Occasionally we can’t help a little curiosity about the way the general press covers aviation. Take for instance a newspaper up in the Great State of Maine, noted for its potatoes, hard winters, and lonely moose. Seems that an airport up there, the Knox County Regional Airport, won a $5 million grant to build a new taxiway. The airport, not far from Rockland, has only a single 5,000-foot runway, and that, according to Representative Tom Allen, the local Democrat who won the funding, “forces aircraft to taxi backward” after landing. Only turboprops and Cessnas serve the airport, and unlike Maine’s moose, or indeed its members of Congress, these planes can’t really go backward.
Local papers across the state reprinted the congressman’s description without question. We intend no disrespect to the honourable gentleman, an Oxford man as it turns out, and a former mayor of the pretty city of Portland. After all, one can’t really expect members of Congress to know what they’re talking about. That would set a dangerous precedent. And the airport, which is in a stunningly beautiful part of the East’s northern-most state, can’t be held accountable for his words. With newspapers in a state that is dependent on general aviation, though, maybe it’s a different story. After all, we can’t help wondering if the Maine moose would be truly perplexed at the site of a plane taxiing backwards.