canyonblue17
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Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:32 pm

I have driven by Opa-Locka Airport many times, and it seems like so little goes on there considering how potentially valuable the space is. The airport covers territory equivalent to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, yet it has no scheduled service. I understand it is used for general aviation and assorted maintenance facilities, but there appears to be no specific reason for those businesses to be located at that airport. Most, if not all, would survive just as well at other airports, as the basis for their business is fly-in traffic. Meanwhile the land could be developed in many other - more useful ways. For those not familiar, South Florida development is strictly limited geographically, as it is surrounded by Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean. So a piece of property the size of Opa-Locka, in an area of more than 6 million residents, could have immense value. I understand this is a simplistic way of looking at what I am sure is a complicated, environmental/political hot potato, but am I wrong thinking that property could be used in a more productive way?
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par13del
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:48 pm

A number of flight schools use the facility, banner planes for the stadium nearby, keeps a lot of GA traffic away from the two big commercial airports, best way to investigate is to follow the money. Since little is heard, its funding source is probably secure.
 
smokeybandit
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:03 pm

Well it was a training site for 9/11 terrorists and was Pablo Escobar's favorite airport for a while, so it has some interesting history.
 
centralflorida
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:18 pm

Once due to it training flights, it had more a/c movements than any airport in the world. It has been decreased in size with shops on the western boundry.
The area to the east of the airport is not desireable for any type of commercial expansion. The neighborhoods to the west sandwich a nice industrial park in
Miami Lakes with the airport property. . It is really between a rock and a hard place selling the town of Opa Locka to anyone. It is serving its best purpose
as a general aviation airport, with repair facilities. There is little choice for general aviation close by, and serves a reliever role to the other airports. It fills its
purpose well.
 
NASCARAirforce
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:48 pm

It is a Coast Guard base as well. I thought that the banner towing operations were done out of Perry Airport to the north
 
CanesFan
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:10 am

As busy as MIA and FLL are, I always thought that OPF could support airline service if properly developed. I'm sure the surrounding communities would throw a fit.
 
dfwjim1
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:37 am

I was in Miami Lakes this morning on the west side of OPF and I saw a helicopter, a Coast Guard plane and a business jet land/take off within 5 minutes of each other. Something interesting about OPF is that their ATC tower seems rather new.
 
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:12 am

Not too long ago it was a place with a lot of one-way flights. Many vintage birds ended their days at OPF, parted out and off to the melting pot. It was also a home to some interesting old heavy piston birds such as that DC-7 in the old AA livery.
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csturdiv
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:40 am

Does that cargo outfit that operated AN26s still operate out of OPF?
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canyonblue17
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:01 pm

Banner towing, vintage aircraft, flight schools and interesting history don't seem to be enough to sustain an airport that size? Plenty of room at nearby airports for the towing, flight schools and vintage aircraft.
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:06 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Banner towing, vintage aircraft, flight schools and interesting history don't seem to be enough to sustain an airport that size? Plenty of room at nearby airports for the towing, flight schools and vintage aircraft.


Airports aren't a renewable resource, once they're gone, they're gone forever. And kind of serious movement is going to have huge opposition (rightly so) by AOPA. The fact that SMO was allowed to basically close is, BS as well. And then look at the thugs of Chicago illegally closing Meigs field, GA airports don't ever come back.
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klm617
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:26 pm

No airport is a waste of space.
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United_fan
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:47 pm

The neighborhood around OPF is a crap hole.
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d8s
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:47 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Banner towing, vintage aircraft, flight schools and interesting history don't seem to be enough to sustain an airport that size? Plenty of room at nearby airports for the towing, flight schools and vintage aircraft.


Are you a NIMBY? You are so adament about closing airports it sounds like it...

The airport is a very busy executive airport and reliever for MIA and FLL. The airport is also home to the busiest U.S. Coast Guard Air/Sea Rescue Station.
 
ogre727
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:49 pm

klm617 wrote:
No airport is a waste of space.


The people from Castellon in Spain disagree.... and I would agree with them.
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tjwgrr
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:31 pm

I got this from Airnav.com. An average of 404 movements per day is no slouch of an airport:

KOPF:
Airport Operational Statistics
Aircraft based on the field: 267
Single engine airplanes: 111
Multi engine airplanes: 72
Jet airplanes: 70
Helicopters: 9
Military aircraft: 5

Aircraft operations: avg 404/day *
55% transient general aviation
32% local general aviation
6% air taxi
6% military
<1% commercial
Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
 
flymia
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:02 pm

Its a very busy GA airport. This is the airport of choice for the private aircraft. Its home bas to many large jets, pistons planes and turbo props. It has two very new and fancy FBOs in Orion Jet center and Fontainebleau, there is also a Signature FBO on the field too. The USCG has a very busy air base there, and there are some medical helicopters based there. Lots of tourist helicopters go out of there as well.

It also has a decent amount of regional cargo operators, and some maintenance facilities and tear down facilities. Its been a growing airport the past 5 years or so.

I have no idea where you get the idea that is it not busy and useless. Those private airplanes bring in a lot of important and wealthy people and employ a lot of people too.

FLL and MIA don't have the space to cater to many more private jets, especially the size of G-V or Global Expresses. And the other private airports are too small. FXE is the other big GA/Private airport and it is packed and very busy as well.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
MO11
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:14 pm

Many years ago, with all of the flight schools and all of the runways, it was the second busiest airport behind ORD. Last year it was #98.

It is a good GA reliever for MIA, moreso since customs became available.
 
SCQ83
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:24 pm

Maybe it is not as valuable as you think. That area might be large in surface but it is pretty bad and cheap. If redeveloped you are not going to fill it with high-end condo towers like this is Sunny Isles.

I am sure the numbers do not make sense. Who is going to spend billions buying the airport to develop it with some cheap low-density housing? No sense.

ogre727 wrote:
klm617 wrote:
No airport is a waste of space.


The people from Castellon in Spain disagree.... and I would agree with them.


I can't see the connection between Castellón and Opa Locka :). In any case CDT has already flights to the UK, Bulgaria, Poland and Romania, so it is not that bad.
 
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 5:58 pm

Still some cargo operations with old piston-engined Convairs at OPF in 2017 flying on a regular basis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/steelhead2 ... ateposted/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/steelhead2 ... otostream/
 
canyonblue17
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:21 pm

First off I am not a NIMBY - I live a hour north of Opa-Locka. What I am questioning - not stating - is whether some GA/corporate traffic and a relatively small military operation justify that much space? Most of these operations could move elsewhere - Homestead, North Perry, Fort Laud Exec, Miami Exec, Pompano, Boca - without moving far.

To be honest - I would love to see it developed into a major commercial airport with airline service - but barring that - it seems the purposes it serves can be served elsewhere.
Last edited by canyonblue17 on Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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NASCARAirforce
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:26 pm

Steelhead wrote:
Still some cargo operations with old piston-engined Convairs at OPF in 2017 flying on a regular basis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/steelhead2 ... ateposted/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/steelhead2 ... otostream/


And DC-3s
 
NASCARAirforce
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:33 pm

They just built a brand new FBO there, I think that gives them 3 or 4 now. It's an important business jet reliever for MIA and FLL both. For people wanting to go to Downtown MIA on their biz jet if MIA starts getting to full, it's more convenient than TMB and definitely closer than FXE. It's the closest airport to Hard Rock Stadium (Dolphins, Hurricanes) during football season for biz jets coming for that as well as a great location for special events Superbowl as well as a great reliever for some big yearly Miami events that fill up the FBOs at MIA such as the Boat show, Art Basel etc and is the closest airport to the north beaches of Miami. No sense developing it into anything. I don't see the land being that valuable otherwise. The town of Opa Locka on the east side of the airport is crime riddled
 
flymia
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:34 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
First off I am not a NIMBY - I live a hour north of Opa-Locka. What I am questioning - not stating - is whether some GA/corporate traffic and a relatively small military operation justify that much space? Most of these operations could move elsewhere - Homestead, North Perry, Fort Laud Exec, Miami Exec, Pompano, Boca - without moving far.

To be honest - I would love to see it developed into a major commercial airport with airline service - but barring that - it seems the purposes it serves can be served elsewhere.


Why do you think that? FXE is packed. Doubt there is much more space to base some G-VI BBJs and Global Express jets. North Perry aka North Scary, is a disaster. Has no large FBO and can only handle smaller jets. Miami Exec is also smaller that OPF, does not have the FBOs that OPF has and cannot handle multiple BBJs and Gulfstreams. Pompano is a small airport and very far from Miami and Miami Beach. Boca serves Boca/Palm Beach and nothing else. No one with the money to fly private is flying into Boca to go to Miami Beach. And again, Boca is a small airport too. No room to grow.

OPF is a great location for private aviation, especially the wealthy that Miami has a lot of and a lot of visitors of. Its a busy airport and I would not call the USCG small. Its a pretty important and busy air base for them. The Miami Station both sea and air is one of their busiest in the country.

As for the value of the land. Its in a low income area for residential and industrial warehouse for commercial. Amazon is actually building a massive facility there that will employ over 1000 people. Would some huge real estate fund love a big chunk of land to build affordable housing in Miami? Sure maybe. Lower income housing rentals usually have good yield. But I don't see what makes OPF space so great.

Aviation is one of the biggest and most important businesses in Miami. Maybe the most important given its tie to tourism. OPF is working well for Miami.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
canyonblue17
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:49 pm

Aviation is one of the biggest and most important businesses in Miami. Maybe the most important given its tie to tourism.


OPF is doing very little for tourism in South Florida, other than catering to a few of the very wealthy.
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SFOATLFlyer
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:00 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Banner towing, vintage aircraft, flight schools and interesting history don't seem to be enough to sustain an airport that size? Plenty of room at nearby airports for the towing, flight schools and vintage aircraft.


It's close to 150K movements per year, many GA. MIA and FLL don't need a long line of commercial flights following a taxiing Cessna to the runway.
 
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:23 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
First off I am not a NIMBY - I live a hour north of Opa-Locka. What I am questioning - not stating - is whether some GA/corporate traffic and a relatively small military operation justify that much space? Most of these operations could move elsewhere - Homestead, North Perry, Fort Laud Exec, Miami Exec, Pompano, Boca - without moving far.


If any of these airports were to hypothetically close for the value of the space, my guess is that Pompano would almost certainly be the first.

Every now and then for as many years as I can remember, that "what if" discussion among city officials seems to pop up.
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flymia
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:38 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Aviation is one of the biggest and most important businesses in Miami. Maybe the most important given its tie to tourism.


OPF is doing very little for tourism in South Florida, other than catering to a few of the very wealthy.

Where did I say OPF is helping tourism? I said Aviation is big in Miami, and it helps tourism. Not saying OPF is a big tourism generator. Anyway, private aviation, while only for the very wealthy, those very wealthy bring in a lot of money. Look at what events like the Boat Show and Art Basel bring in every year to the area.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
canyonblue17
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:48 pm

I said Aviation is big in Miami, and it helps tourism. Not saying OPF is a big tourism generator. Anyway, private aviation, while only for the very wealthy, those very wealthy bring in a lot of money.

[/quote]
So are you saying that if OPF closed - all the money it brings in from the few wealthy people that use it would leave South Florida? My opinion is that they would simply find a nearby alternate airport to land their money.
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flymia
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:14 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
I said Aviation is big in Miami, and it helps tourism. Not saying OPF is a big tourism generator. Anyway, private aviation, while only for the very wealthy, those very wealthy bring in a lot of money.


So are you saying that if OPF closed - all the money it brings in from the few wealthy people that use it would leave South Florida? My opinion is that they would simply find a nearby alternate airport to land their money.[/quote]

No, but maybe they would fly first class into MIA or FLL instead. And yes, instead of landing in OPF they would go to FXE (outside of Miami-Dade County) That really is the only alternative for a G-V or BBJ. Sure they could go to MIA, but then MIA small GA ramp would be filled and the Cessna Citation would need to go somewhere, and then the guy in the citation might say forget it, I'll just fly AA. We are talking about jobs, fixing planes, fueling planes, cleaning planes, at the FBO etc.. OPF is a very busy airport for what it does. There are a good amount of jobs tied to it. I just don't see why the other airports, all but one outside of Miami-Dade County are better alternatives. Why not propose shutting down those less important and less successful airports like North Perry or Pompano?
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canyonblue17
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:42 pm

We are talking about jobs, fixing planes, fueling planes, cleaning planes, at the FBO etc.. OPF is a very busy airport for what it does. There are a good amount of jobs tied to it.

And whatever might replace the airport could also have jobs tied to it.

I just don't see why the other airports, all but one outside of Miami-Dade County are better alternatives.

I mentioned Miami Executive and Homestead as alternatives - both in Miami-Dade County.

Why not propose shutting down those less important and less successful airports like North Perry or Pompano?


Because I suggested either shutting it down or expanding it to include commercial airline service - which neither North Perry nor Pompano would likely develop.[/quote]
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TrbleClef
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:58 pm

NASCARAirforce wrote:
It's the closest airport to Hard Rock Stadium (Dolphins, Hurricanes) during football season for biz jets coming for that as well as a great location for special events Superbowl as well as a great reliever for some big yearly Miami events that fill up the FBOs at MIA such as the Boat show, Art Basel etc and is the closest airport to the north beaches of Miami.


I'm fairly sure HWO is closer to the stadium than OPF, but probably by less than a mile.
 
KFLLCFII
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:33 am

TrbleClef wrote:
NASCARAirforce wrote:
It's the closest airport to Hard Rock Stadium (Dolphins, Hurricanes) during football season for biz jets coming for that as well as a great location for special events Superbowl as well as a great reliever for some big yearly Miami events that fill up the FBOs at MIA such as the Boat show, Art Basel etc and is the closest airport to the north beaches of Miami.


I'm fairly sure HWO is closer to the stadium than OPF, but probably by less than a mile.


HWO's longest runway is only 3,350 feet...Not very conducive to most biz jets he was referring to. :-)
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NASCARAirforce
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:23 pm

TrbleClef wrote:
NASCARAirforce wrote:
It's the closest airport to Hard Rock Stadium (Dolphins, Hurricanes) during football season for biz jets coming for that as well as a great location for special events Superbowl as well as a great reliever for some big yearly Miami events that fill up the FBOs at MIA such as the Boat show, Art Basel etc and is the closest airport to the north beaches of Miami.


I'm fairly sure HWO is closer to the stadium than OPF, but probably by less than a mile.


Good luck getting your Gulfstream 650 loaded with fuel off that 3,350 long runway. Even a much smaller Lear 45 requires a 4700 ft runway for take off. A Cirrus SJ50, which is the smallest of all private jets currently needs 3,100 ft of runway, the smallest of the Cessna Citations the C525 CJ1 needs 3,250 runway to take off. So that means the large jets can't operate out of there unless they are completely empty with minimal fuel and and even the small jets fully fueled are barely making it.

Sorry but North Perry serves it's purpose as a spam can C172 training airport and a banner tow airport. Leave OPF for the jets.
 
tjh8402
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:10 am

OPF is a very busy GA airport. When I worked line service, it was a very popular destination or origin for flights from us. Buy your line of reasoning, all GA airports should probably close since they only serve "a few rich people". The reality is that separate GA airports serve an important function. They help relieve congestion at busy commercial airports and keep costs down not just for a few rich people, but for small businesses that operate their own planes, flight schools, government operators, air ambulances, utility aircraft, cargo carriers, etc. they are also a huge source of employment. All the (largely blue collar) people who work at OPF or own aviation service businesses there can't just relocate. I was very lucky to have KORL for the 4+ years it put food on my table and the additional 4 years it provided helpful supplemental income.
 
maxpower1954
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:25 pm

tjh8402 wrote:
OPF is a very busy GA airport. When I worked line service, it was a very popular destination or origin for flights from us. Buy your line of reasoning, all GA airports should probably close since they only serve "a few rich people". The reality is that separate GA airports serve an important function. They help relieve congestion at busy commercial airports and keep costs down not just for a few rich people, but for small businesses that operate their own planes, flight schools, government operators, air ambulances, utility aircraft, cargo carriers, etc. they are also a huge source of employment. All the (largely blue collar) people who work at OPF or own aviation service businesses there can't just relocate. I was very lucky to have KORL for the 4+ years it put food on my table and the additional 4 years it provided helpful supplemental income.


Very nicely said! It's rather sad when an Anet poster thinks GA is only for the very rich with multi million dollar jets. I own a 1952 Beech Bonanza (V-tail) I paid a whopping 38,000 dollars for and it is pristine. That's less than the price of many new cars.

And BTW, the idea of OPF having any kind of scheduled service with MIA only five miles away is hilarious! Only in a fanboy's world...

Interesting site about closed MIA airfields.

http://www.airfields-freeman.com/FL/Air ... iami_C.htm
 
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BawliBooch
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:16 pm

smokeybandit wrote:
Well it was a training site for 9/11 terrorists and was Pablo Escobar's favorite airport for a while, so it has some interesting history.

:o WOT?!!!

Googling!
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OB1504
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Re: Is Opa-Locka Airport near Miami a waste of space

Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:37 pm

canyonblue17 wrote:
Because I suggested either shutting it down or expanding it to include commercial airline service - which neither North Perry nor Pompano would likely develop.


Why are those the only two options? Why can't Miami's busiest GA airport stay as-is?

I don't think the land would be very valuable for housing; right now the airport is a buffer between Miami Lakes to the west and Opa-locka to the east. As far as commercial/industrial uses go, the southwest portion of the airfield is already being developed.

maxpower1954 wrote:
And BTW, the idea of OPF having any kind of scheduled service with MIA only five miles away is hilarious! Only in a fanboy's world...


I seem to recall that in the 1990s OPF was being floated as a reliever airport for MIA, along with HST (Homestead Air Reserve Base). HST was rejected due to the distance and OPF was shot down by NIMBY opposition so ultimately they built more concourses and another runway at MIA.

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