Polar Vortex impacts general aviation

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You would have had to be living in an ice cave to miss all the media hype about the unusual cold weather gripping the United States in the first week of January. The weather phenomenon known as the “Polar Vortex” provided great fodder for dramatic images of frozen and barren highways, giving the impression that all transportation stopped — including air travel. Indeed many airlines delayed or cancelled flights, stranding some passengers for days.

But at many general aviation airports, the cold weather didn’t slow air traffic at all.

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Judge denies more time to FAA in SMO lawsuit

A federal judge has denied the FAA’s request for more time to respond to a lawsuit filed by the city of Santa Monica to close Santa Monica Municipal Airport. According to a report in the Santa Monica Lookout, Judge John F. Walter denied the FAA’s request for an additional 44 days to respond to a lawsuit that claims the city has the right to close down at least part of the 227-acre parcel that has operated as an airport for nearly a century. The ruling says that the FAA had “failed to demonstrate good cause for the requested extension,” especially given the “time-sensitive nature of this action.”

A battle GA must win

An in-depth story on AOPA.org about the embattled Santa Monica Airport in Southern California notes that its fate could have implications for airports across the country. The subject of a lawsuit by the city to close the airport, SMO “should be the cause célèbre of aviation interests to draw the proverbial line in the sand,” Richard Asper, an airport consultant, is quoted as saying in the story, adding it’s a fight the aviation community cannot afford to lose. “We have to make this one a public outcry.” Read the full story here.