AOPA awarded its highest honor for individuals Sept. 23 to Dr. Robert Larkin, a county commissioner in Washoe County, Nev., and volunteer for AOPA’s Airport Support Network at Reno/Tahoe International Airport.
Commissioner Larkin was honored for his work to ensure that general aviation would continue to have access at Reno/Tahoe International Airport. The Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of GA.
The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority took action last year to reduce and limit GA access at the airport by failing to renew the leases of two FBOs and taking over rental of hangars there. Airport administration indicated they would operate the existing hangars for “at least one year or until new hangars were built at Reno-Stead Airport,” which the authority also operates.
Commissioner Larkin, working closely with AOPA, assisted local pilots in organizing the Reno-Tahoe Aviation Association and tutored them on how to deal with the airport authority, and facilitated resolutions for continued support of GA facilities at Reno/Tahoe International by Washoe County and city of Sparks, Nev.
“Commissioner Larkin’s leadership and advocacy efforts are a perfect example of what can be accomplished when pilots are engaged and committed to making a difference,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “It can be hard work, but as we saw in Reno, well worth the effort.”
In addition to his work as a county commissioner and ASN volunteer, Larkin is an active flight instructor.
The Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award is named for AOPA’s first chairman of the board and is given each year to the person or persons who best emulates the unselfish contribution to GA which characterized the life of L.P. Sharples.
A new day dawned for general aviation at Reno/Tahoe International Airport on July 14—not when the sun rose over the high desert at 5:41 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, but after 9 a.m. that Thursday morning. That's when four new trustees were sworn in as new members of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority board. Read more about the effort to keep GA access to the airport in the September issue of AOPA Pilot.