I am honored to have worked with members of MAA, MAMA and AOPA to address a serious safety issue affecting 16 of our public airparks in the State of Maryland. The Forrest Conservation Act was created to save our precious wooded areas around the State and promote environmental stewardship. The Act wisely contained an exemption for the 20 airports receiving funding from the FAA. This exemption allows these airports to prune or remove hazardous trees growing in the runway flight path. Unfortunately, the remaining 16 small public-use airports in the State that do not receive FAA funding were not included in this exemption. During this past session in Annapolis, I was successful in drafting legislation that passed into law House Bill 874- Air Navigation Protection from Hazards act of 2017. The law rectifies the discrepancy by including all 36 public-use landing facilities in Maryland in the FCA exemption. I am confident this new law will allow all of our airports to maintain safe facilities and minimize the delay in addressing hazardous trees. I could not have been successful without the strong oral testimony from the aviation industry. Jaime Giandomenico, Jared Esselman, and Mike Henry spend a day driving to Annapolis and waiting to testify before the committee. Their willingness to invest the time in supporting in the bill was instrumental. Other members if the aviation industry provided written support of the bill. I would also commend the environmental advocacy groups for recognizing the necessity for this law and supporting its passage. I am proud to serve the aviation community in their efforts to make our airports safe across Maryland.
Salisbury, Md.—No one can remember the last time this rural airport hosted a major community event. The probable answer is “Never.” But that all changed on Saturday, May 20th, when Salisbury Regional Airport in Salisbury, Md., shook off its shyness and said, “Come on over!” to families on the eastern shore of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.
And indeed they came. Bucking a blustery wind and unusually cool temperatures, more than a thousand guests arrived to inspect military and civilian aircraft, tour the control tower, drool over a long line of classic cars, and enjoy a free pancake breakfast. There were other activities, too, including helicopter rides and a well-attended “Rusty Pilots” seminar presented by the AOPA.
“Airports need the support of their communities, and this was our way of letting people know that we are here to serve them—that we are growing and improving in all sorts of ways,” said Dawn Veatch, the airport’s new manager, who has been at the controls for less than four months. Coming soon to the airport, she informed attendees, were new general-aviation hangars, remodeled spaces in the airline terminal, new food services, and a fleet of jet airliners which will
replace the venerable De Havilland Dash 8 turboprops that have served the airport for decades. The older planes, she noted, are retiring to make way for Piedmont Airlines’ newly acquired Embraer ERJ 145 aircraft. Piedmont is headquartered at Salisbury Regional and was the lead sponsor among some 40 organizations that funded and supported the Wings & Wheels event.
Mrs. Veatch, who holds airline-transport and flight-instructor pilot certificates, added that post-9/11 security measures have discouraged friendly public interaction with smaller airports, contributing in some measure to the nation’s current pilot shortage. Future pilots, she believes, often begin their romance with aviation at a tender age—and often at events just like Salisbury’s, where young children have their first opportunity to talk to pilots and closely inspect all kinds of aircraft. “I think I saw many future pilots at our event,” said Mrs. Veatch, smiling. “Some of them were elementary-school age, and some may have been in strollers.”
The Frederick Municipal Airport recently released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for new hangar development. The hangar complex will be situated in the infield adjacent to existing facilities. Currently, all 125 hangars at Frederick are under lease. Airport Manager Rick Johnson calls this a “great opportunity for FDK.” “Working with a private developer on a new hangar complex ensures FDK keeps pace with the high demand we see from pilots with smaller aircraft,” he said. Interested in submitting a proposal? See here for more information: https://www.cityoffrederick.com/Bids.aspx.
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