I love airports.
They are their own little eco-systems. Many small airports offer fuel and maintenance, a flight school and even a cafe.
Some might have an EAA chapter, CAP squadron. When I learned to fly mine even had a Navy Flying Club.
Like most eco-systems, all these elements are interdependent.
It was only the desire to fly the Beech T-34 Mentors parked on the school’s ramp that led me to the Navy Flying Club and joining CAP. Which in turn led to me pursue additional ratings and certificates at the school.
Like they were for me, EAA’s Young Eagles and CAP’s cadet programs can be the “sales funnels” for the next generation of pilots.
- They can be “the purpose” a student pilot might need to complete their training.
- They host the “permanent pilots” in your community who talk about aviation and the local airport to their neighbors and friends.
- They have the potential to provide you with the exposure you need to bring more customers to your school.
All of us at the airport share a common passion for aviation. We promote and support it.
An airport needs all these elements working together to become vibrant, healthy and busy enough to bring in outside visitors.
We all want the airport to thrive. We want a maintenance hangar on the field. We want a busy cafe from which we can plan the annual open house and airshow. Together, we keep the real-estate developers at bay.
So … I have a challenge for you!
Do you know the aviation organizations that based at your field? Better yet, do you know their meeting times and the names of the admin staff?
Think about encouraging your students to get involved and participate in your airport community. As residential neighborhoods continue to expand, the survival of your airport may depend on it.
After all, I love airports and I want to be able to visit yours one day.