When a town makes decisions about its airport—whether to repave a runway, or how to restrict residential development close to the field—it often looks to state aviation officials for advice. AOPA met with those officials March 28 at the Washington, D.C., conference of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO).
State aviation agencies play a critical role in supporting and regulating America’s public-use general aviation airports, and in some states directly own and operate airports. The conference brought together state and federal officials to discuss issues facing aviation across the country and gave an indication of agencies’ plans for the future; the relationships AOPA builds with the officials who regulate the industry is critical to the association’s success in keeping aviation accessible and affordable.
“AOPA staff members work hard to build and retain relationships with aviation officials to protect our members’ interests,” said AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro. “Gatherings like these are a great opportunity to participate in the dialogue between federal and state officials, and to make sure that pilot concerns reach every level of government.”
State and local aviation officials are actively engaged in protecting airports and planning for the future in their home states. At the Washington, D.C., event, they discussed aviation issues with federal decision-makers, including Brian Delauter, the TSA’s general manager for general aviation, and Kate Lang, the FAA’s acting administrator for airports.
Lang emphasized the importance of taking a strategic look at the needs of GA for the future during her remarks on a variety of airport issues. She also mentioned that her office has recently completed a tour of several airports with residential through-the-fence access; aircraft operations involving homes and businesses on private property that have access to airport taxiways or runways are called “through the fence” operations. Lang indicated that her office is now looking at another draft of its guidance on through-the-fence residential access and is trying to “hit the center line” with the new draft.