them out. Reservations with a deposit will be required by anyone who wants to rent these box hangars.
While the piston guys realize that jet traffic pays the bills, Scottsdale also has an obligation to support piston traffic.
The 16th Cavalcade of Planes has shown that there's still great interest in the general populace about aviation at their local airport. This (almost) annual event is held the first weekend of June at Bolingbrook’s Clow International Airport (1C5). It has grown steadily, drawing a record 25,000 attendees in 2016. A developer privately owned the airport until about 10 years ago when the Village of Bolingbrook purchased it. That purchase allowed federal monies to be used for a runway move and reconstruction last year, which forced the cancellation of the event last year, but also created an obligation to keep the airport open. This is a positive development, as the airport sits under Chicago’s O’Hare airspace, as did the ill-fated Meigs Field.
The Cavalcade started as a way to highlight new airplanes to pilots, and continues to serve that function now, with numerous new planes on display this year, including a Cessna Mustang jet. Cavalcade has grown into a community-wide event, shining a positive light on the airport and introducing families to this gem in their backyard. The on-field Illinois Aviation Museum gave rides to over 650 kids in their Curtis Jenny inspired “Ground Bound” and exhibited their three restored military jets. T-6 and R-44 rides were available for purchase, and Midwest Helicopter demonstrated a 400 gallon fire suppression drop. War birds shown included T6s, Stearman, TBM Avengers, a Wildcat, a PT19, and a Fairchild. The event wouldn't have been possible without the aid of 150 volunteers, including the CAP, as well as the generous contributions of area businesses and organizations. For more information, visit the website.
This year we made a special effort to amplify our presence at each AOPA regional fly-in. Our regional fly-in campus contains several tents and hangars. Each location has a designated purpose and we were very fortunate this year to have a tent dedicated to government affairs and advocacy. This provided a perfect venue for our ASN breakfast event and a day full of advocacy-focused seminars. Some of you attended and watched me give a new seminar titled “Helping You Protect Your Airport.” The seminar is intended to provide airport advocates with effective tools to take to their home jurisdiction and use immediately to protect their airports.
ASN volunteers tend to be highly knowledgeable about local politics. However, we’ve met hundreds of other people, who are not ASN volunteers, but want to be involved in efforts to protect their airports. The reason they don’t is because they don’t know where to begin. The “Helping You Protect Your Airport” seminar was a starter kit for those individuals and a good refresher for seasoned advocates. We discussed the various threats to airports, where you may intervene to make a difference, creating a powerful pro-airport message, building public support, and forming an airport support group.
The overarching lesson that I hope to convey is that of positive action. The phrase “positive action” should be taken literally but it is also a play on words. Nearly every example of effective airport advocacy has been made up of positive messages rather than negative messages. When confronted with an anti-airport group it is tempting to destroy their arguments with seething negativity. But in most cases, the positive message is the winning message. Fortunately, the story of your community airport is a positive one! Your airport sustains jobs and provides access to vital aviation services in your municipality, county, and region. Remember: you support your airport because the airport supports your community.
Before I end this edition of Over the Airwaves, I’d like to tell you how AOPA may be able to assist you with the media. From time to time, ASN volunteers are asked by their local media to give an interview. Some of you have media experience and gladly jump at the opportunity. Others are more reluctant since going on the record with a media outlet can be risky. It all depends on the circumstances. If you’d like guidance from AOPA on how to handle the media relative to your airport’s situation, please contact us. AOPA staff has decades of experience in media relations and we can help coach you through your scenario.
October 22, 2016, AOPA Wings 'n Wheels, (KFDK) Frederick, MD Municipal Airport
Can you think of a better way to spend a fall Saturday than enjoying family, food, and friends all while checking out the coolest motorcycles, cars, and aircraft? We can’t either, so fly in, drive in or ride in and join us at AOPA Wings ‘n Wheels on Saturday, October 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
It’s a day of fun for all ages and it all takes place in an exciting airport environment with plenty of food and entertainment. And, admission is FREE!
If you're joining us as a spectator and you have a custom or classic car or motorcycle, bring it!
AOPA Wings ‘n Wheels will be held at AOPA's National Aviation Community Center (NACC), located at 296 Bucheimer Road in Frederick, MD at the Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK).
October 29, 2016 – Stuff a Plane With Toys For Tots, Redlands Airport Association (KREI) Redlands, CA
The Redlands Airport Association, in cooperation with the U.S. Marine Corps, will kick off their second annual Toys for Tots campaign at Redlands Municipal Airport from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 29th. The event is co-sponsored by Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 845, the Redlands Flying Club and the city of Redlands.
The event is open to the community and will feature classic car, motorcycle and airplane displays, an airport open house and fly-in and an aviation swap meet. There is no admission charge, but visitors are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy or make a donation.
November 12, 2016, Glynn County Youth Aviation Day, (KSSI) Saint Simons Island, Georgia
A Civil Air Patrol-sponsored event to promote education, training and careers in Aviation to high school students in Glynn County, GA. Come join aviation professionals and educators at Brunswick-Malcom McKinnon Airport (KSSI) on beautiful Saint Simons Island, GA on November 12, 2016. Students from Brunswick High School and Glynn Academy are invited to participate in a hands-on seminar on aviation careers. Visit and tour aircraft on display, fly a flight simulator, learn the history of Aviation in Glynn County, meet people who have careers in aviation, and learn how to start your education and training in this exciting career. Sponsored by the Brunswick Senior Squadron, Civil Air Patrol and Middle Georgia State University-Eastman Aviation Campus, and hosted by Lance Toland Worldwide Aviation Insurance and Gruber Aviation. 9:30-2:30 on Saturday, November 12th, 2016. All are welcome, but see your high school JROTC instructor to sign up! Contact Person: David English, email to: [email protected].
December 3rd, 2016, Friends of Oceano Airport Toys for Tots, (L52) Oceano, CA
Mark your calendars for Toys for Tots 2016. Saturday December 5th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. We are thrilled to have the JINGLE BELLS entertaining us from 11:00-12:30. Make a child smile for Christmas. Fly in, walk in, drive in. Just come. Rain or Shine, we are a go. We have generous support from Empirical Systems Aerospace, Oceano Fuel, Pacific Plaza Resort, Banner Airways and SkyDive Pismo Beach. For more information: http://www.FriendsofOceanoAirport.com
July 25th -31st EAA Oshkosh: The ASN corner of the AOPA booth was hopping all week with visitors. It was nice to see so many of our ASN’s at the Beer and Brats meet and greet. Dawn Veatch provided a great introduction to the newly enhanced ASN section of the AOPA website.
AOPA Regional Fly-Ins:
August 19th -20th, AOPA Regional Fly-In Bremerton National Airport (KPWT)
September 16th-17th, AOPA Regional Fly-In, W.K. Kellogg Airport, KBTL, Battle Creek MI
September 30th-October 1st, AOPA Regional Fly-In, Ernest A Love Field, KPRC, Prescott, AZ.
2016 AOPA Regional Fly-Ins were a smashing success again this year. Attendance was strong and there were many educational and social opportunities for those who came. Look for a fabulous 2017 Regional Fly-In schedule soon.