by Cassandra Isackson
Director, Minnesota DOT Office of Aeronautics
Published in Midwest Flyer – April/May 2017
Spring arrived early this year with many events attracting attention. As aviators, we flock to airshows, fly-ins, and pancake breakfasts, to enjoy bright blue spring and summer skies with friends and family. I’ll be at many aviation events and programs around the state this year, too, along with other Minnesota Office of Aeronautics staff. Please invite us to any event you’d like us to attend at your airport, and we’ll do our best to be there. We look forward to meeting you face to face to hear your questions, concerns, and ideas.
Other, not so obvious, events should also attract our attention as aviators. The Minnesota Legislature is in session making decisions about how aviation tax dollars will be collected and spent in our state. There is a current surplus in the State Airport Fund and the Governor’s budget recommends an appropriation that can apply those dollars to needed projects at airports around the state. It’s like spending money already in your savings account on a new roof for your house. If you want cash in the State Airport Fund to be used for maintenance expenses at your airport and projects all around the state, let your legislators know they should support the Aeronautics Appropriation in the Governor’s Budget.
The State Aviation System Plan (SASP) will be experiencing renewal beginning this spring as well. The plan, as required by FAA, inventories the airports in the state system, forecasts future demand, and evaluates the need for change across the system to accommodate our future. The final planning steps compute costs for the system over time, and inform FAA, the Minnesota Legislature, and the U.S. Congress of money needs that will allow airports to continue supporting community economies and aviation’s future. We’d like you to help us understand the variety of needs at your airport. Aeronautics staff has one understanding of needs from a system perspective, but only you can provide the personal touch – pointing out specifics at your own airport. Expect to hear us inviting your participation at a wide variety of locations and events this year. Please come, and bring your opinions!
Meanwhile, if you haven’t been flying this winter, re-familiarize yourself with your aircraft well before your first flight this spring. Attend an FAA safety seminar. Attend one of the many available conferences. Check http://www.dot.state.mn.us/aero/events/flyins-and-events.html for a list.
By participating in these programs, you’ll be investing in continued growth in aviation and enhancing your safety knowledge and skills. I urge you to participate; to improve aviation; to work together; and to step towards zero aviation deaths in Minnesota.