Sharing the spirit
AIRPORTS HAVE PERSONALITIES, AND IT IS FUN to share them, and
share them we should. They are, after all, where our aviation
passions reside. I have four airports in mind to share with you today,
three good and one not so good.
Let’s start with the not so good. (It shall remain nameless.) I
landed there and had a near out-of-body experience. Yeah! The
place was one of the least friendly airports I’ve ever been to! Why?
I don’t know. It just was. That sort of thing doesn’t happen very
often, but when it does, it shakes me to my core. As I got gas, there
were people milling about, an RV- 7 and a Cherokee parked nearby,
a light-sport aircraft refueling, but nobody made eye contact,
nobody spoke. It was strange. I can always find someone to talk to at
airports; that’s part of the magic—you can meet a stranger and be on
common (aviation) ground in five minutes. But not this day at this
airport! It occurred to me that if a prospective pilot came to visit, he
or she would not be very impressed and would probably just leave.
If we want to grow general aviation, I’m thinkin’ we’d better learn to
be a little friendlier.
Now, another trip, another airport: A30, Scott Valley, California.
I swooped in there and made a thoroughly mediocre landing,
but A30 turned out to be the perfect antidote for the previously
unfriendly airport. As soon as I rolled the canopy back, three guys
came up and started talking to me, asking
about the airplane and such. Granted, I
grew up in Scott Valley—it’s my ancestral
home—but I hadn’t been back in a long time,
and the guys didn’t know me. After talking
awhile, they knew of my dad.