Santa Monica Municipal Airport

April 5, 2016

Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) will play host for three days this spring to community members, teachers and students as it holds family events designed to showcase the airport’s importance to the region.

Josh Ochs, a non-pilot Santa Monica resident, social media expert and author, has a passion for aviation; he realized how excited kids get around airplanes, and started hosting these events. The SMO family events are meant to show non-pilot families that the airport, one of the oldest in the country, is a great resource for the community. Ochs and his volunteers bring in five to 10 airplanes on the observation deck, and volunteers escort kids to the airplanes where pilots answer questions.

Community Event Highlights Value of Airport to Local AreaThis year’s family days take place April 9, May 14 and June 11.

“These events are wonderful for exposing families to single and twin-engine piston aircraft, and we hope other airports will be inspired to host similar events,” said Ochs. “Our goal is to make SMO the most family-friendly airport in the country”

Kids of all ages sit in a plane, get acclimated with the yoke and cockpit – with engines off for safety – and get pictures taken in the cockpit and with their families. Ochs said parents often ask more questions than the children. The pilots and volunteers emphasize safety, and go to great lengths to show the families how when proper attention is paid, aviation and airports are safe and fun.

Over the past three years these family events have allowed almost 3,000 parents and students to sit in a plane and be inspired by pilots.

SMO’s Legal Issues Continue

SMO has been embroiled in a legal battle for years as the city fights to restrict operations at the airport. NBAA and other groups are fighting to keep it open and accessible to general aviation, including business aviation.

“General aviation airports relieve larger commercial airline airports, help local hospitals and these smaller airports are where families and their imaginations can fly,” noted Ochs.

“NBAA appreciates Josh and the other volunteers at SMO who make events like this possible,” said Stacy Howard, NBAA’s Western regional representative. “Relationships between the airport and the community are strained here. These events help improve those relationships and demonstrate the benefits of the airport to the community. The events give the airport an important voice.”

Learn more about SMO family day events.