In February, USPA emailed its 308 members who live in Hawaii to ask for their assistance in the fight to save Hawaii’s Dillingham Airfield for skydiving. Earlier in the month, the Hawaii Department of Transportation abruptly decided to end its lease of the airfield from the U.S. Army, which would shutter all skydiving and other general aviation businesses located there. The two drop zones located on the airport—Skydive Hawaii and the Pacific Skydiving Center—employ more than 100 people, and because there is no other general-aviation airport on the island that can accommodate skydiving, all those jobs would vanish, drastically altering the lives of those employees and their families.
In response to the lease termination, USPA wrote to Hawaii Governor David Ige and the director of HDOT and implored them to postpone the June 30 lease-termination date and delay the devastating consequences on local individuals and businesses. USPA urged the state to perform an airport economic-impact study and explore options to keep the airport open to civil operations and businesses. USPA also joined the Soaring Society of America, representatives of Hawaii’s general aviation community and several supportive Hawaii state legislators for a conference call hosted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association to discuss strategy. The organizations agreed that the formation of a local airport authority that can take over the lease with the Army—which is said to be willing to lease the airport to another public entity—would be the best solution.
As USPA ramps up its efforts, members who live in Hawaii are asked to write to Governor Ige personally about the impact of losing Dillingham to skydiving. USPA is also arranging for those who work at Dillingham to speak personally about the loss of their jobs for a social media blitz.
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