Our airport is an important fixture of our community. The Simsbury airport was built during World War II as a place to train Army Airborne troops. It was at our airport that Pioneer Parachutes, which manufactured parachutes in nearby Manchester, were tested for use by our troops during World War II and the Korean War. The legacy of our airport as a vital resource to the community lives on to this day.
Today, a growing business park exists around the airport. For both new and existing businesses across a range of different industries, including engineering, landscaping, financial services, lighting and electrical distributor, and a wrought iron manufacturer, the local airport and general aviation provides clear operational advantages and opens up boundless opportunities. The versatility of general aviation removes time-consuming barriers that would cost small businesses money and limit their performance by allowing businesses to get to multiple locations in one day, transport equipment and tools, and travel to far off plants in rural areas. There is no better means of direct, point-to-point, system of travel than general aviation and smaller airports.
General aviation plays an important role in supporting the economy in our own community. There are four businesses based at our airport alone, another six that use it for business purposes, and countless businesses that use it to meet with clients and customers. Take Design Innovation Inc. for example, a design firm based out of Farmington Valley. They design and develop products that range from consumer and medical goods to industrial products for clients such as Disney, Paramount, Crayola, and Hasbro. Due to the creative nature of their products, it is vital that they can meet with their clients to develop ideas and show their prototypes in person. Our airport plays an important role in connecting them with their clients.
Beyond the economic value, our airport provides an important public service as well. In the event of a major natural disaster, first responders can use our airport as a command center that can be used to fly in personnel and supplies. Both the Civil Air Patrol and the Connecticut State Police utilize our airport for training purpose, while the potential exists for our airport to be used as a staging area in the event of a disaster. General aviation airports like ours also support local law enforcement efforts and medical transportation, even on a volunteer basis, and aid the search and rescue teams on the ground by providing an aerial view.
General aviation’s value to our community deserves to be recognized. Fortunately, Congressional leaders recently rejected a proposal to separate the air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration, which would have stifled general aviation’s critical role in connecting communities like ours. In communities of all sizes throughout the country, general aviation airports play a central function in economic development, small business growth, emergency preparedness, and community access. Let’s keep it that way.
— Brad Griswold, Airport Manager, Simsbury Airport