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Through the fence operations (The looking through the fence kind)

Posted By:
Daniel Findling
Homebuilder or Craftsman
55
Posts
21
#1 Posted: 9/7/2010 20:16:18

I am a student pilot who first soloed in 1985.  Over the years, I have spent many hours hanging around local airports watching traffic.  When the big game is in town, my excitement was not in the game, but in watching a blimp or banner tow airplanes circle the local airport.

Now I am a father of three.  My youngest (age 3) has expressed an interest in airplanes by looking reflexively at every airplane that flys overhead.  So, like any good father I took her to the local airport to watch the airplanes take off and land.

However, the local airport now looks like a prison.  When I used to visit the airport, I could drive to the taxiway, park and watch traffic.  Now, there is a fence, a key code gate to the hangars and an FBO with a sign "Pilots Only".  Since, I used to be a member of a flying club at the airport I was able to convince the airport manager to let my daughter and I sit on the lawn to watch the traffic.  (Apparently against the rules)   Imagine how many other parents would be afraid to even ask if it is ok to look at the planes tke off and land?  Hoe many parents go to an airport only to turn around because of the intimidating fences?  I understand the need for security but. . .

I believe local airports should have a viewing area for gawkers, young and old and maybe even a "Welcome" sign.  It would do wonders for aviation enthusiasts and maybe even general aviation.  In an effort to support this notion.  I have also taken the step of talking to my local county commissioner (the airport is owned by the county) to help gain traction and offered to assist in a private funding option to creat an attractive viewing area for people like me.

I am hopeful that this post my inspire others to address similar issues in their hometown. 

As an aside, my 3 year old daughters interest in aviation has re-kindled my desire to finish my ticket.  I already have 85 hours most acquired a long time ago and my 8 and 6 year old kids now want to go to the airport.

Daniel

 

 



Ron Wanttaja
246
Posts
98
#2 Posted: 9/8/2010 07:02:48

My home drome in Auburn, WA (S50) has a park-n-ride lot right at the approach end of the runway.  There's a wide, grassy verge sloping downhill to the perimeter fence, and on weekends.  On weekends, you often see families sitting on blankets on the grass, or lying in the back of pickup trucks, watching the planes.  You can see it, plus a couple of cars sitting watching us, at the start of the video I posted at http://www.bowersflybaby.com/slip.mpg .

Several years ago, the local Lions club sponsored some picnic tables offset to slightly to the side.

Remember to wave at the kids as you go by....

Ron Wanttaja



Ron Wanttaja
Hal Bryan
827
Posts
501
#3 Posted: 9/9/2010 08:52:43

Ron -

I lived at 51WA as a kid, and, in high school, a bunch of us always ate at Rax Roast Beef just off the end of the runway at Auburn since it was a good airplane watching spot!

Great idea for a thread, Daniel!

- Hal

 



Online Community Manager - EAA
Bruce Liddel
3
Posts
2
#4 Posted: 9/10/2010 20:46:02 Modified: 9/10/2010 20:49:19

I'm hopeful too, Dan, but I have nagging doubts.  When the big game is in town here, nobody can fly anything anywhere except directly to and from the runway ends that are farthest away from the stadium.  The close ends are only 2.9 miles - just inside the kill zone.  According to TSA, only terrorists fly banners anymore.

 

 Whatever you do Dan, don't let your children take photographs, unless you want armed TSA goons to interrogate your kids while your kids are in handcuffs (A La the Kings recently in Santa Barbara).

 

 Follow this link to a story about the TSA labeling photography as highly suspicious behavior.

 

 

http://www.theagitator.com/2010/09/07/tsa-sows-fear-of-photography/

 

Bruce

 



Rex Phelps
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
3
Posts
0
#5 Posted: 9/11/2010 09:36:43

Dan,

My guess is that you are referring to Oakland/Troy Airport. A bit northeast of you is Ray Community Airport in New Haven, Mi (57D). They are a very friendly airport and are even having a huge picnic today. Everybody is welcome. EAA Chapter 13 is based there and does a lot of fun activities. Tomorrow is Young Eagles day. Look them up at www.eaachapter13.org.

Oakland Troy is not known as a friendly airport. Ray airport is only about 30 minutes from Royal Oak!

Rex Phelps/ EAA Chapter 13 president



Daniel Findling
Homebuilder or Craftsman
55
Posts
21
#6 Posted: 9/11/2010 09:59:32

Spot on and thanks for the info re: Young Eagles day. 

 

Daniel



Rex Phelps
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
3
Posts
0
#7 Posted: 9/11/2010 18:37:27

Daniel,

There are NO fences at Ray Airport. Come on by and see the difference from the airport you were talking about. There is a variety of airplane types ranging from restored classics, many homebuilts, factory planes and helicopters. On a typical nice day, you will find hangar doors open and friendly people all around who are willing to talk, show you around, involve your kids and yes, you can take pictures!

The EAA Chapter there currently has 137 members. Many of them come from further away than you, because it's worth it! The monthly meetings are the first Thursday of each month, but we are very active between meetings as well. Families are often a part of our activities and we are even teamed up with the local Radio Control flying club.

If you can make it out to the Young Eagle celebration tomorrow, look me up and we'll talk. If you can't make it tomorrow, give me a call soon and I'll meet you there. Bring your family and I think you'll see a big difference.

Enjoy,

Rex Phelps

 

 



Daniel Findling
Homebuilder or Craftsman
55
Posts
21
#8 Posted: 9/14/2010 08:36:51

Thanks for the tip.  My family made it out to the airport around 2:00 p.m. so young eagle flights were already booked.  We did enjoy sitting by the road overlooking the runway watching the planes fly overhead.  Great airport.  There are already so many access barriers in other airports (Oakland Troy, Pontiac etc.) that it was refreshing to see grass roots aviation thriving.  

Daniel

As an aside, I will try to make a meeting.