By Yasmina Platt
AOPA’s Central Southwest Regional Manager
It was great seeing some of you at the AOPA Aviation Summit in Fort Worth in early October. Thank you for making it a great event! While it is our last AOPA Summit — for now, at least — I am excited that AOPA is going to hold six “Regional Fly-ins” around the U.S. in 2014 in addition to interacting more at other grassroots events. It means I will get to see more of you, more often.
The goal of an AOPA Regional Fly-In is to create a positive, grassroots relational experience for our members and the local aviation community, to promote the value of general aviation and to draw positive attention to the local airport and its value to the local community. The events will be free to all attendees and the public. They will be held on Saturdays and we hope most of you will fly in and bring friends and family along. Exact locations and dates are expected to be announced in January. Watch for our announcement in January, which will also appear in your February issue of AOPA Pilot Magazine to learn the details of the regional events.
While all seven of us Regional Managers have been very involved since the program started in 2012, this new direction is going to give us an even better opportunity to help fulfill President Baker’s vision. To learn more about the Regional Manager program, read Southern Regional Manager Bob Minter’s blog here: blog.aopa.org/advocacy/meet-the-aopa-regional-managers/.
While meeting our members is one of our key objectives, advocacy is still at the heart of what AOPA does. Therefore, in late October, AOPA voiced its opposition to a City of Galveston proposal to hold a Grand-Prix-style race on part of Scholes International Airport. The race could compromise flight safety and it would not be a good or proper use of airport facilities because it would negatively affect normal general aviation operations for several weeks prior to the race and about a week after the event. Initial race plans included closing Runway 18/36, a large portion of the ramp and parallel taxiway, as well as using an old runway/taxiway on the north end of the airport as part of the course. Grandstands, visitor areas, and racecar staging areas would be located in front of the hangar area and the Lone Star Flight Museum, which would restrict access to those areas of the airport.
Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 5 ballot that will have significant implications for aviation manufacturers, repair stations and other businesses that maintain an aircraft parts or equipment inventory. After getting approval from the Texas Legislature and Governor Perry, Proposition 3 required voter approval to take effect. Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, this amendment will extend the length of time aircraft parts and machinery can be stored in Texas from 175 days to two years without being subjected to an ad valorem (according to value) tax.
You can read more about these and other developments in our region and specifically in Texas by visiting www.aopa.org/Advocacy/Airports-and-State-Advocacy.aspx or following me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/AOPACentralSW or @AOPACentralSW).