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Airport preservation: Local pilot actions essentialAirport preservation: Local pilot actions essential

Airport preservation: Local pilot actions essential
AOPA provides wealth of resources, services to help

AOPA Airport Support Network

Is your airport being threatened by encroachment, or could it be in the near future? Can you answer that for certain? Residential developers are not the only ones who pose a threat to your airport. It could be a school built near the approach end of a runway, a radio tower in the traffic pattern, poor zoning, city or county mandates, and even state legislation.

"With the help of local pilots, AOPA Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers, and AOPA regional representatives, your association can help stop many of these threats - but without you, the local eyes and ears, it would be nearly impossible," said Roger Cohen, AOPA vice president of regional affairs.

For example, thanks to notification from pilots, AOPA has been working to keep charter schools in California and Florida from being built near airports.

Also in California, pilots and AOPA are battling an obvious safety hazard. A radio tower owner wants to reconstruct a 760-foot-tall tower in an airport's traffic pattern. The tower previously erected on the spot was involved in two fatal GA accidents.

These are just a few examples of why it is important for you to stay informed. But how can you stay abreast of all these issues that could potentially affect your airport?

One place to start is by attending zoning hearings and city or county council meetings. This will keep you current and give you a heads up on issues that could directly or indirectly affect your airport.

If you aren't sure if a land-use proposal or other action will negatively impact your airport, read " AOPA's Guide to Airport Noise and Compatible Land Use" and contact AOPA (800/USA-AOPA) to discuss the potential issue with trained staff.

Read AOPA ePilot, the association's weekly e-mail newsletter, for advocacy efforts in your neck of the woods. Through those articles, AOPA highlights the issue, what the association is doing, and what you can do to help in those efforts. ( Sign up for the free newsletter if you do not already subscribe. If you are a subscriber, be sure you've signed up to receive personalized information about events in your area.)

"AOPA carries more weight with local leaders when we have the active support and voices of all the pilots and AOPA members in the area," Cohen said.

Another way to get involved is to become an ASN volunteer. ASN volunteers act as a liaison between local pilots and AOPA. ( See if your airport already has a volunteer).

"General aviation airports are threatened every day," Cohen said. "But with the support and involvement of every member, AOPA can help protect and preserve this valuable resource."

September 2, 2005

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