One often hears about far away airports being closed but when it hits home, the prospect of loss becomes very real. It can be subtle when surrounding property is developed or sold off, or it can be shocking when the airport is suddenly closed. Many times, there is a vague suggestion by elected officials of some economic development, perhaps industrial or retail or new housing. But that does not always materialize and just the same, the airport is still lost. This is happening all over our country and now to the Wetumpka Municipal Airport, Alabama.
What makes the Wetumpka Airport unique is its standing in the community. The citizens, very attached to their airport, are launching a campaign to show what it means to them. In this case, the airport neighbors and businesses have joined the pilots and aircraft owners in their support to keep their historic local airport where it is. These residents want to- keep in my backyard or "KIMBY" instead of the common term "NIMBY"- not in my backyard, as often said of new airports or industrial developments.
This vibrant, thriving airport with almost 40,000 operations last year supports several businesses, 30 employees, over 90-based aircraft and a hub for flight training, has been in operation since 1946. It is an economic generator. A model local General Aviation airport includes a grass strip, ideal for student pilots. An active Civil Air Patrol Squadron and EAA Chapter benefits youth aviation education and a critical emergency airlift operation is centrally located there.
Click to View: A Local Airport Matters
In this 13:31 minute documentary, see the rich history and watch as local residents, business, pilots, aircraft owners and elected officials talk about the importance and relevance of the Wetumpka Airport- in their own words. You may view this video at: www.AlabamaAviator.com/A Local Airport Matters
In the documentary A Local Airport Matters, twenty-one of the local residents, business owners, pilots, and elected officials talk about what the airport means to them and why it is important. From the early beginning in 1942 as a WW II Gunter Army Air Corp, Elmore Auxiliary Training Field #2, the Wetumpka Airport has a prominent role in history including a now fourth generation pilot. It is home to an unprecedented seven total FAA Awarded Master Pilots, an Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee and FAA Awarded National Flight Instructor of the Year. Not only is the airport and community unique, so is the based talent and active mentors.
Even though the FAA and laws might seem to protect the airport from closing, once the momentum begins, it is very difficult to stop. Time is running out for Wetumpka airport, additional help is urgent and encouraged. The people's voice may cause a second closer look at the value of this existing airport and the needs it successfully fulfills.
Please support and contact our US Congressmen, Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, let them know why this airport is important to you. Locally, you can contact Alabama Representative and Executive Director of the Elmore County Economic Development Authority, Barry Mask- District 31 and Wetumpka Mayor, Jerry Willis and let them know what the airport means to you and why it should be protected, not destroyed. Both pilot's and non-pilot's voices can make a difference when involved and determined to end this process. A local airport does matter and once gone- it is gone forever. -B Meyer, FMI: Elmore County Aviation Alliance Inc