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Pilots wage marathon rally for Florida airport

Pilots wage marathon rally for Florida airport

Dozens of local pilots. Six hours of debate. And $10 million in airport improvements on the line.

That was the case in Valkaria, Fla., when local pilots joined together in support of a master plan update for Valkaria Airport. The pilots finally prevailed at 1:30 a.m. on August 30 when the Brevard County Commission unanimously adopted the plan.

"This act of support reinforces the influence pilots can have at a local level," said John Collins, AOPA airports senior liaison.

AOPA had called on Florida members, and they responded by turning out en mass for the marathon meeting. Debate over the airport has lingered for 19 months.

The updated airport master plan calls for $10 million in improvements to be implemented in three phases over a 19-year period. The FAA will pay for 95 percent of improvements, including repaving two runways, building a new parallel taxiway, and adding hangars for up to 100 airplanes.

Local residents opposed to the plan are concerned that the airport will become too busy. Because of the comments, the commission removed plans for full runway night lighting.

September 4, 2007

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