March 26, 2014
With small general aviation (GA) airports around the country often facing a wide scope of challenges, many airport managers have broadened their efforts to engage local officials in discussions about the social, economic and humanitarian contributions from GA and business aviation that those airfields bring to their surrounding communities.
A variety of resources and publications, several offered by NBAA as part of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, are available to assist them in this task.
Clayton Stambaugh, manager of Pekin Municipal Airport – John C. Kreigsman Field (C15) in Pekin, IL, recently ordered multiple copies of NBAA’s Airport Advocate Guide, Airports Handbook and Business Aviation Fact Book for airport users and visitors to review and take with them. He also distributed copies of these materials to local leaders and other visitors to share the value of business aviation and GA airports.
“These publications are very useful for airport managers looking to inform their surrounding community and/or region about the significant benefits aviation provides,” Stambaugh said. “I’ve noticed already that a few of our based-pilots and itinerant traffic have taken these materials with them. I also recently handed out copies to members of our city council and local chamber of commerce, which helped spur discussions about the airport’s contributions to the area.”
Stambaugh, who also serves as a director of the Illinois Public Airport Association, said those discussions also prompted an invitation for him to speak about the airport and local aviation industry at an upcoming Rotary Club luncheon.
Located approximately 175 miles southwest of Chicago, Pekin is home to about 31,000 residents who must drive a half hour or more to nearby Peoria to board a commercial aircraft. The city’s GA airfield, however, offers access to the community for aviation traffic flying to the city in support of the local agricultural industry.
The airport averages between 25 to 30 operations per day, with a significant increase in summer months due to aerial applications on seed corn and specialty crop operations throughout the area. The airport also sees a consistent mix of business aviation traffic and recreational aircraft, according to Stambaugh.
Stambaugh stressed the importance for stakeholders to look beyond their local airport to broader issues affecting the nation’s aviation community.
“I am fortunate that the city has been generally supportive of this airport,” he said. “As many battles as there are at the local level, however, I feel it’s very important to stay on top of things at the state and national levels as well. Resources provided by NBAA help maintain awareness of these issues around the country.”