The prognosis for Horace Williams Airport is not promising, but AOPA continues to fight for this vital Chapel Hill, N.C., asset. State House Speaker Joe Hackney was recently quoted in a local paper, saying that it was up to officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to decide the fate of the airport. The problem is that the school has been eyeing the airport land for a new research campus. This would mean that the medical school's flight operations would have to be moved, increasing travel time for physicians. "We have not given up on the fight for keeping Horace Williams open. It can be a valuable asset to the research campus and the community," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "We appreciate all the help the legislature was able to provide over the years." Although AOPA and local pilots have been successful in slowing the airport's closure, the university is moving forward with plans to build a hangar at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. It would provide a new base for the medical flight operations and, in effect, remove an obstacle for the closure of Horace Williams.
August 31, 2007