Find ways to make your home ‘drome unique and reap the dual benefits of increased activity & fun.
Santa Rosa-Route 66 Airport [KSXU], NM A Ride from Police Flying home from AirVenture last year on flight following with Albuquerque Center when the controller asked me if my destination was Santa Rosa-Route 66 airport [KSXU]. I said, “Affirmative KSXU.” He then said, “If you are in need of a courtesy car make sure to check the bulletin board in the FBO for instructions.”I thanked him for the information, although I thought it was a little odd for ATC to offer suggestions on ground transportation. Landing about 3:30 p.m. after a long flight, I was a little dismayed not to see a car outside the FBO.
Santa Rosa airport is about 4 miles out of town and the idea of walking in to town wasn’t so appealing. There were a few other planes on the ramp and a small concrete block FBO building. When I went inside and took a look at the bulletin board I was surprised to see a sign that said to call the Santa Rosa Police Department for a ride in to town. Even though I was a little nervous about it, I called the number on the sign and told the dispatcher that I was at the airport and needed a ride. “We will send a cruiser out for you in a moment.” she said.
Sure enough, in about five minutes up rolled a police cruiser and driven by a very nice young officer. He helped load up the bags and I got in the back of the car. A little caveat that I have never been in the back of a police car. The funniest part was when I tried to open the car door to get out when he stopped at the hotel.
Here are some more examples of bringing some fun to the airport, which in turn brings visitors and economic gain.
Pecos, Texas [KPEQ] Homemade Burritos for All The FBO managers of Pecos Texas offer their visitors homemade burritos, chips and salsa. This airport gets a fair share of military and business customers. Texas hospitality and the yummy food entices folks to stop, stay and buy fuel.
Beaumont, KS [07S] Taxi Plane to Town This $100 Hamburger stop in southern Kansas allows you to land and taxi in to town. The runway of prairie grasses about a quarter mile east of “town” such as it is north-south orientation, about 2,600 feet long, sloping downhill from north to south.
You land, taxi off the south end of the runway and turn west onto 118th street , taxi west, uphill, to a three-way stop at the intersection adjacent to the jerkwater tower, across the intersection and south to the aircraft-only parking…walk north across the street and you’re there….they have a monthly fly-in breakfast, a monthly ride-in breakfast (for the motorcycle crowd), and other events through warmer months.
Priest Lake Idaho [67S] Donuts and Coffee for Campers Located near breathtaking Cavanaugh Bay is Priest Lake airport which has a grass strip and camping. There is a courtesy golf cart to help unload the plane and transport gear to camp site. Each morning the caretaker brings fresh coffee and donuts out to campers .
Black Rock City Airport [88NV] Burning Man In 2009 Black Rock City Airport was recognized by the FAA as a private airport and designated 88NV. With all volunteer labor, once a year a portion of playa of the desert is transformed into an airport. Fly-In guests get to land on an airport that only exists one week per year.
Alton Bay on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire [B18] Only FAA Ice Runway in lower 48 Since the 1960s airplanes have flocked to the “ice airport”. If you are actually the PIC and land at the airport, you are eligible to purchase a commemorative hat. According to one pilot who landed there, they are strict about the one hat per pilot rule and keep a log.
We can all do a little something to make our airports attractive to guests. The fun-factor the airports I have listed above helps increase good-will and numbers of visitors. Check out the comment section on AirNav and you will see that pilots like to leave feedback and tips for other pilots. What can you do at your home airport? Or better yet, what has your airport done already? Please use the comments section below to add the unique service, attraction or treat that your airport offers. I think that pilots are inherently kids at heart. Let’s get the movement rolling here. Be unique, think outside the traffic pattern. If you build it, they will come.