Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) on Tuesday paid tribute to AOPA's efforts to preserve and secure general aviation airports.
In congressional comments, Miller said, "AOPA has pioneered two critical programs that work to protect and preserve safe and secure access of general aviation pilots to the nation's airspace and airports—the Airport Support Network and the Airport Watch Program."
"We're extremely flattered that Congressman Miller would recognize us so publicly," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "But even more impressive to us is his understanding of general aviation. Gary Miller sits on the powerful House Transportation Committee, and having allies there who know the value of GA is absolutely crucial."
In his remarks, Miller singled out the ordinary pilots who do extraordinary work for the Airport Support Network. "The Airport Support Network has been very successful in my home state of California," he said "AOPA efforts have produced successful steps toward the preservation of two very important California general aviation airports—Oceanside Municipal and Montgomery Field. The Airport Support Network encourages communication and activity that most recently resulted in the city council of Oceanside supporting an airport master plan that will ensure continued operations at the airport. I am encouraged by these efforts and believe that the Airport Support Network will help ensure that our system of general aviation airports remains protected and viable."
Miller also made note of the AOPA Airport Watch program. "Formed out of a partnership between AOPA and TSA, [it] was created to keep these viable airports safe and secure. Pilots and members of the general aviation community are being instructed in what to look for in the manner of suspicious activity at their airports. Educational materials have disseminated throughout the aviation community. Pilots are instructed to either contact local authorities or report suspicious activity to a nationwide toll-free hotline—866/GA-SECURE.
"Airport Watch is a great example of AOPA's efforts to promote security while preserving the freedom of the skies."