No where is it more true than in aviation....An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
When the group vigilence of a local chapter is established, it is much easier to not only stay alert to "airport issues" but to shape the discussion before problems arise. It is too easy to find the statistics that identify the loss of airports and operation flexibility to develpment, noise reduction caampaigns and zoning actions.
It isn't possible for any individual to attend every planning commitee, city council or county commision meeting to monitor or speak to aviation related interests. That is one of the benefits of belonging to (or forming) a local chapter. Many pilots are local business people and already have contacts with local officials. Take advantage of those connections and consider having a local politician address the chapter as a guest speaker.
Too many times, the mayor, city manager, city planner and council members meet pilots for the first time during the last public comment phase for a poorly crafted ordinance. If the local pilots are more visible to their community and have met the "city fathers" during non-controversial times, the approach taken to airport and aviation issues will be in the form of invitations to serve on advisory commitees or task forces. The opportunity to educate and shape policy are closer than you think. When the community involvement is spread amongst several members of a chapter, the job becomes easier and the community understands that there are more pilots out there than they may have thought.
Some ways local chapters have become involved are:
It's not all politics and commitee meetings!
Get the chapter involved or visible to the community in other ways too.
As with any avocation aviation entusiasts find themselves members in several aviation organizations. One resource that should not be overlooked is the AOPA Airport Support Network volunteers. If you don't know your local AOPA ASN volunteer, make an effort to find out who this person is and make sure that the OPA can synergize with these like-minded individuals. OPA chapters can count their local ASN as an ally for aviation.