Young Pilots USA, the premier U.S. members' association by and for young aviators, strongly condemns attempts by the Connecticut General Assembly, the state's legislature, to close Hartford-Brainard Airport (HFD). With three chapters in Connecticut and operating nationally from its headquarters in Middlebury, CT, Young Pilots USA is very concerned by this ongoing effort.
Connecticut has a vibrant aviation community for a state of its size, from large business aviation companies and international airline service to light general aviation flyers. However, as the fourth most densely populated state in the nation, this community is often under threat from real estate development and other suburban concerns. As the representative of the next generation of aviation, who may incorporate it into their lives as a career, a pastime, a business tool, or more, Young Pilots USA firmly believes that continued attempts at airport closures around the country are one of the most dangerous threats to our Membership and our mission in the present-day.
Although we condemn all airport closures, the proposed closure of Hartford-Brainard Airport is egregious. The proposal, which would, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, one of the country's foremost groups for general aviation advocacy in government, "force the state to violate federal grant obligations," also blatantly ignores a 2016 study commissioned by the legislature that said not only was the airport the best use of the state-owned property, but that the state would reap further economic returns if it continued to invest in airport infrastructure. Furthermore, as a business and general aviation alternative to the larger Bradley Airport, Brainard increases safety and economic development in the area. As a hub within the state for flight and maintenance training, in the ongoing pilot shortage, it would be an incredible mistake to close Hartford-Brainard Airport, and Young Pilots USA offers its hope and support to those backing the airport and urging their state representatives in the Connecticut General Assembly to strike lines 32 through 36 from paragraph D of section 1 of S.B. 463.
Young Pilots USA is America's nationwide members' association for young people in aviation, run completely by young pilots themselves. With 24 chapters in 16 states, YPUSA seeks to create an encouraging and supportive community for the next generation of aviators through our annual fly-in, network of chapters, and efforts to sponsor Members taking youth aviation to new heights.