by Yasmina Platt, Manager
AOPA Central Southwest Region
Even as the last piece of state legislation for 2012 in the Central Region was signed in July, AOPA started working on next year’s initiatives. I will have more details to share about this in future issues of Midwest Flyer Magazine. I do, however, want to give you an update regarding the city’s efforts to close the St. Clair Regional Airport (K39) in Missouri. AOPA has worked to keep K39 open since 2008, but Mayor Ron Blum continues to push for the closing of the airport to build a mall. Before Blum began his closure attempts and started neglecting the airport, it was a thriving hub of business activity and revenue generation, and there is no reason why the airport could not continue to play that role with proper support. During a meeting with the city in late July, AOPA outlined a list of expensive tasks that would be required as part of the closure evaluation, and provided other information to the city about their obligations to the FAA. Although the city is just beginning its closure request to the FAA, the bar is very high, the process is long, and there has been no indication that the FAA would approve the closure.
While we were busy with many things, most of the summer was focused at strengthening the aviation community by increasing our presence at regional aviation events. I truly enjoyed flying through and getting to know some of you in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa on my way to and from Oshkosh, the AirVenture Cup Race, and the Fly Iowa 2012 event in Atlantic, Iowa where AOPA had a booth and fellow pilot Rod Tichnor and I taught a safety seminar titled “Operations At Non-Towered Airports.”
During the time at Oshkosh, AOPA launched a new program called AV8RS, offering free AOPA memberships to teens ages 13 to 18. Recruiting, engaging and developing the next generation of pilots (among others) is the future of general aviation. For more information about this program, visit www.aopa.org/av8rs.
As part of AOPA’s efforts to reach out more to its members and aviation enthusiasts in the regions, we have set up Twitter accounts to help share news and information about local aviation events and issues. Please follow me at http://twitter.com/AOPACentralSW.
On a personal note, I wanted to share that, on September 14, I celebrated my 10th year flying anniversary. Although my love for flying started at a much earlier age… when I was just a toddler… it wasn’t until 2002 that I was able to start flight training. Since then, flying and general aviation have been a huge part of my life, both personally and professionally. To read more about this or any of the events AOPA has participated in lately, visit the AOPA Views From the Regions (VFR) blog at http://blog.aopa.org/vfr/.
I hope to see you at the upcoming AOPA Summit in Palm Springs, California in a few days on October 11-13.