On Valentine’s Day I was happy to read that a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit brought about by the city of Santa Monica to take control of the airport with a goal of closing it and developing the land for other purposes. While this is happy news, it is also a temporary reprieve from the vocal minority of residents who oppose Santa Monica airport and who must be completely uneducated about its value in our national network of General Aviation airports. As a psychotherapist for 25 years, I believe I have come to understand the psychology of life. In my experience there are three kinds of people:
• Those who watch their life happen;
• Those who make their life happen;
• And those who wonder, “How does life happen?”
When it comes to General Aviation and the promotion of G.A. airports, we need to be firmly in the “make it happen” camp. Hopefully this blog will help inspire you to bring the fun back to your airport and illuminate to your community that airports indeed make good neighbors.
Positive aspect of promotion, inspiring the love of flight
Let’s bring the fun back to the airport. What are your earliest memories of aviation? Perhaps your Dad took you to the airport so you could watch airplanes take off and land. Remember your first flight? How can you make those memories for someone else? Aviation is magical, yet we know the science behind the magic. Inspiring the love of flight means going back to the magic and sharing it with others. You don’t have to focus solely on children. At our Mooney Ambassador events we meet adults who have always wanted to fly, and with encouragement, might take the first step. Your enthusiasm is contagious.
Community outreach a.k.a. fun ways we can get folks out to your airport:
• Airport Day: Does your local airport have a Celebration Day, Airport Day or Open House? Have you thought about helping to volunteer versus just attending? If there is no event, why not look into having a “Good Neighbor Day” or Airport Day? Perhaps your airport used to have an event, but not now? Have a small event to start with. AOPA publishes a wonderful guide to hosting an open house. In the photo below, we brought an inflatable kiddie swimming to a hot summer event, and our airplane display was the most popular by far!
• Toys for Tots: A lovely way to bring the community to your airport is to have a Toys for Tots event. Contact your local T4T/Marine Corps representative and talk with them about the idea. Folks can drive in, walk in or fly in bringing new unwrapped toys. Due to increased need for programs like Toys for Tots, toys and dollars donated helps local kids directly.
• Fly-In Movie Night
Fly-in, walk-in, drive in, it doesn’t matter! If you have a hangar, campground or open area you can host a Fly-In movie night, you can make a theater! I suggest the event be free of charge. Offer hot dogs, beverages, popcorn, and s’mores on a donation basis. Show a family-friendly movie that has an aviation theme.
Check back next month for the final installment. Until then, be on the look out for an excuse to have an event at your airport. Remember everyone loves a good party.
The opinions expressed by the bloggers do not reflect AOPA’s position on any topic.