Open House, Parade Float Generate Enthusiasm
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association told ANN recently
about one airport's efforts to reach out to its community, and
generate interest and enthusiasm in what some local residents
perceive as a liability.
Pilots flying from Venice Municipal Airport (VNC) in Florida
used a local holiday parade and airport birthday celebration to
reach out to the nonflying public, a move they believe helped
engender good will for their airport despite long-running battles
over noise and safety issues.
AOPA says over 3,000 people attended the December 6 birthday
bash and airport open house for Venice Municipal, while thousands
of others saw the airport in a new light after the Venice Aviation
Society Inc. (VASI), a local pilots group, had a float in the
community’s holiday parade.
"Both events were grand slam home runs, and the outreach will
continue," said Nick Carlucci, president of VASI and an AOPA
Like many airports of similar size and location, VNC has been
under attack by a small-but-vocal number of anti-airport neighbors,
who have raised noise and safety concerns about the field. AOPA has
been actively involved working with pilots and AOPA Airport Support
Network volunteer John Yurosko to enhance the airport’s image
and to encourage city officials to take action to protect the
There has been progress. In 2006, AOPA President Phil Boyer
joined a crowd of city, state, and federal officials to celebrate
the reopening of the field's primary runway.
Boyer's CitationJet was the very first aircraft to take off
from the new runway.
But the battle has been largely uphill. AOPA says the Venice
City Council disbanded the airport advisory board earlier this year
after the board called for improvements and objected to proposals
to shorten the runway or restrict access to the airport.
The city also has struggled to develop an updated master plan
for the airport that complies with FAA requirements to maintain
airport safety and utility.