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Chester County Press

Rep. Houlahan receives tour of New Garden Flying Field

03/01/2022 03:13PM ● By Richard Gaw

Photo by Richard L. Gaw                     U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan met with New Garden Flying Field Aviation Director Jon Martin during her tour of the facility on Feb. 23.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

Given her extensive background in aviation, in particular her service in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves, it seemed very apropos that U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan visited the New Garden Flying Field on Feb. 23 for a one-hour tour of the facility.

The tour was highlighted by a presentation given by Flying Field Aviation Director Jon Martin, who detailed the extent of the airport’s day-to-day operations, its continued growth from the purchase of two adjoining farms in 1965 to a key aviation center in southeastern Pennsylvania, and the extensive upgrades to its infrastructure that included the expansion of its runway and the addition of more hangar space.

Martin said that these initiatives were part of a long-term, goal-driven strategy of growth for the Flying Field, created in partnership with New Garden Township, who purchased the airport from the DuPont family in 2007.

“We all believe in the systematic approach to airport development,” he said. “While so many airports want the fuel-guzzling aircraft, our niche has generally been Cessnas, Pipers, light twins and light business aircraft, but we didn’t have the hangar space, an instrument approach or even a runway at that point.

“So we focused on the areas that needed to be attended to right away, and in doing that, we created a master plan that put down on paper what made sense for New Garden Township and the New Garden Flying Field. The master plan has been guiding us over the last decade in the development of the airport.”

Discussing the airport’s commitment to the education of aviation, Martin focused part of his presentation on The New Garden Flight Connection, which has been providing flight instruction at the Flying Field since 2009; and the Future Aviators Summer Camp, which began in 2009 with 28 campers and drew 185 registered campers in 2021 – from as far away as Texas, California and Switzerland.

Many past campers have gone on to pursue careers in aviation as professional and military pilots, aerospace engineers, helicopter pilots and drone operators, Martin said.

I measure the intrinsic value of the [Future Aviators Summer Camp] against the mission of the Flying Field, which is to focus on our core values of camaraderie, community, education and the future of 21st Century aviation.”

Martin said that over the last two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the enactment of temporary flight restrictions that have forced the airport to close whenever President Biden visits his home in Wilmington, the airport has had to cancel its annual car and flight shows that normally draw more than 10,000 visitors to the Flying Field.

Rep. Houlahan grew up in a military family, and her parents met when her father and grandfather flew P3s in the same Navy squadron. She earned her engineering degree from Stanford University with an ROTC scholarship that launched her service in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves, and later earned her M.S. in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

New Garden Flying Field’s commitment to providing educational opportunities to young people generously overlaps the initiatives that Houlahan has made to further STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education in the U.S. In 2021, Houlahan, Jim Baird (R-IN) and Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Mathematical and Statistical Modeling Education Act, a bipartisan, bicameral legislation to modernize math curriculum and improve K-12 science and STEM education in the U.S.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].