The Fairbanks International Airport General Aviation Association (GAA) was established on March 14, 2005, at a grass-roots meeting organized by AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer Ron Dearborn. Twenty-eight pilots and active users of the East Ramp facilities at Fairbanks International Airport met and adopted the formal documents that created the Fairbanks GAA. The association’s purpose is to provide a voice for pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation supporters at the airport, and to work with airport management, the FAA and other organizations.
The GAA typically holds semi-annual meetings to inform the local aviation community about issues at the airport and provide a forum for airport management, the Fairbanks FAA air traffic controllers and other entities to discuss current general aviation issues. It has also established working groups, often at the request of the airport, to explore safety issues on the airport and make recommendations. One of the first projects the GAA undertook was to work with the airport to develop a customized Airport Watch program to improve safety and security. Other activities have included making recommendations on East Ramp signage to reduce surface incursions, and suggesting changes to float pond operations and signage to improve safety. The association maintains an email list of over 500 airport stakeholders for sharing information and announcing meetings. The GAA also participates in outreach activities such as the solstice barbeque in partnership with the Alaska Airmen’s Association, and Fairbanks Aviation Day, an airport open house that takes place in the spring.
The association is governed by officers elected by the membership to serve two-year terms. Membership is open to pilots, aircraft owners, general aviation businesses, agencies, and supporters of aviation at Fairbanks International Airport.
REPRESENTS PILOTS ON LOCAL ISSUES
Snow Removal Policy Revised: A long standing concern of aircraft owners tied down on the East Ramp at Fairbanks International Airport has been snow removal. GAA worked with the airport to revise the snow removal policy, allowing more flexibility and a collaborative approach to snow removal.
Bush Practice Strip: Many pilots based at Fairbanks International use their planes to reach favorite fishing, hunting, or camping spots. To help prepare pilots for these challenging off-runway landings the GAA partners with the Airport, the local Ninety-Nines and the FAA to paint markings on the Ski Strip as a practice area for those conditions.
Runway Safety: The FIA GAA has worked closely with Airport Operations/Management and the FAA to target solutions that will actually improve runway safety and reduce deviations/incursions, rather than putting up arbitrary fencing and restricting of access to the East Ramp. Work continues on this issue to avoid future restrictions by FAA.
KEEPS THE COMMUNICATION OPEN
As topics of concern arise FIA GAA routinely invites to its membership meetings representatives from the Airport, whether its management, maintenance or operations. Federal agency representatives from Customs, Air Traffic Control, Flight Service also routinely participate. The informal discussion has always been useful to all sides for improving mutual understanding, whether it is operations on the ski strip or float pond, snow removal, fencing in the airport, or just the best terminology to use with the tower.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ALASKA AIRMEN AND AOPA
Issues at our airport are best addressed through local representation. That is what FIA GAA does. At times our concerns are also with statewide or national issues. We have successfully built a partnership with both the Alaska Airmen and the AOPA. In fact the AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer for Fairbanks is a founding member of FIA GAA. Whether it is the addition of helicopters training in nearby airspace or the access to the IFR routes east of us during Red Flag, we partner with others to address these concerns.
Join us and let your voice be heard.
- President Merle Jantz
- Vice President Chris Miller
- Treasurer Wally Smith
- Secretary Aldean Kilbourn
Contact us using the email form or by mail to:
C/O Wally Smith
PO Box 81068
Fairbanks, AK 99708