Hopes for a New Career


One day in early December, 2004, I noticed this advertisement in the local newspaper (actual community and representative's names disguised to protect the clueless):

Airport Manager - City of Oz. Bachelors degree in aviation or bus. mgmnt, w/a minimum private pilot license & 7 yrs. aviation industry exp. Job descr. and salary available. Contact Allen R. Clueless, City Manager, Oz, FL at (386) 555-0100 or arclueless@gbso.net. Deadline for application is 1/14/05

I dashed off the following polite email:

My address
Hometown, FL 32xxx
9 December 2004

Dear Mr. Clueless;

I read your advertisement in the [local newspaper] for the position of Airport Manager at xxJ, Local Aviation Hero in Oz. Please forward a job description and salary information to me at:

My address
Hometown, FL 32xxx

With regard to your qualifications, I offer the following:

  • Associate Degree in Professional Aviation (M-DCC)
  • >30 additional college level credit hours (Northern Illinois University)
  • Commercial Pilot Certificate #xxxxxxx
  • Instrument Rating.
  • Approximately 400 hours flight time experience

I was an Air Traffic Controller for nearly 30 years with the FAA serving as follows:

  • Jacksonville ARTCC (1968-1973)
  • Chicago O'Hare Terminal Radar Approach Control (1973)
  • Chicago O'Hare Air Traffic Control Tower (1989)
  • Chicago ARTCC (1973-1997)

Although the bulk of my FAA service was as an Air Traffic Control Specialist, I performed these additional functions:

  • Traffic Management Coordinator (1987-1989)
  • Quality Assurance Specialist (1990-1991)
  • Quality Assurance Manager (1991)
  • Supervisory ATC Specialist (1992)
  • Instructor (ongoing additional duty with periodic specific classroom assignments)

During my details at ORD and as a Traffic Management Coordinator I had occasions to interact with municipal airport management and have a survey understanding of their function.

Thank you for your consideration.

A few days later I received the following document:

Airport Manager
Job Description and Qualifications

Airport Manager, City of Oz

Manage all aspects of a General Aviation Municipal Airport. Responsibilities include daily airfield management, budgeting, capital improvement planning, as well as marketing, and public relations. Typical duties include maintaining airfield equipment and infrastructure such as Runways, Taxiways, Navaids, Terminal Building, Hangers and Fuel Facility. Responsible for administration, personnel, safety and security, while ensuring compliance with FAA, FDOT, and other regulations and standards. Update airport operational / minimum standards manual. Plan and coordinate the airport's consultant(s) and other contractors in concert with City priorities on matters of airport improvement projects. Serve as primary city liaison with FAA and other relevant agencies on matters of grant funding and airport operations to include NOTAM issuance and AFD changes. Negotiate tenant leases for commercial activity and aircraft storage. Help promote and market the airport and co-located industrial park. Advise City and County officials on matters of zoning and aviation commercial development. Attend City Commission meetings as well as State and other organization meetings. Participate with the airport advisory board on matters of airport development, noise compliance, and other community interest issues.


Four-year college degree in airport or business management. A minimum private pilot license with at least 7 years professional work experience in the aviation field. CM qualified by the American Association of Airport Executives, or ability to attain CM qualification within one year of hire. Ability to effectively organize and prioritize multiple tasks and projects, deal effectively with the public, proficient computer / written, and oral communication skills.

Salary Range

The rest of the document included the filing deadline and address. So, what do you think a job like this would pay? I asked several people and got answers ranging from $60,000 to $85,000 p/a. I certainly was thinking something in the middle of that range.

Click here to find out what the City of Oz thinks this position is worth.

Last updated: 27 January 2009

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