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Roles and ResourcesRoles and Resources

Photography of two couples talking at the airport.Essex Skypark (W48)Baltimore MD USA

  • AOPA’s RoleThe goal of the ASN program is to encourage and support local airport advocacy. AOPA offers online resources, volunteer interaction, and an expert staff to support your efforts.
  • Your RoleASN volunteers are expected to serve as dedicated airport advocates, keep AOPA abreast of any problems that surface, and make use of the many ASN program resources. Now that you’re more familiar with the ASN program, consider stopping by your airport and introducing yourself to those who are vested in the airport’s success, such as the airport manager, FBO operator(s), and local pilots. Explain your role as the ASN volunteer and how you and AOPA can benefit the airport.

ASN Advisory Board

In late 2017, AOPA reconstituted the ASN Board of Advisors to bring the “voice of the ASN volunteer” to AOPA’s leadership of this program. The Advisory Board is comprised of one ASN volunteer from each region and they meet annually at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland.

What You Should Do

A staged photoshoot at AOPA's NACC with 15-20 "flying club members" interacting in scenarios such as BBQ, flight planning, group watching video, washing airplane, etc.Since 1997, ASN volunteers have served as AOPA's "eyes and ears" at public-use airports across the United States. Today we are asking our volunteers to be a proactive part of solving issues with the help of AOPAs regional managers. What does that mean, exactly? Below are some of the critical responsibilities that ASN volunteers take on. More details can be found on the ASN webpage.

  • Be a liaison to local pilots and/or local pilot groups to help educate them on AOPA's airport advocacy efforts and resources (like those found at www.aopa.org/asn).
  • Attend airport owner/sponsor (e.g., city, county, etc.) meetings and notify your AOPA regional manager of any potential problems.
  • Notify your AOPA regional manager of any questionable operational restrictions (e.g., curfews, noise abatement procedures, etc.) at your airport.
  • Deliver AOPA correspondence from headquarters as may be needed.
  • Promote AOPA events and AOPA Air Safety Institute seminars to the local pilot community.
  • Establish communication channels for AOPA with airport management, advisory committees/commissions, and FBOs on the field.
  • Assist in direct/indirect promotion of local airport activity to enhance the favorable image of the airport (e.g., open houses, airport support groups, etc.).
  • Help educate local officials and community neighbors about the value of their airport.
  • Keep your AOPA regional manager informed when issues arise; they are very familiar with all types of airport issues and can always help.
  • Provide local newspaper clips and media alerts on airport issues to AOPA Airport Support Network staff.
  • Be a model aviation citizen in your contacts and flying.

What Not to Do

Here's a list of things to avoid:

  • Don't imply you represent AOPA on policy positions. Don't create AOPA letterhead, email addresses (e.g., [email protected]), or sign in to meeting attendance lists as AOPA.
  • Don't refer to yourself as the AOPA "representative." Use the term "volunteer" instead to avoid confusion between ASN volunteers and AOPA regional managers.
  • Don't forget to email your AOPA regional manager with an update a few times a year, even if things are quiet at your airport. No news may not be good news; it may mean you haven't been in the loop at the airport.
  • Don't delay your call to AOPA for assistance. The more time our staff has to address your issue, the more help we can provide.
  • Don't feel pressured by the local pilot community to always be the bad guy to airport management. It's not as effective as a respectful dialogue.
  • Don't skip important airport meetings but don't assume you have to be the only advocate at your airport. If you can't make a meeting, see if a friend can attend and send you some notes afterward.

Since 1997, ASN volunteers have served as AOPA's ‘eyes and ears’ at public-use airports across the United States.

Resources

You’ll find a number of resources on the ASN section of the AOPA website. Please take a few moments to scan the AOPA Resources section of the website to see what's available. Examples include:

Top 10 facts every ASN Volunteer should know about their airport!

Our Airport team at AOPA Headquarters stands ready to assist our ASN volunteers when troubles arise at their airport. Our first step in dealing with any airport issue is to understand the basics of that airport. These “Top 10” questions will provide a good understanding of the overall health and management of the airport. Take a few moments to consider each of these questions—you may learn more about your airport than you expected!

  1. Is the airport in the NPIAS? (National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems)
  2. Is it currently federally grant obligated?
    1. By the FAA? (N/A if not in NPIAS)
    2. By the state?
  3. How many aircraft are based at your airport? (a visit to the airport is better than looking this up on AirNav.com or the FAA 5010 database)
  4. How many operations per year? (at nontowered airports, a chat with the airport manager is better than the online data)
  5. Who is the airport manager?
    1. Have they been trained in airport management? (C.M. course or A.A.E. credential)
  6. Who is the airport sponsor?
  7. Is there an airport advisory board or an airport commission?
    1. What is the board or commission empowered to do? (By-laws)
  8. What are the sponsor’s plans for the airport? (Best learned through a chat with the airport manager or responsible person at the city or county)
    1. Is there an airport master plan? (Check the airport website)
    2. Are any improvements currently funded?
  9. Who uses the airport the most? Locally based aircraft? Transient visitors? Commercial airlines? Corporate traffic? EAA? CAP? The RAF? EMS? Firefighters? Local Law Enforcement? CBP? Others?
  10. What is the status of the hangars and tiedowns at the airport?
    1. Is there a hangar waiting list?
    2. Is the airport currently building or planning to build new hangars?
      1. T-hangars or corporate box hangars?
    3. How many hangars are privately-owned on land leased from the airport?
      1. T-hangars or corporate box hangars?
    4. How many hangars are controlled by the commercial FBO?
      1. T-hangars or corporate box hangars?
    5. How many hangars are controlled by the airport manager?
      1. T-hangars or corporate box hangars?
    6. How many tiedown spots are available for locally based aircraft?
      1. Who controls the tiedown spots? (Airport manager? Commercial FBO?)
    7. How many tiedown spots for transient GA aircraft?
      1. Who controls the tiedown spots? (Airport manager? Commercial FBO?)

Updates and Assistance

Whether it’s good news or bad, tell us about changes at your airport. If there’s an issue and you’re requesting AOPA assistance (beyond what the website offers), please inform your AOPA regional manager as soon as possible.

Our Airport team at AOPA Headquarters stands ready to assist our ASN volunteers when troubles arise at their airport. Our first step in dealing with any airport issue is to understand the basics of that airport.

Promote, Protect, Defend

Community airports in the United States continue to face many threats, but with the help of AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers like you, we can stem the tide of airfield closures and ensure a bright future for general aviation.

As the sun sets at Camarillo Airport on Friday night, a Cessna lands while two airplanes wait to depart. Photo by Mike Collins.