San Carlos Airport is the perfect example of a general aviation airport. Established during World War I, the airport (in its present location since 1948) is a reliever for San Francisco International, serves the Bay Area’s thriving business community, and provides educational and emergency services to the surrounding local communities.
Saturday’s weather was perfect for the full day of well-attended FAA Safety Team seminars, presentations, and networking opportunities. ACI Jet, which operates several California fixed-base operations, was the premier sponsor for AirFest. Vendors included AOPA, Pacific Coast Avionics, Air Galore, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Signature, ArtCraft Paint, Disaster Airlift Response Teams, and ACI. Watsonville Airport Manager Rayvon Williams spoke about his experience with DART, which assisted communities devastated by the recent wildfires, and encouraged attendees to spread the word and help inspire more pilots to participate. Highlighting the role of GA airports in disaster response is an important element to building public support, and airport advocacy was one of the main themes of the weekend.
Studies have confirmed the financial benefits of GA airports as regional economic engines. Attendees learned more about the importance of airports and how to build public support for them during a panel discussion featuring McCaffrey, Williams, CalPilots Legal Counsel Karl Schweikert, CalPilots Director Andy Wilson, and CalPilots President Carol Ford.
Gary Cathey, chief of the Caltrans Division of Aeronautics, reminded attendees that airports serve as an alternate means of travel and are as important as the highway system serving the community and deserve just as much attention and reasonable funding.
AirFest attendees came away from the weekend armed with new connections, ideas for advocacy, a goody bag stocked with fun items for the aviation lover, and a renewed sense of inspiration to share the love of flight.
— By Jolie Lucas