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Tue, Jan 29, 2008

Colorado Pilots Honor AOPA's Boyer At Pilot Town Meeting

Applauded For Efforts To Keep Land Around APA Clear Of Homes

AOPA President Phil Boyer was presented with a special award on behalf of Centennial Airport, and Colorado pilots, during a Pilot Town Meeting in Denver last week. The award -- a bust of Captain Elrey Jeppesen -- is inscribed, "In grateful appreciation for your many years of dedicated support on behalf of general aviation."

"Through Phil’s leadership, AOPA has accomplished so much for GA at the local, state, and national levels," said APA Director Robert Olislagers. "He’s done an amazing job."

As one example of Boyer's contributions, Olislagers cited efforts to stop the construction of 1,600 homes right off the end of the runway. Aided by AOPA, those efforts succeeded... and now, the airport and county have purchased development rights and some acreage in the area, ensuring compatible land use and protecting the airport environment.

"We couldn’t have done it without AOPA," he said.

Olislagers told members the secret of the airport's success is balancing the needs of the airport and the community, and to keep the two working together.

He has stressed a need to lure non-aviation development to the land surrounding the airport. As an example, the north approach to the airport is protected by a golf course and other sports developments; some airport property is currently being used for a go-kart track.

"We’re essentially banking the land until it’s economically feasible to build new hangars," said Olislagers. "We’re always looking for ways to diversify our economic basket, with all revenue coming back to maintain and improve the airport."

Boyer called the award "an extraordinary honor. Elrey Jeppesen is one of my heroes. His development of aviation charts turned aviation from seat-of-the-pants flying to a real utility and a transportation system."

Boyer also had high praise for Centennial Airport. "Centennial is truly a model of what general aviation airports will have to become to survive into the future."

FMI: www.aopa.org, www.centennialairport.com

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