General Aviation Airport Survival
Every year more of our country?s general aviation airports are closed due to encroachment. California?s general aviation airports are no exception. While the national groups such as AOPA, EAA and NBAA do an excellent job, new pilot starts are down, the current pilot population is diminishing, and general aviation airport land use incompatibility issues are growing. These facts point to the obvious necessity for every pilot to do more if we are to save our airports. We must start to think strategically. Remember, just because your local airport isn?t currently under attack, it does not mean it won?t be in the near future.
Blueprint for the Protection of California’s General Aviation Airports
We believe that our general aviation airports require a three tier defense structure to adequately protect them.
The first tier is the local tier, which is made up of local users such as the pilots, airport commission, airport manager and businesses utilizing their airport. It takes a pilot community to promote and protect an airport. Who better to become the first line of defense for their airport? The first tier establishes and maintains relationships with the airport manager, the municipality?s Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) and the city or county council which has ultimate responsibility for overseeing the airport. Creating a successful relationship takes dedication and must be ongoing to become effective. The California Pilots Association can help you with this.
The second tier is the statewide organization, in this case the California Pilots Association. The second tier oversees statewide issues, and works in support of the local tier. The California Pilots Association has a statewide network of volunteers to assist the first tier promote and protect their airport (click the Board link on the main menu for your regional contact).
The third tier is made of the national pilot organizations. It is important to remember that they can not do everything anymore, and they are best suited to bring their influence to the lawmakers and state legislators when/as required. The third tier works with the first and second as required, however, communication of existing and potential issues must be accomplished at all levels.
All three tiers must work together to achieve success. Unfortunately, that is not the case today, and it must change if we are to be successful moving forward. That is why the California Pilots Association is working to educate the state?s pilots.
What can you do?
There are a number of steps you can take to help protect our state?s airports.
- If you do not belong to a local airport/pilot organization join one immediately. If your airport does not have a local organization why not start one? Take the initiative to get together with the pilots from your airport to form an organization. The California Pilots Association can help if you need it.
- Join the California Pilots Association if you do not belong. As a non-profit organization, we can use your help, and your membership dues help fund our volunteer work.
- If you do not already belong, join one of the national pilot organizations, they will continue to need our support.
Times are changing for pilots. We can no longer afford to sit by and hope that our airports remain open, and our rights are maintained. It is up to us to participate or else we will suffer the consequences. We hope you will consider becoming part of our blueprint for the protection of the state?s general aviation airports. Please join us.