Santa Monica Airport (SMO), is a neat little airport in the LA Basin: a stone’s throw away from the city, and a perfect getaway for GA travel. With two restaurants on the field: Typhoon and Spit Fire Grill, it is an excellent $500 Vegeburger flyin. That sunny day, several years ago, the SLO99s had flown into SMO for some lunch and hanger flying with friends at Typhoon restaurant. The weather was perfect: sunny and smooth. The trip south easy, once we cleared the low fog and clouds at our origin airport. A piece of cake, with our newly acquired instrument ratings. We met up with friends for some lunch and hanger flying. Believe it or not, this is very important to the community. Not only do we GA pilots meet to hanger fly and eat. Many a time it is a venue to help us train and build our strength. Many GA pilots learn to fly to GA airports with restaurants to strengthen their skills. Many GA pilots hone on their navigational capabilities by flying to nearby airports. Once confident, many GA pilots volunteer for such events as Pilots and Paws, Angel Flight, Flying Samaritans and more.
Since, moving east, I have come to realize how vital small GA airports with restaurants are to the community. California was incredible on this count. General Aviation Airports are vital conduits for transportation and the community. They serve the community in many different ways: fire fighting, rescue operations, medical emergencies, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and more. Even more so, local organizations such as AOPA, EAA and local 99s and other pilot’s organizations organize such events as Young Eagles, Scholarships, Mentoring, Aviation, Airshows, Flyins, and Aviation Awareness events among the community.
Santa Monica airport sits smack in the LA Basin, a mere 9.9nm from LAX. The airspace is congested with many regional and GA airports. For years, Santa Monica has been on the cross-hair. Just as many other GA airports have been from time to time. During my time in California, I have helped support airport activities to prevent closure. Oxnard airport for a few years ran the Save Oxnard Airport flyin to promote more airport operations and to prevent closure. Then, there was a time, when Oceano Airport was on the cross-hair and continues to do so. Only strong GA activity by dedicated pilots has prevented this beautiful slice in the paradise from being converted to some developer monstrosity.
In August 2005, SMO airport implemented landing fees. This landing fee saw an increase in 2013, and a sharp drop in piston aircraft activity. The surest way to kill GA, is to impose an increase landing fees. SMO is on the cross hairs again, this election season. People forget that much more than recreational flying happens at small GA airports. GA pilots support many community events. GA pilots volunteer cheerfully than most to many activities: Pilots n Paws, Angel Flight, CAP, Flying Samaritans and more. GA airports are vital for reasons unrecognized: many GA pilots I know volunteer. If we shut down these GA airports, we are losing more than we realize.
So, if you live in SoCal, think before you vote this year. You might be losing your next transport for yourself, your pet or more.
Save Santa Monica Airport.