AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 112

PILOTS  AIRPORT MANAGER

Jon Martin
Airport kid turned boss
B Y I A N J. T W O M B LY

LOGBOOK

WHO | Jonathan Martin,

airport manager

HOURS | 3,000
CERTIFICATES AND RATINGS |

Commercial multiengine, CFI
FAVORITE AIRCRAFT | " All of
them. " Currently owns a
Piper Lance II, Taylorcraft
L2M, Fairchild 24R, and Great
Lakes 2T1A
EXTRA | Martin is restoring the Great Lakes with a
200-horsepower Ranger
engine.

112 | AOPA PILOT April 2021

to go to the airport, " he said. " My first goal
was to promote it as a self-sustaining airport and make it a pillar of the community. "
Along the way he's found time to continue flying and restore his own Fairchild.
It's a beautiful red Fairchild 24 with a
Ranger engine that makes a Lycoming
feel like a jackhammer (see " Formula
24, " April 2018 AOPA Pilot). With rides in
his airplane, tours, answering the phone,
attending city meetings, or just being
available to lend a hand, the airport bum
is passing to the next generation the welcoming atmosphere previous generations
gave to him. In the process he's creating a
place for more than just pilots.
" I remember as a kid looking over the
airport and thinking it would be cool to
manage it, " he said. " It's hard to describe, but
given that opportunity, it's been excellent. "
EMAIL ian.twombly@aopa.org

CHRIS ROSE

JON MARTIN IS YOUR QUINTESSENTIAL AIRPORT BUM. He grew up at the airport, hangs
out at the airport, and now he runs the place.
Martin was 15 when he started regularly coming to New Garden Flying Field, on the
far west side of Philadelphia's Class B airspace. Old-timers were happy to mentor the
new kid, and Martin quickly got his hands dirty helping to restore a Fairchild PT-19. At
the time he was pumping gas, cutting grass, and performing other odd jobs just to be
at the airport. A pilot certificate and a degree at Penn State University came soon after.
Unlike a lot of kids who move away thinking they are heading on to bigger and better
things, Martin came back after graduation, and soon he was offered the airport manager job. Since then he has worked hard to make New Garden Flying Field a place for
everyone, including the community.
In 2009 he started the Future Aviators Camp, two one-week sessions of summer camp
that bring hundreds of kids to the airport each year. Each kid gets an airplane ride; they go
to museums, learn about rockets and wings, and have fun build contests. Martin smartly
uses the camp as a conduit to the community, and one night campers' families come in
to see the airport, eat some barbecue, and watch model airplanes fly. It's a soft sell, and
the welcoming nature of Martin and the rest of the airport bums lets people know New
Garden is a place they will be welcome.
He's figured out other ways to bring people into the community, including a walking
path that loops airport property, and there's long been a summer airshow. Martin's goal isn't
to make the town tolerant of the airport; it's to make the airport an ingrained part of the
town. " When I came in, the town supervisors made it clear they didn't want the tax dollars



AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - 4
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - April 2021 - Cover3
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