Have you given any thoughts to how your airpark relates to children? When my kids were growing up we lived on a residential airpark. The airpark owners association established some rules for what children who lived on the airpark could and couldn’t do. We also prepared some others that we considered to be important.
Do the Covenants, Conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) at the airpark where you reside address children specifically? They should and you would be wise to take a look at the CC&Rs to make sure they include some rules and regulations.
Some of the items we feel are important seem almost too simplistic to bother writing them down. But, often it is the thing that everyone thought was so obvious that no one thought about mentioning it, and that’s the exact item that led to serious problems.
Here are a few of the items you ought to consider and hopefully they will start you thinking about ideas of your own:
- No playing on the runway or taxiways. That includes things like a baseball game or football or anything else that brings young people (or adults) onto the runway or taxiway or close to those entities.
- No bike riding or skateboarding or rollerblading on the runway or taxiway.
- If your airpark has homes on both sides of the runway, you should walk around the ends of the runway rather than crossing the runway itself. The same goes for bicycles. If you do permit crossing of the runway other than at the very ends, youngsters should get off their bikes and walk them across.
- At no time should pets be allowed to be on or near the runway or taxiway with children unless they are on a leash.
- Children (and adults) riding bikes on or near taxiways after sunset and before sunrise should always wear reflective clothing, carry a flashlight or otherwise have something that can be readily seen by the operator of an approaching airplane or car.
- All children need to be reminded of the dangers of the runway and taxiway on a regular basis, at least a couple or three times a year.
- Children visiting at your home, particularly those not familiar with airplanes or the airpark, need to be briefed before being allowed to go out and play.
- Children learn best by example, so follow the rules for the kids yourself. In other words, don’t tell your children to walk around the end of the runway and then cut across the middle yourself. Or, if you establish rules prohibiting walking on the runway or taxiway, you’ll need to remember that they apply to you as well as the kids.
- If your runway closes for certain times of the year (due to snow, or during a rainy season when the turf is very soft) and you make other uses of it during that period, you’ll have to reacquaint your youngsters with the reinstated rules when it opens again.
- Riding horses is about the same as bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and motorcycles. The runway isn’t the right spot for such activities. Perhaps a path along the outer edges of the taxiway can be made available for such activities.
- Make sure youngsters know that airplanes can be extremely quiet when coming in for a landing and they can sneak up on you, especially if you are concentrating on other activities with several young friends. Caution children to look for airplanes anytime they are near the runway portion of the property and go the other way when they do see one in motion.
- Children need to be taught not to leave toys, regardless of how big or small they may be, on the taxiway or near it just in case an airplane has to make a sudden change in direction. Bikes, skateboards, etc. need to be left near or at the house or side of the hangar, never in front or on the taxiway.
Perhaps many of these points are far beyond simplification but if one child is saved from being injured, it is worth the reminders. We suggest you prepare the rules, print them up and distribute to all property owners. Even those folks without children should have a set of the rules readily available for those times when visitors bring their kids.