Sun ’n Fun is the spring break for pilots, and it brings with it AOPA’s traditional meeting of Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteers at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida.
The ASN is dedicated to protecting airports and keeping the public opinion of general aviation alive and well. Volunteers from each airport are in constant contact with AOPA about issues such as taxation, encroachment, harmful development, and local governmental attitudes toward aviation and their airport.
The annual breakfast included speeches by AOPA President Craig Fuller, who thanked the volunteers for their service. Also on the program was Albert Whitted Municipal ASN Volunteer Jack Tunstill, who spoke about how members can become advocates for their own airports. He encouraged airport activists to build support by identifying the stakeholders at an airport.
The main topics AOPA focused on included residential through-the-fence activities, and the renewed urge for pilots to participate in their “Lock up, Look out” program. A question and answer session followed, where volunteers shared problems at their own airports and sought advice from the ASN team.
In addition to working with AOPA to protect airports and meeting with other ASN volunteers to develop ideas to promote GA in their community, these volunteers also get the opportunity to participate in special events with the association.
Leading up to the meeting in Lakeland, volunteers along the East Coast helped AOPA kick off the Road and Runway Rally in their area. AOPA’s stops at Williamsburg, Va.; Wilmington, N.C.; and St. Augustine, Fla., highlighted the sheer passion and thrill that members and the aviation community have for flight. Williamsburg ASN volunteer Paul Volk, Wilmington’s Ralph Fox, and St. Augustine’s Mike “Gunner” Thompson helped to make each of those rally stops a tremendous success for GA!
To see if your home airport needs a volunteer, check the ASN Web page.