Generally airports are considered a hazard. All airports in the Netherlands, big and small, receive huge amounts of complaints about the noise of the airplanes flying over. Before I visited Como a couple weeks ago, I could hardly imagine an airport potentially being a positive thing. In Como however it seems it is.
Let me explain. Como is a small Italian city about an hour north of Milan. The lake the city lies at, Lake Como, is heavily used by all kinds of boats, but also by Aero Club Como. On a good day small planes continuously fly off, either to give tourists another perspective on the landscape or just for the sports of it. Instead of using an airstrip the planes take off from the lake.
The fascinating thing is that on the lake the airplanes have an equal place next to the speedboats and the hydrofoil ferry’s. The airplanes and speedboats have a similar roar. And like the hydrofoil ferry the airplanes need large stretches of the water to gain speed. That is the combination: noise and speed. (The roar of a Ferrari is common here too).
With the airplanes Lake Como is a more lively place. The planes provide the lake with a spectacle. Probably because of this, the hanger of Aero Club Como is still located just outside the old city center, right next to the soccer stadium in the middle of the city.
I wonder if more lakes around the world could be enlivened by small airports like this. I also wonder whether the idea of the lake airport could be expanded by allowing small carriers to land there too, supporting the creation of a regional airline network. The great advantage is that since the landing takes place on water, there is no airstrip that needs to be lengthened.
P.S. Lake Como is continuously cleaned by a boat-kind-of-machine. How many years will it take before enlarged versions of this machine will start cleaning up our oceans from plastic? And could such machines be helpful in cleaning up leaked oil?