Airports sue over tower closures

The Associated Press is reporting that several airports have asked a federal court to stop the FAA’s plan to close 149 contract air traffic control towers, accusing the agency of violating federal law meant to ensure major changes at airports do not erode safety. Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill., has joined other airports, including those in Spokane Airports in Washington state, and the operators of Florida airports in Naples, Ormond Beach and Punta Gorda. The court combined the suits into a single case Thursday.


Gone but not forgotten


We lost some key “downtown” airports as the 20th Century faded into history. Famous campaigns fought to save them; local politicians with big plans “got” them — Chicago Meigs (10 years ago this month) and Bader Field in Atlantic City, N.J. They represented the height of GA utility. Now, in their absence, have politicians’ airport-killing schemes and dreams worked out?

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Watch your downwind

By Mary Rosenblum, President-Elect, Oregon Pilots Association

TROUTDALE, Ore. – You drive out to the hangar one afternoon, it’s a great day to be in the air and you can’t wait.  You make the turn onto the airport and what do you see?  Construction cranes?  In the pattern?  Hey, what gives?  Who the heck is building here? What are they thinking?

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A new seaplane base in New York


Bill Schmalz, who organizes the South Florida Seaplane Splash-in every year and is quite active in the Seaplane Pilots Association, recently sent us some pictures of a “new” seaplane base in the New York City area — LaGuardia Airport after Superstorm Sandy. He notes that it’s only fitting, as the airport was originally a seaplane base: “Back to its roots,” he said, adding, “bring on the Pan Am Clippers.” Photos below: [Read more…]

Online calculator sums up aviation benefits in Washington

A new online tool is designed to help decision makers at the airports in Washington state make more strategic investment choices to support local communities and the state’s economy. The Aviation Economic Calculator allows decision makers to estimate how changes in activity at an airport, such as new flight activity, businesses or capital projects, may affect an airport’s economic vitality.

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Building a bigger tent


With the Republican convention only days behind us, and the Democratic convention going on this week, this is the obvious opportunity to take a lesson from their play books. Because whether you subscribe to this one or that one, you have to admit the elephants and donkeys have been exceptionally successful for many years at exactly one thing: They stay in the driver’s seat year after year, fending off challengers with the ease a well-waxed airplane sheds raindrops in flight. And they both accomplish that feat by using the exact same method. They work hard to build a big tent, and then build it even bigger at every opportunity.

In contrast, let’s consider ourselves — general aviation community. We are a minority. A small minority, actually. Very small. We are also undeniably shrinking. [Read more…]

Analyst speculates that ‘fiscal cliff’ could close airports

If America falls off the so-called “fiscal cliff” on Jan. 2, one of the first victims could be St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, according to a report by Jamal Thalji in the Tampa Bay Times. The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, speculated in a recent report that the airport could be one of six in Florida and 106 around the country that would have to shut down because the FAA wouldn’t be able to pay air traffic controllers.

Georgia Airports Mean Business

The state of Georgia is promoting a new tagline – “Georgia Airports Mean Business” – in an effort to raise visibility for the airports that pairs a 2011 Georgia Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study with a YouTube video and DVD. In a report at, Carol Comer of the Georgia Department of Transportation, is quoted as saying: “Those of us in aviation, whether we’re pilots or on the infrastructure side, we get it. The harder sell is for the family in a rural area who may never have been on an airliner much less a general aviation airplane.”