As we look forward to the coming fly-in season, we also need to look back and review the 2011 AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in. There were a lot of great things about that fly-in and you will see that reported throughout the latest issue of the Antique Airfield Runway.
However, with success has come new problems as well as unintended consequences, and those in turn lead to changes. To be frank, these changes will not be popular with the attendees but they are necessary for continued safety, and thus the continuation of the AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in itself.
There are three main changes that have been identified by our staff, directors and volunteers that will be implemented and directly noticed by our members and guests attending the 2012 AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in Aug 29th - Sep 3rd.
First, an aircraft operational issue. That would be smoke. While it’s fun to pour the smoke on as you push the throttle forward and begin accelerating on takeoff, that smoke trail obscures the runway for other pilots that may be on final. It also restricts our flagmen’s ability to see traffic in the air/pattern. Therefore activating your smoke system on takeoff will no longer be an acceptable practice at Antique Airfield during the AAA/APM Fly-in.
Second, dogs/pets. We’re dog lovers here at Antique Airfield, as can be attested by our four airport dogs. However when we leave home to attend a fly-in, visit an AAA chapter or attend any other aviation functions, our dogs stay home at Antique Airfield. We are going to request that our members/guests attending the AAA/APM Fly-in leave their pets home too. This is due to an increase in the number of members bringing their dogs, the conflicts that have arisen between those dogs, their owners and other Fly-in attendees, as well as the safety issues that dogs on the flightline raise. Guide or assist dogs are of course exempt from this restriction.
Third, golf carts. As our membership has aged, we have seen an explosion in the use and rental of golf carts during the Fly-in. During the 2011 AAA/APM Fly-in we had an accident involving a golf cart, driven by one of our volunteers, and a fly-in attendee. While no serious injuries occurred, the lady struck by the errant golf cart did end up staying overnight in a local hospital. At press time we still do not know if there will be legal action taken against the AAA, the APM or the owners of Antique Airfield in connection with this accident, but we will be making major changes in the operations and allowance of golf carts on Antique Airfield during the AAA/APM Fly-in. Basically you will have to show need to have a golf cart and most likely bring it with you as it’s very doubtful we will have a rental source for golf carts in 2012.
Related to that will be further flight line restrictions as to where spectators can sit and gather while viewing aircraft operations, as that was a major contributing factor to the accident.
While the above changes may irritate or even incense some of our members, they are absolutely necessary for the continued safe operations of the AAA/APM Fly-in. Please remember that the AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in is held on private property (Antique Airfield) that receives no local, state, or federal funds. Ergo, the responsibility and liability for the safety of attendees at the AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in falls on the owners of Antique Airfield (the Taylor family and the Air Power Museum). If the AAA/APM Fly-in is to safely continue, the above changes are necessary to provide a safe and enjoyable event for ALL attendees.
If you have questions/comments about these changes, please call me at 641-938-2773.