The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association‘s Airport Support Network (ASN) recently passed the 2,000 volunteer mark, the organization said on March 20. “The volunteers are AOPA’s eyes and ears at America’s community airports, helping the Frederick, Md.-based national organization stay informed about local airport issues,” said AOPA President Craig L. Fuller.
The 2,000th volunteer is Troy D. Hightower, who learned of his appointment during a telephone call from ASN program director Jennifer Storm.
Local pilots play a vital role in protecting community airports, which is why AOPA created the Airport Support Network, a nationwide system of volunteers dedicated to promoting and protecting community airports, Fuller explained. The program has been growing steadily since its inception in 1997, he said. With the volunteers’ advance warning and support, the Association has been able to address many community airport issues proactively over the years – often before it is too late.
“AOPA has a great team working on airport advocacy issues,” said Fuller, “but without ASN volunteers watching out for local airports, they might not get the inside information early enough to influence the outcome. We are grateful for the critical assistance ASN volunteers provide.”
Hightower, a private pilot and longtime AOPA member, was appointed as the ASN volunteer for Meadows Field in Bakersfield, Calif. He said he volunteered because he was concerned about the management of his home airport and because protecting airports helps more than just pilots.
He commented that it’s great to be a part of the ASN program because it helps him to communicate “how important airports are to the community, in addition to the users of the airport.” He said he has already spoken with airport users about their Meadows Field concerns.
The AOPA Airport Support Network is a group of volunteers dedicated to promoting and protecting community airports. The program’s goal is to have an ASN volunteer at every public-use airport in the country, to serve as an “early warning system” for local airport issues. Pilots can visit the ASN page on AOPA Online to find out who their airport’s ASN volunteer is, or to nominate a candidate – even themselves – if it does not have one yet.