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Dear Editor:

Jóvenes Águilas are waiting …

I have good news, and I have bad news about the existing Aeródromo SMA …

The good news is that, if you lived a thousand years, you would never see large passenger jets departing the existing Aeródromo San Miguel de Allende. And what about landing? We have a saying in aviation: “You can land any airplane, anywhere … once.” (That’s a joke.)

The other good news is that Mexico is fortunate to have a Civil Aviation Authority (Dirección General Aeronáutica Civil, DGAC) that ensures strict compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (OACI in Mexico) airport design criteria. Those design specifications and aircraft operating requirements would indicate that the existing airport, even in its “expanded” 1800 meter runway configuration, would have only 10 percent of the land area, 10 percent of the required width, and only 60 percent of the needed runway to support operations envisioned by our local Administration.

Lastly, persons and organizations that actually care about the quality of life in San Miguel have realized the environmental impacts of an expanded airport and have united to fight those plans. They’ll fight expansion plans at every level of government and from several directions (SEMARNAT, UNESCO, etc).

So relax! It ain’t gonna happen.

Amigos de la Aviación de San Miguel, AC worked to improve, maintain, and promote the Aeródromo SMA as a small, local airport. Under a 20-year Comodato granted by the Rudy Maycotte administration in 2009, we have worked to fulfill our obligations, including the successful effort to receive a Permiso from the DGAC to operate the Aeródromo SMA. We were able to do that because we were passionate about aviation, exited to share with our children, and we did not need to personally profit from our efforts.

Aeródromo SMA was available for private flights, limited commercial air taxis, and was a venue for our children’s aviation education program, “Jóvenes Águilas.” We were also committed to establishing and maintaining a positive image for aviation in general and the Aeródromo SMA in particular. Part of the means we accomplished included enforcing strict regulations aimed at preventing direct overflights of Centro SMA.

Since (how do we say this politely?) being “maneuvered away from our Comodato” under the Trejo administration, the airport has now been closed for 4½ years. Our Jóvenes Águilas program has struggled to provide services to San Miguel’s children using the airport in Celaya, while potentially thousands of tourists and property owners have been denied passage through our small, local airport.

We were told by the SMA Administration in early April that “(they) can re-open the airport tomorrow if (they) wanted.” Our response? “Please do that, don’t spend a lot of money on it, and let’s work together to find a new site to build a Regional Airport that can actually fulfill your vision.”

Somewhere else.

 

Rusty Henson

Rusty Henson, Treasurer and co-founder of Amigos de la Aviacion de San Miguel, AC, is a former US Federal Aviation Administration engineer and airport consultant who holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate, is an active flight instructor, and is a Registered Professional Engineer. He has introduced hundreds of children to aviation through the “Young Eagles” program in the U.S., in addition to the Amigo’s “Jóvenes Águilas de Mexico, the-first-of-its-kind program in Mexico that was founded and conducted at Aeródromo SMA. It was closed in early 2013.

 

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