Just as there's no single
runway length that's appropriate for all aircraft, there's no single
approach to preserving an airport. But we've found in our research that
two common threads run through almost all successful efforts to promote
or protect aviation resources.
The first is active participation.
Airport supporters need to be proactive because positive things can
only happen when someone takes the initiative to make them happen.
The second is communication
beyond the end of the runway -- taking the case for an airport's positive
contributions outside the aviation community and into the surrounding
community. Most people hear little more from airports than the noise
made by the aircraft using them.
The airport users can complain
-- and often do -- about an adversarial local government, or about how
cranky neighbors in the new development under the downwind have little
or no understanding of how and why the airport works. But the old excuses
for not dealing with local sentiment -- "the airport was here first,"
"we've always done it this way," and "the FAA says I
can" -- just aren't credible responses to people's concerns, whether
those concerns are real or only perceived.
operation of an airport isn't top secret. It's commerce. Unless airport
owners and operators, facility users, supporters including members of
the business community that rely on the airport, and regulators make
a commitment to communicate an airport's benefits beyond its physical
boundaries -- beyond the end of the runway -- then we're doomed to further
losses of facilities that can never be replaced.
The Wolf Aviation Fund hopes
that you find the information contained in this guide useful and that
it points you in the right direction. Airports across the country may
differ in size and use. But, whether large or small, virtually all of
them face some sort of challenge to their ability to serve the flying
public -- and, in turn, the elimination of their potential to provide
benefits to their host and neighboring communities -- unless we all