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Favorite Airports

By Eric McCarthy

I’ve still got a lot of this country to explore, but now that I’ve had a chance to fly on both coasts I thought I’d talk about a couple of my favorite airports – so far! In some cases it’s location, location, location – in other words, just where the airport places you, what’s nearby. In others, it’s the airport itself – the atmosphere, if you will. This may turn into an ongoing thing, and I’d love to hear suggestions from you – I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to visit your favorites, but it’s nice to have a list of recommendations.

Since I spent most of my flying life there, let’s start on the East coast.

To learn more about the mission of the Katama Airfield Trust and to support the preservation of the airfield, please go to the Katama Airflield Trust website: (Photo courtesy Katama Airfiled Trust)First up: Katama Airpark (1B2)– I know I’ve mentioned this one before but it’s really one of my all-time favorites! Katama Airpark on Martha’s Vineyard scores on both points – a great little airport and a fantastic destination. Just a short hop from almost anywhere in southern New England, the airport is located in the southeast corner of the island, just south of the picturesque town of Edgartown. Its offers three well-maintained, grass runways, although in all the times I flew there I only landed on other-than runway 21 once. Runway 21/3 is a 3,700-feet turf runway always maintained in excellent condition. The approach to 21 brings you right over Edgartown Harbor and all the beautiful homes and yachts that line Edgartown Harbor and Katama Bay. There’s usually some interesting planes parked there, and they’ve got a nice restaurant at the airport that often requires a wait to get in, but the real attraction is what’s nearby: the beach! Upon landing and paying your tiedown fee, you can taxi to a parking area literally across the street from one of the best beaches on the island. And when you’ve had enough surf, sand and sun, walk back to the road and a trolley will take you to Edgartown for shopping and restaurants. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to get to Katama, but it’ll be high on my list when I get back to the Boston area. I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer day!

While we’re ‘at sea’ on the East coast, there are a couple of other island airports that make my list: Nantucket Memorial (KACK) and Block Island State (KBID)

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Government Shutdown vs.Aviation

By Ed Downs

“How about making the February editorial about the current government shutdown’s effect on aviation,” said my boss at In Flight USA’sSupreme Galactic Headquarters.  “Sure,” said I, wondering how I would be able to write about the ridiculous and obscene behavior of politicians who bounce between foolishness and outright lies without simply exposing readers to a politically driven rant. Okay, how about I stress the subject of aviation and see if there are facts or statistics that might rate discussion. Indeed, a challenge, with the following words certainly falling into the category of an “OP/ED,” but perhaps offering some thoughts that might be worth considering. Of course, just as I began writing this opinion, a three-week hiatus was announced. We can only hope that the foolishness we have all been witnessing will be resolved, but this is still a subject worth thinking about, perhaps for future events.

First, let me explain that this writer is not a stranger to the eccentricities of working “inside the beltway” of Washington D.C. While certainly not an expert, early unfavorable encounters with the FAA (1958-timeframe) caused this writer to enter the world of aviation law early in my career, involving congressional intervention, and gaining the support of highly influential political figures and aviation “alphabet” groups. This exposure later led to involvement in large aircraft certification, creation of advanced FAA-approved training programs, and management of a major airline’s legal involvement with local and national government agencies. Perhaps most applicable to the recent government shutdown was the four years I spent in Washington DC serving with a major airline lobby organization on behalf of my airline employer. This involved a hands-on interface with both houses of Congress, the Executive branch of government, and aviation special interest groups. The most memorable adventure during this timeframe was my personal involvement in dealing with the ATC strike of Aug. 1981.  Allow me to share some observations that have come from this experience, most of which are certainly applicable to current events.

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