February Airport of the Month - Littlebrook Airpark (3B4)
Written by Dispatcher Joe
What a busy month! After many weather and administrative delays, CHI decided to keep it local for February’s Airport of the Month! The original plan was to go to the Alton Bay Ice Runway, but the weather did not cooperate with our schedule and it is closed. Next year, we’ll give it a shot!
CFI Mikey and I were in the office on a Friday morning, stressing about where to go for Airport of the Month, until Mikey came up with the idea to go to Littlebrook. It would be an incredibly short flight, but we wanted to get a closer look at our neighboring airport and highlight smaller General Aviation airports. Here is the airport information from the A/FD:
It was a calm night, and we determined that Mikey would fly an orbit around Littlebrook and then complete two low approaches, as I took photos and videos of the airport environment.
The runway is pretty rough, but there are a bunch of hangars on the field. The trees are very close to the runway on either side, giving the airfield a “Hampton” feel.
There was not much to debrief from this flight, but after we landed, Mikey and I kept thinking about how many airports like Littlebrook have become deserted over the years. Sadly, general aviation is expected to keep shrinking, with corporate and commercial operations expected to grow. According to FAA forecasts, the amount of active Fixed-Wing Piston Aircraft are expected to decrease by almost 17% over the next 10 years. This can prove to be detrimental to airports like Littlebrook, that house mostly single engine piston powered aircraft. The COVID-19 Pandemic hasn’t helped the situation either.
Luckily, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The pilot shortage can be the boost that general aviation needs. According to Boeing’s 20-year Pilot and Technician Outlook for 2020-2039, 569,000 personnel will be needed for commercial and civil aviation aircraft in North America, with 208,000 of those personnel being Pilots. The demand is expected to increase once COVID-19 gradually goes away and more flights come back into service. This only proves now is the time to pursue a career in aviation.