Friday, January 4, 2013
Fullerton Airport manager flies on
By LOU PONSI
The Orange County (CA) Register
As manager of the city's Fullerton Airport for the past 16 years, Rod Propst has overseen numerous projects, including the construction of a new hangar and the rehabilitation of the parallel taxiways.
Now the former Marine Corp aviator is moving on. Propst, 61 has accepted a position as manager of the Sedona Airport Authority in Sedona, Ariz. His last day at the Fullerton Airport was Monday.
The 16 year manager of the Fullerton Airport took a job as manager of the Sedona Airport Authority in Sedona Arizona
Married to Pamela for 34 years
Family: six children, nine grandchildren
Propst doesn't only oversee airport operations. He is a seasoned pilot with more than 3,000 hours of flight time and is certified to fly turbo jet aircraft and helicopters.
Before flying off to Sedona, Propst took the time to answer some questions about his career in Fullerton:
Q. What inspired you to make aviation your career?
A. My dad was a World War II Army Air Corps pilot who flew C-47 (DC-3) cargo planes in the South Pacific. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and several air medals during the war. As a kid growing up, his company had several general aviation airplanes that he flew and I would sometimes get to ride along. As I grew up, my goal was to be a military pilot and eventually an airline pilot. I certainly was able to accomplish being a military pilot, but when I retired from the Marines, I was more interested in managing airports than flying for the airlines; although, I still love to fly when I can find the time.
Q. What have you found most rewarding about your time overseeing the Fullerton Airport?
A. Airports have personalities and the people at the Fullerton Airport make it a pleasant and rewarding place to work. They typically want to solve whatever problems arise and they tend to work together to make it a better place.
Q. Is there anything that goes on behind the scenes at a community airport that people might be surprised to know?
A. Fullerton Airport is very much akin to a small city in and of its self. The airport deals with the same problems and issues that any city does only on a smaller scale. In the past 16 years, the Fullerton Airport has spent millions of dollars of Federal Aviation Administration money on major infrastructure projects, has adapted to ever-increasing security requirements, has complied with more complicated federal and state laws relative to aviation, and has operated as a "publicly" owned business enterprise.
Fullerton Airport is a self-sufficient, $2million-a-year business enterprise owned and operated by the city. Fullerton Airport receives no tax dollar (general fund) support from the city and in fact pays the city more than $250,000 a year in a franchise fee that goes back to the city's general fund.
Q. What will you miss most about the airport?
A. I will miss the great view from my office of the planes landing and taking off, the trains that run adjacent to the airport and the mountains in the distance. This is the best office anywhere in the city.
Q. What would be the best advice you could pass along to anyone considering a career in aviation?
A. Like many careers, you must have a passion for aviation to be successful in aviation. Any aviation career demands technical skills that must be acquired through hard work and perseverance. Aviation is a demanding work environment and requires a person to be focused to minimize mistakes. All that being said, it is a very rewarding career field whether you are a pilot, work for an aviation company or work in airport management.