David Duffer was selected as the new chair of the Fallbrook Airpark Advisory Committee.
The FAAC rotates its chairs, so Duffer was expected to take over as chair following the vote at the Feb. 4 meeting. The 2012 chair, Doug Dwyer, stepped down from the FAAC board during that meeting.
“My chair will be based on outreach to the community,” Duffer said.
“Our committee’s very concerned about how the airport interacts with the community,” Duffer said. “It would be nice to have more people in the community take an active role.”
Fallbrook Community Air Park includes both aviation land and non-aviation land such as Color Spot Nursery, the Fallbrook Tennis Club, Ingold Fields, and the Fallbrook Sports Park. “The community gets a definite benefit from the airport that’s not necessarily aviation-related,” Duffer said.
Duffer believes that the air park can prosper only if it is beneficial to the community rather than being a stand-alone airport. “It’s more of an asset to the community because of what it provides directly to Fallbrook,” he said.
In addition to the economic benefits of pilots flying into the airport, the community also benefits from the Sheriff’s Department helicopter base on the premises and during the October 2007 Rice Fire the airport was used as a base for firefighting efforts.
Duffer has been a pilot since 1981. “I had always wanted to be a professional pilot, but I am blind in my right eye,” he said.
The childhood accident which caused that handicap prevented Duffer from becoming a commercial or military pilot, so he went into the construction industry. “The idea of flying never left me, so I was real delighted to find out that as a private pilot I could operate an airplane with one eye,” he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration has a Statement of Demonstrated Ability program which allows those with physical handicaps to prove that they can fly despite their disability. “My blindness in one eye has not stopped me from exercising my pilot privilege,” Duffer said.
Duffer is originally from Los Angeles County and learned to fly at El Monte Airport. He moved to San Diego County after his graduation from Brigham Young University.
Duffer moved to Fallbrook from Vista after building his home in 1999. “I moved out here because of the airport,” he said. “I wanted to live in a community that was served by an airport.”
Duffer also raised his daughter, Lauryn, in Fallbrook. “Fallbrook has been a great spot for me,” he said.
(Lauryn Duffer is now a freshman at Brigham Young University – Hawaii.)
Shortly after completing his house, Duffer also completed an airplane he built and now flies out of Fallbrook Community Air Park. “The two were competing for my attention at the same time,” he said.
The building of the airplane thus took approximately 10 years and was completed in 2002. Duffer’s RV-4 sport aerobatic plane has an experimental aircraft certification (under FAA standards a self-built or modified aircraft is classified as experimental).
Duffer has been on the Fallbrook Airpark Advisory Committee for a decade. His first term as chair was in 2008. “We try really hard to allow lots of feedback from those in attendance,” he said.
At one time all public comment was restricted to after the end of business items, but during Duffer’s first term public input was allowed in conjunction with an appropriate business item. “It’s a much more pleasant meeting,” he said. “We try not to make it boring.”
Duffer believes that the air park and the community have a unique relationship. “We want the community to know that the air park is an asset to them,” he said. “It’s really special, and we’re aware of that and want to keep it that way.”