A self-described “Mooney Girl” is this year’s recipient of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA’s) Joseph Crotti Award for service to general aviation (GA) in California. Jolie Lucas, founder of the Mooney Ambassadors, was honored for her work to protect Oceano Airport (L52) in San Luis Obispo County.
A local developer decided he had a better idea of how to use the land Oceano sits on and, over the objections of county officials, pressed ahead with highly controlled “public” meetings to try to win community support to close the airport and let him build on it. Lucas organized local pilots to attend those public meetings. With her encouragement and constant communication with pilots and AOPA, the developer’s meetings were overwhelmingly stacked against closure of the airport. She recruited pilots and began a campaign to win community support, organizing a beautification project for the airport, which had become somewhat rundown. Buildings were painted and drought tolerant plants planted, all with volunteers and donated materials. She and her fellow pilots also hosted a “movie night” at the airport, inviting pilots and the public to watch movies in a camp ground adjacent to the airport.
For more information visit the Friends of Oceano web site.