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SOAR Comprehensive Media Information
SOAR Comprehensive Media Information

SOAR Comprehensive Media Information

SOAR Comprehensive Media Information

As of 1 February 2011


Summary Overview

            Friends of the Airport, in partnership with Home Depot, Island City Flying Service, Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, Southernmost Hotel Collection, US 1 Radio 104.1 and Western Petroleum Company, is proud to present the first ever Southernmost Openhouse & Aviation Review (SOAR) at the Key West International Airport, Florida on Saturday, February 5th, 2011 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  This family-friendly, free to the public event will include numerous static display aircraft to check out, flight opportunities to experience (free for kids ages 8-17 thanks to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Young Eagle Program), aviation exhibitors and vendors to enjoy, free raffle prizes to win throughout the day, the largest aviation theme kid’s zone in the US, and access to the new terminal building to explore.



            Friends of the Key West International Airport, Inc, doing business as Friends of the Airport (FOTA) is a 501(c), not for profit created in order to plan and execute SOAR.  FOTA’s business address is PO Box 2095, Key West, FL 33045, our phone number is 305-879-9306, our web site is and our email is .  Our IRS Federal Employer ID (FEI) number is 90-0556986 and our Articles of Incorporation were filed in the State of Florida on April 19th, 2010 under document #N10000003903.  We are registered to conduct charitable fund raising with the Fl. Dept. of Agricultural & Consumer Services, Division of Consumer Services under #CH32578.  The purpose of FOTA is to educate the public regarding the history, current operations, services and benefits of the Key West International Airport (EYW) in order to create, stimulate and promote public interest, understanding, and support regarding the airport and aviation in general.  We have no paid employees and are governed by an unpaid, nine member Board of Directors: Neal Carbaugh (President), Fred Cabanas (Vice President), Dr. Julie Ann Floyd (Secretary), Nick Pontecorvo (Treasurer), Paul dePoo, Peter Horton, J. Todd Manuel, Rich Peiffer, and Cheryl Smith. 



            SOAR is a one day, airport open house, but is not a fly-in nor is it an air show.  Instead, SOAR will include static display aircraft, flight opportunities, vendor booths, free raffle prizes, kid’s activities, and access to the new terminal.  For more specifics, refer to the HOW section below.



            SOAR is an annual event scheduled in 2011 to be on Saturday, February 5th from 9-4, rain or shine.



            SOAR will be held at EYW on the general aviation (GA) side of the airport just west of the terminal.  The single point entrance/exit from the GA ramp is through the south side of the hanger of the only Fixed Base Operator (FBO) on site, Island City Flying Service.  It is located west of the baggage claim area near the base of the control tower.



            SOAR has three stated goals:  To educate the public regarding the history, operations, services and benefits of the airport, to promote an interest in aviation in general, and to entertain locals and tourists alike in an exciting, yet family-friendly environment.  SOAR is the result of the vision of Peter Horton, the Monroe County Director of Airports, who saw that such an event was necessary to foster better community understanding and support for the airport.  The post-9-11 security environment, combined with media coverage normally reserved for negative aspects of the airport such as noise or safety concerns, creates a fertile breeding ground for misunderstanding and misperceptions regarding airport operations and benefits.  SOAR is an invitation to the public to come to the airport and see for themselves what goes on behind the fences.

            Additionally, SOAR is exciting from a tourism perspective because we are attracting a new market segment not currently targeted in the form of the aviation enthusiast.  The Keys are known for fishing, diving, arts & cultural events, boat races (sail and power), food fests, motorcycle rallies, and Fantasy Fest.  However, aviation is a niche that is missing.  According to Flying Magazine, the leading aviation magazine in the US, the average net worth of their subscribers is $1.5M.  That’s an affluent and highly desirable demographic to which to market any product or service and SOAR is an event that will attract such a market segment to the Keys, many of whom may be new to the Keys or who may not otherwise visit the Keys for the other attractions, but may well do so again once they come and see what we have to offer.  Our estimated attendance is 7,000 people.



This section is comprised of several sub-sections by topic area.


Aircraft Static Displays and Flights:  We are featuring two primary aircraft.  The first is a 1944 North American B-25H Mitchell Bomber provided by History Flight, a not for profit based here in Florida.  This B-25H, “Barbie III”, is the only remaining flying H model in the world.  SOAR visitors will have the opportunity to take an orientation flight in this historic aircraft on either Saturday, February 5th as part of SOAR or on Sunday, February 6th separate from SOAR.  Our second featured aircraft is a 1958 original Eastern Air Lines DC-7.  SOAR visitors will be able to walk through the aircraft while on display.  Additionally, we have numerous other vintage warbird and modern aircraft on static display including a 1931 Stearman Speedmail, 1941 Boeing PT-19, 1942 Vultee BT-15, 1944 P-51 Mustang, 1946 Ercoupe, F-8F Bearcat, Long EZ, Cessna 172, Cessna 182, a Key West Seaplanes Cessna 206 amphibian, Van RV-10, a FedEx Cessna 208, Nanchang CJ-6N, Maule MT-7, a Florida FWC Partenavia P-68, a Life Net Key West Eurocopter EC135-P2, a Florida Mosquito Control Bell 206, Cessna O-2B Skymaster, a MCSO Sikorsky S-76 Trauma Star, Gulfstream G-159, an Air Key West Partenavia P-68C, a Lake Amphibian, a Sukhoi Su-26M, and military aircraft from the Florida Army National Guard, US Navy and Coast Guard too.  Additionally, several volunteers from the EAA will be providing free orientation flights for kids ages 8-17 throughout the day in various types of aircraft and the Conch Republic Air Force will be offering paid orientation flights to the public in various types of aircraft throughout the day, including a 1941 J-3 Cub, 1942 Waco UPF-7, 1943 T-6 Texan, 1985 Cessna 206 Amphib, and a 2003 Pitts S-2C, all courtesy of Freddie Cabanas.  Our list of static display aircraft will grow as we get closer to the event.


Sponsors:  SOAR would not be possible without the support of sponsor donations.  The initial seed money needed to create FOTA and start planning SOAR was provided by a grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund.  Since then we have enjoyed the support of the following cash and in-kind sponsors: Home Depot, Island City Flying Service, Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, Southernmost Hotel Collection, US 1 Radio 104.1, and Western Petroleum, our Platinum level sponsors and official partners for SOAR, plus American Eagle, AVEMCO, FedEx, Island Surveying, the Key West Citizen, Wolf Aviation Fund, AirTran, Conch Electric Cars of Key West, Crowne Plaza La Concha Hotel, Flight Safety International, Hydro-Thunder of Key West, Monroe County, Ocean Key Resort, Old Town Trolley Tours, the City of Key West, Waste Management, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Key West Hotel, Quality Inn, Cheney Brothers, Inc., Fly-Low Publications, Key West Seaplanes, Neal Carbaugh, Sunny Days Catamaran, Dr. William Greenwood, A.M.E., Air Methods/Life Net Key West, Alex’s Auto Wrecking & Towing, Arnold’s Towing, Delta Air Lines, Dion’s Aviation, Doubletree Grand Key Resort, First State Bank, Fury Water Adventures, Garrison Bight Marina, Kemner Chiropractic, Key West Attractions Association, Key West Chemical & Paper Supply, Key West Express, Montgomery Consulting Group, Quizno’s Subs of Key West, Sebago Watersports, Strunk Ace Hardware, Tropical Wellness, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co., Atlantic Flyer Magazine, Experimental Aircraft Association, Gyvel Berkley Graphic Design, Light Sport & Ultralight Magazine, Trade-a-Plane Magazine, West Marine and Women in Aviation International.  Additionally, we have pledges of support from numerous other businesses that are forthcoming including Budget Car Rental, Contact Magazine, Danger Charters, Gleim Publications, and Pilot Mall, to name just a few more.  There are five sponsorship levels, Platinum ($3,000), Gold ($1,500), Silver ($750), Bronze ($350), and White ($150) with numerous benefits accruing to the sponsor depending on the level.  The one page sponsorship form is available on our web site.


Exhibitors/Vendors:  Numerous vendors & exhibitors will have display booths at SOAR including Aviation & Military Collectables, Air Methods/Life Net Key West, Armed Forces recruiters, Beadsong, Budweiser beer truck, Civil Air Patrol, Clinic of Alternative Medicine, Coca-Cola trailer, Conch Electric Cars of Key West, Debon Air Mechanical, DTC Duat Service, Edge of the Earth Toys, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Keys Mosquito Control, Home Depot Kid’s Workshop, Island Ices, Island Pilots, Key West Airport Fire & Rescue, Key West Seaplanes, Mobile Mountain Kid’s Zone inflatables, Monroe County Public Works, NASA Kennedy Space Center, NOAA National Weather Service, Seaplane Pilots Association, Tropical Wellness, US1 Radio 104.1, Vital Flight, and Wing Masters.  Our vendor booth information package and application can be found on our web site.


Raffle:  Each visitor will submit a free raffle ticket as they enter through the gate in order to track attendance.  Raffle drawings will be held every 15 minutes throughout the day to award various prizes donated by businesses.  Our list of raffle items is growing daily but we currently have two coach class tickets on AirTran, two 5,000 mile Delta Sky Miles certificates, a one-hour simulator mission in Orlando with Flight Safety International worth $1,400, four free passes on the Fury Water Adventures (sunset cruise or snorkel trips), four free passes on Sebago Watersports (sunset cruise or reef trips), four free passes on Sunny Days Catamaran, a free flight on a Key West Seaplanes float plane, a free half-day boat rental from Garrison Bight Marina, a free 2 hour rental from Conch Electric Cars of Key West, two free round trip tickets on the Key West Express, two free office visits to Kemner Chiropractic, two $50 gift certificates from West Marine, a $50 gift card from Pilot Mall, two $25 gift cards to Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co, two $25 gift cards from Winn-Dixie, free subscriptions to Trade a Plane Magazine, Atlantic Flyer Magazine, Contact Magazine, Fly Low Magazine, Light Sport & Ultralight Magazine, free memberships to Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, and Women in Aviation, International and much more.


New Terminal Complex:  An award winning, new 68,000 sq. ft. terminal complex was completed in 2009 that more than doubled the size from the previous terminal.  The new terminal complex won the Florida DoT Commercial Service Airport Project Award for 2009.  It includes a restaurant, gift shops, “Art in Public Places” courtesy of the Florida Keys Arts Council, and more.  There will be a ceremony at 11:30 upstairs in the terminal to unveil the bust of George J. Faraldo (1919-1988) , a Key West native and early aviation pioneer.  His wife, Norma Faraldo, along with Peter Horton, the Monroe County Airports Director, and numerous local, state and federal dignitaries will be present and all are welcome to attend.


Volunteers:  SOAR would not be possible without the help of a small army of volunteers.  We have two shifts available, 0830-1230 and 1230-1630.  Volunteers are needed for parking, gate greeters, electric car drivers, ramp safety/security, raffle coordinator, and other duties.  Volunteers receive a free “SOAR Volunteer/Staff” T-shirt, Key West Int’l Airport ball cap, and a $5 voucher towards lunch at one of our on-site food/beverage booths.  More information is available on our web site including who to contact to volunteer.


Parking:  Parking will be one of our biggest logistical challenges.  There is limited on-site parking, which will not be enough to accommodate the expected number of attendees.  We are encouraging people to walk, ride a bike or moped, take a taxi, get dropped off, or car pool as much as possible to reduce traffic congestion.  Overflow parking is available in the Key West High School lot with free shuttle transportation back and forth. 


Media Campaign:  Press releases have been sent to nearly 100 local, state, national and international print, radio, web, and TV media outlets.  Additionally, we have contacted almost 300 local, state, national and international aviation organizations and associations with a combined membership of more than 2.1 million members who all share a love of aviation in one form or another.  We have also notified almost 200 airports and airparks throughout Florida to spread the word about this new event.  A recent Google search showed that SOAR is now listed on more than 80 web sites of all types such as News, Travel and Aviation sites.  Finally, SOAR Key West maintains a Facebook page. 

            Our media campaign, in addition to the activities above, will include pre-event radio spots on US 1 Radio 104.1, pre-event advertisements and inserts in the Key West Citizen, print ads in other select cities in Florida, a live, on-site broadcast from US 1 Radio 104.1, window posters, roadside sandwich board signs, banners, and a post-event thank you in the Solaris Hill.  Additionally, we have partnered with the Key West Express boat with service from Ft Myers Beach and Marco Island to attract aviation enthusiasts from that area of Southwest Florida and we are currently negotiating with Norwegian Cruise Lines to add SOAR to their list of shore excursions on board the Norwegian Pearl scheduled to be in port that day.  Finally, we have sent invitations to numerous local, state and national elected officials and other VIPs to have them come out in support of this exciting new event.


Airport History:  Seven world records were established at EYW between 1911 and 1919 including the longest overwater flight and the first commercial flight between the US and a foreign country.  However, the field did not officially open until 1927 and when it did, it was known as Meacham Field.  It became a military base during WWII until it was purchased by Monroe County in 1952.  It was renamed Key West International Airport in 1957.  It is one of only two public airports in the county (Marathon is the other), although there is a large Navy base only 5 miles away (NAS Key West) and there are several small, private strips throughout the Keys. 


Other Airport Facts:

- There are about 5,100 public airports in the US.  That’s down from 7,200 in the early 1970’s.  In the 1990’s, airports in the US were closing at the rate of two per month, mostly because of incompatible land use development and encroachment within the vicinity of those airports. 

- Only 560 of the 5,100 public airports in the US have commercial service with 75% of all commercial flights occurring at only 46 of those.  All the rest of the airports, plus another 14,600 private fields, serve GA operations.  GA flights outnumber commercial flights three to one.

- There are about 624,000 registered pilots in the US (down from an all time high of 824,000 set in 1980) and 500,000 of them fly GA flights.  There are about 50,000 registered pilots in the state of Florida.  Only California and Texas have more pilots than Florida. 

- There are about 238,000 registered civil (non-military) aircraft in the US and 90% of those are GA aircraft.  Florida is home for 24,000 aircraft, or about 10% of the total in the US.  Once again, only California and Texas have more registered aircraft than Florida.

- GA flying is every civil flight that is not a scheduled passenger airline flight and includes fire fighting, medical evacuation/transport, agricultural (crop spraying) and environmental flights, aerial mapping, flight testing and evaluation, news & traffic reports, law enforcement patrols, Civil Air Patrol, pilot training, cargo flights, charter service, business flights, and, of course, recreational flying. 

- The GA industry generates more than $150B in economic activity annually in the US.  The 21 commercial airports and 107 public GA airports in the state of Florida, one of the busiest aviation states, generate $97B of that activity and directly supports over 1,000,000 jobs.  Florida is also the home to the world’s largest flight training operations.

- EYW has a 4800 ft long, towered controlled, fully instrumented, single runway oriented 090/270 degrees that supports six air carriers (AirTran, American Eagle, Cape Air, Delta, Gulfstream/Continental, and US Airlines) and numerous GA aircraft and operations.  The six Part 121 air carriers generate about 20 scheduled commercial flights per day and GA accounts for an additional 40 more flights per day.

- EYW is in the FAA’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPAIS) as a Class 1, primary, non-hub airport with approximately 300,000 enplanements annually and 50 based aircraft and it receives FAA funding under the Airfield Improvement Program (AIP).

- EYW operates as an enterprise fund, fully funded by tenant operations and not property taxes, with an annual operating budget of about $5M.

- There is a single FBO/flight school at EYW, Island City Flying Service, which supports all local and transient GA aircraft operations, as well as all flight training.

- EYW has received a perfect safety score with the FAA for each of the last five years.

- The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners issued a Proclamation on January 19th, 2011 declaring Saturday, February 5th as “Key West Airport Appreciation Day”.



            This inaugural SOAR event has the potential to become a signature event for the Keys and we want to thank the many sponsors, pilots, vendors, volunteers and media outlets that have contributed to having a safe and enjoyable event in order to showcase our fabulous Key West International Airport.


Monroe County
1100 Simonton Street
Key West FL, 33040