How to Protect Our Airports

May June Cal PIltos Newsletter

by George Loegering VP Region 1

Airports are irreplaceable. I think we can all agree on that statement. Yet, did you know that many California rural airports are in danger of closing? There are examples in Modoc, Shasta and Trinity Counties. Others in Humboldt, Lake and Siskiyou have been temporally rescued, their issues unresolved long term. Protecting our airports is a full time job, and requires an organized effort to be effective. There are several concerns such as noise, safety, local citizens, developers, and the privatization of public use strips. Rural airport clear zones have been jeopardized, when adjacent trees grew into them. When runway obstacles are on private or federal lands, the length of the resolution can cause temporarily, or permanent closure. California airports are part of the state transportation infrastructure, and are nominally funded by a $10,000 annual grant. At smaller rural airports, this grant pays for almost everything except repaving, or clear area land acquisition. The FAA and State Governments provide up to 94.5% of the budget for improvements and safety issues. City and County Governments provide the remaining 5.5%. Unfortunately, there have been cases when, at the expense of the airport, improvement grants were withheld, or redirected to other purposes. The California Pilots Association (CPA) has a network of volunteers who work to keep our airports open. Local Airport Representatives are responsible for uncovering and tracking issues; Area Directors coordinate airport representatives and local issues; and Regional VP?s/Director?s, who develop procedures and address issues. A statewide organization, CPA: ? Is familiar with local issues and can generate pressure to address them ? Has volunteer lawyers familiar with aviation law ? Has written state airport land use regulations ? Provides seminars to airport managers, and county planning personnel ? Can provide incorporation assistance for CPA Chapters Chapter organizations play a large role in the CPA. They oversee a specific, or group of smaller airports. Each chapter provides an organizational structure, in which supporters participate preserving and enhancing the local facilities. Membership in local chapters is very important. The size of the membership of an organization such as CPA is one of the keys leveraged to get action. Let me say that again, ?The size of the membership of an organization such as CPA is one of the keys leveraged to get action?. The challenge is that CPA does not have representation at every airport and this is where you can help. CPA membership is extremely important in preserving your airport and the airports of California. Your dues help disseminate information and fight for airport rights. There is a very dedicated group of volunteers who serve the CPA. Won?t you join us?