Wednesday, June 29, 2011

FAA to Study Airports

General Aviation Airports are under the FAA microscope, perhaps more now than ever before. See the recent article on the FAA.GOV website. They want to "classify airports according to the roles they support". The report is due in January 2012!! What can this mean for our beloved old airplanes? It could be a good thing! But it will take an active approach by YOU. If you value your local airfield and want to ensure its future, get involved in the dialog. Join the Alphabet groups and speak out on behalf of our kind of flying.

Coincidentally a related story also came out today on the internet news site "General Aviation News" about a recent report published by the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) Office of Aviation. In Chapter 4 of he report titled "2010-2030 IOWA AVIATION SYSTEM PLAN" the agency classifies the state's airports according to length of runway, available fuel, and services offered. Turf airports and paved airports with runways shorter than 3,000 feet in length are labeled as "Local Airports – These airports serve local aviation activity and have little or no services available. Included are airports with only turf runways and those airports that do not have the infrastructure or services to fill the Basic Service role." Other airport classifications are "Commercial", "General", and "Basic" Service airport facilities.

It appears that local, state, and federal agencies plan to use these classifications as a means for determining allocation of funds and presumably 'minimum requirements' to be imposed to help ensure that the transportation system will meet the needs of the foreseeable future. Airstrip owners and small airport owners need to pay attention whenever these agencies start talking about 'minimum requirements'. The IDOTs report already lists some recommended minimum targets for "Local" airports, such as
- 50 feet minimum runway width
- Posted contact information
- Security Plan
- Emergency Plan
- Land use definitions
- Height zoning

Such requirements, currently focused on public airports, stand to increase operating costs. They loom ominously over the skies of our favorite airfields. And as these classifications and labels take hold, it won't be long until private fields will also be affected. It is important for airport users to GET INVOLVED at every level (local, state, federal). Lets all stay abreast of this issue as it unfolds and work to minimize its impact.

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