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ASN Hero

An Update on AOPA’s FBO Effort

Recently, your AOPA Regional Manager has reached out to you to see if your airport has taken any recent steps to either promote competition over FBO-related services, or make access to your airport more affordable. If so, AOPA wants to know your airport’s story and learn more.

As you may know, AOPA has undertaken an effort to address egregious FBO pricing and fees at a number of airports across the country. As part of this initiative, AOPA is working with and encouraging airports to reclaim their governance and ensure such pricing and fees are fair and reasonable. You can learn more here.

Thus far, AOPA has seen airports stepping up to help general aviation. Orange County (SNA), Santa Barbara (SBA), Eastern Iowa (CID), and Jackson Hole (JAC) are notable airports where specific actions have already been taken. Examples we have seen thus far:

  • Airports revising its minimum standards or other regulations to accommodate a new FBO or promote competition.
  • Airports installing a self-serve fuel station to provide an alternative fuel source to the FBO.
  • Airports allowing another FBO to enter and compete at the airport.

We applaud airports taking control of their airports and want to recognize them for that, wherever it is occurring. These stories deserve to be told, and we are more than happy to do so.

Please send an email to your AOPA Regional Manager if you believe your airport is taking actions like those described above. Alternatively, if you are having notable problems with an FBO pricing issue, please reach out as well.

Three Tiers of Advocacy

By Jolie Lucas, Contributing Editor

As pilots, we are used to looking at the shape of Class B airspace as an upside-down wedding cake. We understand that the first level extends from the ground upward; a larger ring sits on top of that, and a still larger ring above that. In terms of airport advocacy, we need to visualize the same three-tiered model.

Tier 1 – Local Advocacy

Local wisdom is the best source of information at an airport.  Who better understands current issues, history, and future needs better than the pilots who are based there? Encourage pilots to:

  • Join the local airport organization.
  • Attend Airport Land Use meetings.
  • Host community events at the airport.
  • Form a relationship with City or County planners.
  • Attend all publicly sponsored airport meetings.
  • Look for chapters of state aviation organizations in local  town/area/region.
  • Use media to the airport’s best interest [newspaper, radio, social media, TV].
  • Create a good working relationship with the airport manager.

Tier 2 – Statewide Organizations

Not every state has its own general aviation organization.  But a quick Google search will tell if your state does.  Statewide airport advocacy organizations are important because they maintain statewide contacts, information, and strategies.  Further, our statewide groups can also advise and assist the local airport groups when issues arise.

Tier 3 – National Organizations

National aviation organizations like AOPA are a critical piece of the three-tiered airport defense strategy.  Membership insures that each maintains its ability to support statewide or local airport and pilot organizations.  Interfacing with our Congressional representatives throughout the year, the national aviation organizations have a large presence in Washington, DC. This serves to remind national policymakers of the importance of general aviation to the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

I would encourage everyone to think of an upside-down wedding cake when it comes to advocating for GA and airports.  Think globally and act locally.  The more we promote general aviation the more we protect our airports. 

Jolie Lucas

Jolie Lucas

Jolie Lucas is a Mooney owner, licensed psychotherapist, private pilot, and Founder of two grass-roots general aviation service groups, Mooney Ambassadors and the Friends of Oceano Airport. She is the 2010 AOPA Joseph Crotti Award recipient for GA Advocacy.

Airport Spotlight: DET

The value of Detroit’s Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport (DET) is once again being questioned by city officials. The city is now studying future uses of the airport property and they may attempt to designate the land for a non-aeronautical purpose. This year, local pilots and aviation businesses came together to form the Coleman A. Young International Airport Education Association. See more AOPA coverage here and visit supportkdet.org to learn more.

Oceano County Airport (L52) to Receive AWOS-3

Submitted by Greg Morton, ASN Volunteer for L52

 Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS)Oceano County Airport gives pilot's access to one of California’s most beautiful beach vacation and recreational areas.  The airport has a campground available year-round and is located within walking distance of the Oceano Dunes, restaurants, beach house rentals, and other attractions. There's also free use of the airport bicycles for a bike ride to the beach.  With the implementation of the new AWOS-3 at Oceano's County Airport, visiting aircraft will have real time weather information which will help generate more frequent visits to the area by pilots and their families to better support the local businesses. 

An Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Grant has provided funding for the installation of an AWOS-3 (Automated Weather Observing System-3) and the replacement of the airport beacon. The FAA AIP Grant totaled $360K leaving an additional cost of $145K for the AWOS-3 upgrade, which was self-funded by San Luis Obispo County Department of Airports.

The AWOS-3 will be a major asset to all pilots at Oceano County Airport due to the airport's vicinity to the coastline at Oceano Beach, CA. Pilots will be able to receive a computer-generated voice message which is broadcast via radio to pilots in the vicinity of the airport. The message is updated at least once per minute. This will be a great benefit to departing and arriving aircraft at Oceano County Airport due to the possibility of developing weather including winds, a marine layer, stratus clouds, or fog.

It’s All Connected

By Adam Williams

The fight to keep America’s air traffic control system in public hands continues. Each of you has a role to play in defeating the effort to privatize the safest, busiest, and most complex ATC system in the world. Any plan that could result in a decrease in GA operations will impact the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).

How are they related? To answer that, we have to look at how GA airports fit into the national picture. When your airport seeks funding for a project, it is competing with airports across the US. Each year, the FAA distributes Airport Improvement Program funds to airports. The amount offered is based a number of factors. The number of flight operations at an airport is considered as part of the decision. So if there were a substantial decrease in the number of flight operations over time, the amount of money available for projects will decrease. All of this while the cost of construction continuously climbs! This is just one of many reasons why ATC must not be privatized. Thank you for talking to your Congressional delegation and to your fellow pilots about this critical issue. And thank you for everything else you do as an ASN volunteer!

Adam Williams

Adam Williams

Adam Williams is Manager of Airport Policy at AOPA. He is a commercial pilot and CFI with flight experience in everything from turboprops to light-sport aircraft.

Events in our LogBook

AOPA Regional Fly-In September 8-9, Norman, OK (OUN)

Over 7,500 people and 500 airplanes came to enjoy the Friday educational seminars and the Saturday events.  This year, AOPA broke the mold of the wildly successful regional fly-in by adding Friday seminars which educate both the pilot, and non-pilot [as with Pilot Plus One/Right Seat Ready].  The Friday Workshops led by world-renowned presenters were very popular with attendees.  The fun continued at our ever-popular Barnstormers Party, presented by Jeppesen.  Saturday activities included free seminars all day, dozens of exhibits and aircraft on display, great meals, and a Pilot Town Hall with AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker.

Fremont County Air Show September 16th Fremont County Airport (1V6) gateway to the Royal Gorge and Rocky Mountains.  This free community Fly-in was very well attended.  Events included an EAA Pancake Breakfast, parachute demonstration, war bird fly-bys, aerial demonstrations, acrobatics, hot rods, Police & Fire Fighting vehicles, remote control aircraft display, and free helicopter rides.  (Photo Credit: Bruce Claremont)

Kern Valley Airport Backcountry Fly-In, Kernville, CA, September 22nd-24th, (L95)
The Backcountry Fly-In and Camp-out at Kern Valley Airport in foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California attracted 30 airplanes.  Activities included airplane camping, white water rafting, backcountry fly-out, and Tri-tip BBQ.  (Photo Credit: Scott Boling)

October 13th-14th, California Pilots Association AirFest 2017, San Carlos, CA (KSQL)
Over 130 attendees enjoyed the beautiful Bay Area event which included a visit from AOPA President Mark Baker.