New Taos aviation group seeking members

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TAOS, N.M. – A new aviation group is doubling in size in northern New Mexico, and they’re looking for more members.

But it’s no coincidence the Taos Pilots Association is growing at the same time officials with the airport are working on plans to expand the Taos Regional Airport.   

Now, the group wants to educate folks about the future of the airport in the middle of a pilot shortage.

“One of our objectives is to help people really understand what aviation is all about,” said Lee Harris, president of the Taos Pilots Association.  

Members of the pilot community formed the Taos Pilots Association for one simple, but important reason:

“It didn’t exist before,” said Harris. “We really need a pilot’s association which can cut out and correlate the thoughts and views, and opinions, and needs, and interests of all the pilots at the airport.”

The group could have their hands full this fall because the Taos Regional Airport is planning to size up within the next few years. 

But as the airport advisory board awaits an October meeting on their master plan expansion project – not everyone’s on board.

“We just saw that it was a lack, you know, we saw that there was a lot of people talking about what was happening with aviation in Taos. And the pilots who actually operate out of Taos, we were kind of absent from the conversation,” said David Chasteen.

David Chasteen is a pilot and a member of the Taos Pilot Association.

“I think most people don’t even realize that’s what’s going on there,” said Chasteen. “They hear the airport expansion they think, you know, Southwest is going to start bringing in 747’s, like that’s not what the airport is.”

The association is looking for new members of all ages to join their group not only to educate people interested in the future of the airport, but to help non-pilots become pilots.

“There’s a massive pilot shortage, there’s a massive mechanic shortage. Like, this is a really good career going into,” said Chasteen.  

“A lot of the pilots that end up at the airlines startup in little places like Taos, cause they’ve seen an airplane flyover, saying, ‘Wow, that would be cool.’ And they’re able to go out and get their licenses, and then they move on from there,” said Harris. 

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Taos Pilots Association, click here.