By AOPA ePublishing staff
What would you do if your city approved a residential development 500 feet from the end of your airport's crosswind runway that could lead to that runway's closure? Or if an anonymous rant full of mistruths was published in a newspaper attacking the airport's planned runway expansion?
In the case of New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport, AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Paul Rooy is fighting both attacks.
AOPA has been working with Rooy, guiding him on how to approach the attacks. The association has successfully worked with many volunteers across the country, including those in Florida, to defeat threats at the local level.
To counter a developer's proposal to build houses so close to the runway, Rooy started a 40-plus-member airport support group, Friends of New Smyrna Beach Airport (FONSBA). The state also stepped in, raising concerns about the safety of locating homes off the end of the runway.
Now the developers are considering alternatives and are scheduled to meet with the airport advisory board at a workshop later this month. Rooy and FONSBA representatives will attend in order to provide input.
With a good handle on the encroachment issue, Rooy is responding to an anti-airport rant that appeared in his local newspaper about frequent airport noise that residents near the airport fear will increase if the proposed runway expansion occurs. He has sent a rebuttal to the editor of the Hometown News to get the facts out to the public.
"This is a critical challenge for an important airport, and Paul is doing an excellent job leading the charge to protect it," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "But the battle is just beginning, and we will be there to support local pilots every step of the way to ensure the airport remains a viable part of the community."
November 1, 2007