Self-Appointed Airport Police

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self-appointed airport police

Self-Appointed Airport Police
In my hometown we had a gentleman who took on the self-appointed role of airport police.

He was actually a nice guy and he meant well, but boy if he thought you were doing something unsafe, he was in your face.

We’ll call our man, John, for this discussion.

He was in his 70s and retired from a major oil company as a geologist. He had flown during WWII ferrying all manner of warbirds, including mustangs, but never flew in combat. He gave up flying for an honest living in the oil business after the war, but flew GA for fun. 




He owned an older Bonanza, that he flew at least once a week. He was a smart guy and he knew that the key to safety was proficiency.

The problem was his complete intolerance of anyone going outside of  his idea of standard operating procedure.


  • Enter the pattern on a straight in – expect to be met on the ramp
  • Forget your radio calls – he would greet you at the FBO with a reminder
  • Make an early turn on departure – he would remember and address with you promptly upon your return
  • Taxiing too fast – a scolding would ensure
  • Unattended pedestrians on the ramp – he would round them up & lecture their host

adams-county-sheriff-office-inJohn certainly meant well, but his bedside manner needed some work.

As I reflect on John and his influence, I recall resenting him at the time.
Now as an older, wiser pilot I still think he used the wrong approach. He certainly didn’t help promote aviation, but the end result probably made all of us a little safer.

Better safety through deterrence…maybe not.

by Brent

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