Trouble in paradise

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Dillingham Airfield (HDH) sits barely 15 feet above mean sea level on the North Shore of the island of Oahu in Hawaii. It ranks as the number one drop zone for skydivers worldwide. It also enjoys a beautifully symbiotic relationship between the U.S. Army and civilian aviation.

It is also under threat.

Access to Dillingham Airfield, which is officially owned by the U.S. Army, comes via a 25-year lease with a current expiration of 2025. Yet the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) seeks to terminate that lease in 2021.

The vast majority of daily operations at Dillingham come from skydiving, gliding, and other general aviation operations. The Army’s use of the airfield is for “night operations for night vision device training” and Civil Air Patrol training.

How cool is that? Civilians use it during daylight hours, the military during the night time. Efficient use of a capital asset. Perfect. 

Losing Dillingham Airfield in the northwest corner of Oahu would make big hole in the aviation infrastructure on the island.

Because the civil and military operations at Dillingham co-exist so well, the Army would very much like to continue to allow civilian access to the field, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association‘s Melissa McCaffrey, who handles government affairs for the association’s Western Pacific Region.

Why? What’s the problem?

All public airports in Hawaii are managed and operated by HDOT’s Aviation Division. In the case of Dillingham, that operation is via a long-term lease with the U.S. Army. And the Army, according to McCaffrey, is a willing lessor. 

Is the neighboring community clamoring for closure? Nope. Unlike most airport closure challenges, the community of Mokuleia, just two miles away, knows the importance of the airport. In fact, the local Save Dillingham Airfield group cites the following as some

This post was originally published by General Aviation News on . Please visit the original post to read the complete article.

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