Good morning Friends,
It has been my pleasure to be a founding member of Friends of Arcadia Airport and serve as its president since day one. Actually, my job was more like a CEO as it involved advertising, public relations, grant writing , contract negotiations, building permits, scheduling and more. We started out small with just 5 members in 2012. Today, we have an opt in email roster of almost 900. We vowed to do all we could to help this neglected airport get back on the map. We had a vision that X06 could become a viable thriving airport in spite of efforts by some to stifle us. Today, I know we have accomplished more than what we set out to do.
Gone are the times when you don’t hear or see planes in the pattern for days on end. Gone are the days when the fuel price is the highest in the State, in fact now it is usually about the lowest in the entire State of Florida. Gone are the days of an unfriendly FBO. Gone are the days of the grass not being mowed and the airport looking neglected. X06 now looks well maintained, clean and neat sporting recent pavement improvements and new runway and taxiway lighting. Most recently the grass strip has been updated and will soon be one of the best in the state. The airport is now bustling with activity, pilots flying in to fuel up and take the Friends courtesy van into town for a great breakfast, lunch or dinner.
I know I have said this before but it bears repeating. The Friends Fly-In/Camp-Out Center, Aviation City, just finished a record breaking season with 296 visitor nights and 746 visitor days! Aircraft flew in to camp out from 20 different States, 30 Florida Cities with 11 aircraft from Canada. All that in just 7 months. The new restroom and shower facility is attracting more families to fly-in & camp-out. Aviation City is doing exactly what we designed it to do which is attract out of town pilots to visit our airport and community. It is nationally recognized as a top notch airplane camping destination.
One of my last projects as President of Friends has been working with Adam Williams, AOPA’s Manager of Airport Policy. Adam contacted me some time ago about the possibility of the AOPA offering our “How We Did It” document on their website. We developed the document a few years ago after managing to get approval for establishing our fly-in/camp-out center on airport grounds. The document lists some of the obstacles we faced during the process and offers tips that allowed us to make the project a success. Our hope is that it will be used as a guide by other airports and airport groups in developing similar facilities. After all, flying in and tent camping on an airport should be considered a legitimate aviation activity. The document has undergone a face lift with the AOPA logo and branding and will soon be available thru the AOPA website to anyone by simply downloading the file. (Watch this space). Please click the attached thumbnail to see the full cover page. We think it is a great reference tool and want to thank the AOPA for helping us make it available to a wider audience.
As I said this was one of my last projects as President of Friends as I will be retiring again, for the last time I hope. There is one person who must get a special thank you and that is my wonderful wife Joyce. Without her full support I could not have been so involved over such a long period of time. She not only was a supporter but was a volunteer, even prior to Friends being formed, when I organized 3 Aviation Days at Arcadia Municipal back in 2010 – 11 & 12. She has been there at every event, helping out with every pancake breakfast, making dinners for groups of 50 – 100 who came to camp out, proof reading all my email blasts and offering suggestions on how to improve my hair brain ideas so that they actually worked. So thank you Joyce.
I have met so many great people during the last 7 years as president who have supported us with encouragement and donations that allowed us to accomplish great things. Your continued support will be appreciated by the new board. Thank you all. Sincerely, George Chase
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