These NBAA checklists can help you effectively advocate on behalf of issues involving your regional business aviation group, your company flight department or the general aviation airports you use – whether those issues are concerned with safety, noise or legislative actions that could negatively impact our industry.

Hold an Airport Open House

Start planning at least a year before the event is to take place. The steps are listed in order, but make sure all steps except the actual event are completed at least five months prior to event date.

Preflight: Do the Research

  • Pull together a committee; decide on the type of event, date/time
    • Hint: Include representatives from every constituency on the airport
    • Hint: If you are planning outdoor activities, have a Plan B in case of inclement weather
  • Gain the approval and participation of the airport sponsor (city, county, other owner)
  • Check insurance requirements – yours and the airport’s
    • Hint: The airport sponsor’s insurance person can be a big help

Engine Start: Begin Event Planning

  • Reach out for civic group participation
  • Begin fundraising events
  • Involve local airport tenants, businesses
  • Design activities that will appeal to adults, children and the entire family
    • Hint: Air shows can be a big draw, but can be complicated to plan and execute
  • Plan a budget, work on fundraising events and identify co-sponsors
    • Hint: Spread the work among other flight departments, pilot associations and the airport sponsor
  • Plan a diverse array of static aircraft for broad appeal

Taxi: Assign Tasks

  • Assign specific tasks to committee members; designate a media liaison
    • Hint: Keep a timeline for assigned tasks to ensure plans remain on track
  • Assemble PR package for promotion
    • Hint: Beautiful PR packages are nice, but make sure they get effectively distributed
  • Coordinate with the FAA Tower (if needed), airport management, airport businesses
  • Make arrangements for security (TSA, local police), fire protection, concessionaires
  • Develop an emergency/accident plan
    • Hint: Get advice from local public safety officials, including fire and police departments

Takeoff Run: Fine-Tune the Details

  • Designate where on the airport events will be held
  • Make arrangements with vendors, exhibitors
  • Arrange for communications (radios, cell phones, etc)
  • Contact local media people well in advance, design and implement a phased publicity plan
  • Sign and train volunteers; contract for port-a-potties, food and water; designate and set up rest areas
  • Develop for visitors information take-homes that emphasize the value of the airport to the community

Wheels Up: Promote It and Host It

  • Promote heavily using press releases, signs, posters in public places, free community listings (both online/offline)
    • Hint: Don’t be shy; if there’s a local PR professional, enlist his/her help
    • Hint: Build relationships with local reporters, broadcasters
  • Send special invitations to people/groups who have been critical of airport
  • Conduct planning meetings with all managers, vendors, volunteers
  • Develop a volunteer schedule of assignments and reconfirm all other arrangements
  • Hold a final briefing one week before the event
  • On the event day itself, hope for good weather and enjoy!

Other Ways to Build Community Knowledge, Rapport

Conduct School Tours

  • Plan tours as age-appropriate; emphasize the airport’s many contributions to the community
  • Develop for children information take-homes on the airport’s contributions
  • Coordinate with school administration on students’ ground transportation to the airport
  • Consult with airport manager about providing security and safety precautions for tour groups
  • Find, provide children with small, aviation-related take-home items to help them remember their tour
    • Hint: Future pilot pins, model airplanes as door prizes
  • Issue invitations to teachers
    • Hint: If any teachers are pilots, recruit them to help!
  • Keep groups small if possible

Hold “City Officials Day”

  • Plan day for tours, emphasize the airport’s contributions to the community’s economy, quality of life
  • Show off plans for airport improvements
  • Have informational take-homes for officials
  • Consider offering rides in aircraft
    • Hint: Consider insurance requirements
  • Arrange media coverage (government officials will love that!)

Provide Media Incentives for Positive Airport Publicity

  • Build ongoing relationships with local reporters, broadcasters
  • Always alert media to positive events concerning the local airport (taxiway rehabilitation projects, installation of AWOS, airport operator participation in humanitarian efforts such as Haiti relief)
  • Offer interested local reporters discounted flight training, or at least an intro flight
  • Extend standing offer of flight services for local media to take aerial photos to support reporting on regional events.
  • Publicize special projects or selected humanitarian/charitable flights
  • Have a “media day” to showcase airport

Engage Public Speakers About Airport Contributions

  • Identify good speakers on airport and offer them to speak before local civic organizations
    • Hint: Consider older, retired pilots, other aviation people; they can be among the most enthusiastic speakers
  • Invite the local Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis and other groups to have meetings at airport