Should we rename HMB Airport after Jessica Dubroff?


Posted by on Tue, December 21, 2004

April 2006 will be the tenth anniversary of the plane crash that killed seven-year-old pilot Jessica Dubroff of Pescadero.  The crash took place during a storm, there were reports the plane was overloaded, and that the flight instructor, not the pilot, Jessica, was at the controls when the crash occurred.  As nearly 9 years have passed, many have forgotten the story of this bubbly young girl who always seemed to have a smile and who may not have consciously known she was following the footsteps of Amelia Earhart.  But unlike Amelia, who was never found again, Jessica is forever in our hearts.

I’d like to hear reactions from other Coastsider readers. Click "Read more" to see the rest of the letter.

Encouraged by her parents, who deep into the home schooling movement and some esoteric New Age philosophies, Jessica, who was not taught to fear, aspired to be the youngest pilot ever to fly across the United States, at the age of 8.  Her trip garnered a fair amount of media coverage, and National Geographic Magazine was interested in doing a story about her flight.  Accompanied by her father, and local flight instructor Joe Reid, Jessica made many friends along the way on her journey.  Sadly though, her plane crashed in Wyoming.  She is buried in Pescadero Cemetery, has a beautiful memorial there, some left her favorite candies, Snickers bars, there soon after her burial….However, her gravesite recently seems as though it is seldom visited are even cared for.

I think that a more fitting memorial than a forgotten grave at Pescadero cemetery is appropriate for Jessica.  Although her trip was a disaster, let us celebrate the enthusiasm and innocence of youth, the want of adventure, and hope for goodwill among all peoples.  Many on the Coastside cheered her on and were crushed by news of the accident.  She was completely innocent and wanted only to be an ambassador and role model for children everywhere.  Doesn’t she personify the upwardly mobile spirit of innovation prevalent throughout the coastside, with her courageous flight? 

As her last flight began at Half Moon Bay Airport, I feel that it would not be a bad idea to rename the airport after her!  The airport is currently not named for anyone, I cannot think of a more famous flyer from the Coast than Jessica.  I suppose if anyone was interested in seeing this idea a reality, you will join me in sending letters to the Board of Supervisors to rename Half Moon Bay Municipal Airport, "Jessica Dubroff Field".

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is an excellent collection of articles about Jessica at

Comment 1
Tue, December 28, 2004 11:51am
Eric Schiller
All my comments

I can’t jump on this particular bandwagon. There was a lot of controversy about the flight and whether such young people should be allowed to fly the plane at any time. In any case, the cause of the tragedy, whether pilot error or overloading, is not something to be memorialized by renaming the airport in response to an event which might simply have been reckless.

What message does it send: fly from here and maybe you’ll crash and die?

I’d rather see it named for one of our endangered species. I don’t approve of these memorials, unless someone has done great good for the community and might otherwise be forgotten. When I have to land in the “Ronald Reagan”, I feel like spitting on the floor (that’s the polite way of putting it).

What is the legacy of the Dubroff tragedy? That kids shouldn’t be flying planes? That planes should be flown properly? Don’t overload planes? It is sad that Jessica never had the chance to grow up and make a contribution to our area, but I don’t think it is appropriate to name an entire airport after her. Perhaps a room or building at the airport.

My only objection to the current name is that it reflects the hegemony of the City of Half Moon Bay, when it is really part of the Princeton/Moss Beach area.

Comment 2
Tue, December 28, 2004 12:57pm
Leonard Woren
All my comments

I totally agree with all of Eric’s comments.  (And why is our international airport called “San Francisco” when it’s not even in S.F.?)

Unless they donated it, I don’t believe in naming publicly owned property after people.

What an awesome idea to name the airport after Jessica Whitney Dubroff. She a national hero and her memory is still very much a hero to this nation in a time when we surely need one. 
I am sure people will have conflicting views for my suggestion but I ask you to please put aside your prejudice and stand on if children should be allowed to fly or even how Jessica was raised.
The simple fact of the matter is that she was a hero. A brave little girl who dared do something none of us would have dared to at her age.  She gave flying her all, gave us her all. She gave so much love, joy, and courage to fly and in that helped us smile for a few brief moments. It was the same smile that America smiled when Charles Lindbergh flew so long ago.
Jessica lived and loved the Half Moon Bay area. She became a hero there. She did not ask for any place to be named after her. She simply wanted to fly and be free.  We owe this young pioneer, this young dreamer recognition. With all the hog wash the media cooked and spun following her journey aside, let us recognize and honor the girl who flew and who called Half Moon Bay home.

Comment 4
Wed, October 5, 2005 5:10pm
All my comments

I agree with Eric Shiller. I remember quite well when Jessica and two other people died in a storm, when no one should have been flying. How sad that Jessica died in a flight motivated by fame and fortune for her parents. I feel that naming the airport after her would reawaken the controversy, and then make us relive a very mixed, emotionally difficult time. In addition, why can’t we let children simply be children? Not heros, not icons.
Surely, we can find a kind, giving citizen to honor with a

Lil Gluckstern

Just because Jessica was young, does that not make her a kind, giving citizen?  It is sad, very sad, the conclusion that you and the media and others have come to about Jessica. You have no idea how deeply you hurt her Mother or Jessica’s memory by assuming that Jessica flew because of her parent’s wishes, that Jessica did not know any better, or that Jessica wanted fame, or any other reason of greed and corruption.  Those traits are usually reserved for when we grow up, right? Why do you people try to assume you knew what was going on when you weren’t there? Jessica Mother is the only surviving person in this tragedy and only she can let us know what really happened. 
Why can’t we let children be children? The better question is why can’t we live and let live? Jessica obviously loved flying and it was not about fame. In fact she embarked on her journey even after the Guinness Book of World Records refused to recognize her. 
Around seven hundred people die in small plane craft crashes each year.  Most are due to pilot error including taking off in bad weather. 
Yet, you single out Jessica’s age for the cause of her accident. What of the hundreds of others? Your excuse is prejudice against Jessica.  She had completed the amount of flying experience required of ANYONE to pilot an airplane. 
I am sorry that most of you feel that an airport shouldn’t be named after a child because of your assumptions or prejudices. Why not change the name of the JFK airport because Kennedy was Catholic? Why not change the name of any airport because of your opinions of the person rather than the facts of the person?
Half Moon Bay Airport should be named after Jessica because she lived and died being an American and she practiced her American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness just as equally as any pioneer or leader who’s airport is named for.
Your assumptions of why Jessica flew should not decided the issue of the naming of this airport.  Unless you were there with her, I and anyone else here who wants to know or does know the truth will not find your opinions critical. 
I do not speak for Jessica’s Mom, but I personaly feel that you should visit her website at and there may you find the truth that you have lacked for nine years of unfounded opinion.
“Truth crushed to the earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again.”-Jefferson Davis

“Never do things others can do and will do if there are things others cannot do or will not do.”-Amelia Earnhart

“Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done. “-Amelia Earnhart

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward. “-Amelia Earnhart

Comment 6
Fri, October 7, 2005 12:21pm
All my comments

If perople didn’t rant, they would be more credible. My prejudice is not against youth, but their exploitation, as indeed you do, amd so many others.

Airports should be named after their location.  Period.  Other than the huge, really well-known airports, how is anyone supposed to know where an airport is when it’s named in any way other than by its location?  None of the followup posts here get anywhere close to making a compelling case for renaming Half Moon Bay Airport.  At least people know where that is, even though it should really be called the Moss Beach - El Granada Airport.

The controversy over what may or may not have happened is even more reason not to rename the airport.

Comment 8
Fri, October 7, 2005 2:21pm
All my comments


lilhmb,  that is a pretty wild accusation you make concerning exploitation.  Wild and false. First of all let me share with you the definition of exploitation. 
Utilization of another person or group for selfish purposes. To make use of selfishly or unethically
The persons who supported, knew, are inspired by, and believed in Jessica ARE NOT the ones who exploit her. Support, inspired, and believing in, are the opposites of exploitation.
However, YOU and the media have exploited Jessica Dubroff by turning her life and death into controversy, hysteria, and a blame game.  Instead of writing a memorial in the wake of Jessica’s tragedy and giving her family kindness and prayers, the media posted Jessica’s photos on every magazine and news hour screaming death, blame, fear, and lies. Ask yourself again, who exploited Jessica? 
I am not here to argue with you about whether children should be allowed to fly. I am only here to lend my support to those who believe an airport should be named after Jessica and have stated why I believe this.  Yet, instead of sticking to the discussion topic you have hinted that anyone inspired by Jessica’s flight is guilty of exploitation.  That was low.  You have given us a sermon, “let children be children.” You neither raised Jessica or knew her or her Mother so your opinion of what Jessica should or should not have been is insulting.
IDW’s first argument is credible. Perhaps airports should be named after their location.  Perhaps, but many are not. If all airports were named for their location then this discussion would have never been opened. But considering that naming an airport in honor of somebody is not against the rules, this idea had a foundation.
The fact is that Jessica Dubroff flew and shared with us her love for flying.  Because of her courage and the support from her parents and friends, many people are inspired.  In light of this, some have put forth the idea to name an airport after her.
You have a right disagree with her being a pilot at seven years old.  You are also entitled to believe that her family and friends should not have supported her wish to fly. Some people may agree with you on these counts just as some people have other opinions on things such as Catholics should not run for office or African Americans should not be allowed to go college.
Every one is entitled to their opinion whatever the facts may be.
I apologize to costalplan for my part in side tracking the topic of the discussion. Getting back to topic once and for all, I believe that the HMB Airport should be named after Jessica Dubroff.

“You have a right disagree with her being a pilot at seven years old.  You are also entitled to believe that her family and friends should not have supported her wish to fly. Some people may agree with you on these counts just as some people have other opinions on things such as Catholics should not run for office or African Americans should not be allowed to go college.”

This is probably the silliest false analogy I have ever seen.  Believing that Dubroff shouldn’t have flown is not equivalent to either religious discrimination or racism.


Regardless whether you view Dubroff as a heroine, or as an exploited child, the fact remains that her name is inextricably linked with the tragedy of her death in the public’s consciousness.

If you want to remember Dubroff, why not do it in a way that is meaningful?  Though it may seem a grand gesture, an airport name change helps no one; thus, it’s just a largely meaningless gesture.  Why not make a donation to charity in Dubroff’s name?  Sponsor a child in her name.  Those gestures actually mean something.  You’ll be changing someone else’s life for the better, and honoring Dubroff’s memory by helping others in her name.  On a lesser scale, one could even go clean up Dubroff’s grave if it seems “uncared for.”

In short, don’t opt for the easy and well-intentioned, but vaguely macabre, route of changing the airport’s name.  Instead, get out there and do something in memory of Dubroff: make a difference.

I agree with teach. that the analogy is false, and I find it offensive. Naturally those who knew Ms. Dubroff want to honor her, though in fact her accidental death prevented her from living a long and productive life. She died in an accicdent, and people should get over it.

To celebrate recklessness is, however, not the right way to go. Children should not be flying planes. They aren’t permitted to drive cars, after all.

Several commentators have remarked on locality, but in fact airports are not named for their precise location, but rather for the major city they serve. Thus SFO is entirely appropriate, but it isn’t clear to me that HMB is the primary city “served” by the airport.

I therefore suggest that a new name might be “Coastside Airport”, because it seems to me that it is a Coastside facility. If someone wanted to append the name of some famous Coastsider whose acts are worthy of such an honor, I’d still disagree on principle but it isn’t a big deal. MAybe we should just call it Maverick’s Airport?

However, names are far less important than the fact that the airport serves as a perfect example of the Bush administration’s incompetence. There is no security to speak of, and anyone could use it for terrorist purposes. Not that I believe we can defend all facilities against determined attackers, but it is clear that no effort whatsoever has been made, demonstrating the failure of the Heimland Securityverdienst set up by BushCo.

I’ve previously stated that I’m against renaming the airport because airports should be named after the area they serve.

This time I’m commenting on the security remarks above.  While I would never defend anything that the Shrub or his administration does, I will point out that HMB Airport is typical of most (85%?) municipal airports around the country:  no control tower and basically unattended.  HMB Airport has perimeter security, although it’s the “locks keep honest people honest” type of security.  But what would you do?  The real problem is that they probably don’t do serious background checks before issuing private pilot’s licenses, and the real risk is not what someone may do *AT* HMB Airport, but what they might do *elsewhere*, taking off from here or any other similar airport, or even a private airstrip (yes, those still exist; I used to live near one that had previously been used by Howard Hughes.)

To veer even farther off topic, the real problem is that no President is willing to actually deal with security of the national border.  Fix that and airport security becomes irrelevant.

I basically agree with you. It would be an enormous waste of money to put real security on municipal airports. In a free society, we have to assume that there will be some opportunity for evil acts of terrorism. Britain has known this for years. the British Soundly rejected Tony Blair’s proposals to reduce civil liberties in their country. They seem to understand Ben Franklin’s warnings better than we do.

Our nation’s border is too expensive to be subject to 100% security. Clearly we need to improve security, but it’s never going to be perfect. Keeping us safe is a matter for law enforcement, but they won’t be perfect either. So we just get on with our lives and try to take reasonable precautions.

Comment 14
Sun, November 13, 2005 6:52pm
Janet Zich
All my comments

Poor Jessica wasn’t a hero by any definition of the word. She was a bright, imaginative, by all accounts lovely seven-year-old who wanted to fly. What seven-year-old doesn’t? Jessica had the misfortune of being enabled by a number of adults—starting with her parents and extending to the local community and the national press—none of whom showed the judgment a seven-year-old might reasonably hope for from grownups.

Helping other children in Jessica’s name is a wonderful idea. Naming the starting point of her doomed, dumb trip after her is not.

Had she survived her childhood, Jessica would be 17 now. If the community wants to remember her in a constructive way, perhaps it should think where she might be now—community college, UC, flight school—and help support a child who survived.

Those of you worldwide who knew my daughter Jess even for a moment, naturally want to honor her. The rest of you who remain riddled with nothing but misinformation that the media so easily provided do not have access to Jess beyond the media’s misinformation unless you dare read my book.

I am invited everyone on the coastal planning counsel who raised this question of whether to rename the HMB Airport to The Jessica Dubroff Airport simply read my book, which I will provide for free to everyone on the counsel. Then you can make an informed decision not an emotional one fed by people who continue to have no clue. The rest of you who are daring enough to question your own beliefs about Jess and what her life & flight were about are invited to purchase my book at

Dear Coastal Planning Counsel, Here is my email address: <email>[email protected]</email> Simply tell me exactly how many of you there are on the counsel and I will immediately send you all free copies of my book which is in Ebook Form for Windows PC.

After reading my book, you may still hate how she was raised and yet, you will not be able to deny who Jess chose to be in this lifetime in all areas of her life. The day I measure up to the honor, integrity and sheer magnificence of my daughter Jess, will make me very happy indeed.

My Very Best to All Of You,


Jessica’s Mother

Ms. Hathaway -

I’m sure I speak for most here when I say that we’re very sorry for your loss.

I appreciate that you have written a memorial/biography of your daughter’s life, and find that both appropriate and touching.

I stand beside my earlier comment, though, that renaming the HMB airport would remind most of Jessica’s death—not her life—and would thus be inappropriate.  I also stand by my comment that actually helping someone else in your daughter’s name would be more meaningful than just changing the name of an airport.  This is not an “emotional” or “misinformed” comment; merely my opinion.

Most here are posting regarding their beliefs in regard to the name change, not in regard to the way Jessica was raised, etc. I don’t believe posters’ differences of opinion were a personal attack; that is certainly not my intention, nor do I believe it is the intention of most here. 

February 26, 2006

Hello everyone

I totally agree with the original poster. I love toddlers and children very much, every one of them, and I have observed children for over 10 years, in malls, restaurants, and preschools. Children are so precious, and for some reason, adults typically label children as “egocentric” or “selfish”, when in reality, they are FAR more compassionate, caring, kindhearted, forgiving and understanding than so many adults are. I was SO delighted to see this post by Coastal Plan.
Having had a BA degree in Geography, I am totally shocked by the fact that nothing in geography is named after children. No bridges, no tunnels, no highways, no airports, nothing.
We should not let this happen in the future.

Airports, bridges, tunnels, libraries, and freeways/highways should be all named after children too, not just adults. I see a lot of adults mentioning that children are important in our society, but it seems to be only lip service. In reality, I almost never hear about anything named after a child.

I have tried to propose several freeways be named after children that tragically died, as well as airports and bridges. Since all of you reading this are probably from the San Francisco Bay area (I am from San Jose, but I go to college in Turlock, in the Central Valley), you probably noticed all the freeway and highway signs in the Bay Area and beyond. Look at all our freeways. They are named after great war people like I-580 in Oakland is called the Douglas MacArthur Freeway, and I-880 is called the Chester A. Nimitz Freeway. And then how about the countless freeways named after senators and congressmen and legislators. I-580 from Castro Valley to Tracy is called the Arthur H. Breed Freeway. Who was Breed? A legislator. Highway 92 between San Mateo and Hayward is named the J. Arthur Younger Freeway. Who is he?? a legislator. Same thing with I-205 in Tracy which is called the Robert T. Monagan Freeway.
Or freeways are named after fallen police officers, like the Highway 85 from San Jose to Cupertino is named the “CHP Officer Scott M. Greenley Memorial Freeway” or Highway 99 in Modesto is called the Jerry Medina Memorial Freeway. Why not a Jessica Dubroff Highway
if not an airport??

Continued in my next posting

The rest of my post is here, because I did not have enough room to write all that.

Children deserve more than what they get right now. As far as I know, I have only heard of
one library named after a child, and that is 18 month old Blake Ryan Kennedy, who was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. The library is named the “Blake Ryan Kennedy Memorial Library” and it is in Amber-Poccaset Elementary School in Amber, Oklahoma (where Blake Ryan Kennedy lived). Other than that, I haven’t heard about airports, or freeways or anything named after a child, and this has become a pet peeve of mine.

Do you remember Baylee Almon, who was 1 years and 1 day old when she was cradled by Oklahoma City firefighter Chris Fields after the bombing, in that horrible photo that made it’s way onto every newspaper in the United States?? Why isn’t there something named for her?? A freeway, an airport, anything?? I tried proposing that Interstate 5 in Portland, Oregon be named the
“Lee J. Iseli Memorial Freeway” from the downtown Portland area to the Interstate Bridge.
Lee Iseli was a 4 year old who was killed in 1989 when a serial killer named Westley Allan Dodd kidnapped him. Since he was from Portland, I thought my idea was a great idea. Or why not name the Portland International Airport after him, renaming it “Lee J. Iseli Portland International Airport”—I mean Portland International Airport doesn’t even have a name
right now. I’m sure all of you have heard of
3 year old Stephanie Kuhen, who was killed in
September 1995 in Los Angeles when her father
turned on a wrong street in a gangland area near Dodger Stadium. Her brother was shot in the foot, and she was shot in the head. I have thought about proposing naming Highway 110 from Dodger Stadium to Pasadena as the “Stephanie
Kuhen Memorial Freeway”. How hard would it be
to actually put down on the freeway overhead:
Stephanie Kuhen Memorial Freeway and then under it, Pasadena. Our children in our nation deserve better than this - what is happening right now.
Stephanie Kuhen deserves something too (her killers are now serving 54 year terms in prison, and they will only be paroled at the earliest after 85% of their sentence is completed).

Jessica Dubroff should be honored without a question, and I think that renaming Half Moon
Bay Airport after her is a great idea. It should be callled “Jessica W. Dubroff Memorial Airport”
in her memory. And there should be a big picture of her in the airport terminal and the name of the airport should be visible on the outside of the terminal too. Jessica was a pioneer in the aspect that she tried to do something that no other 7 year old has done before, to go across the United States. We should be proud of her and what she accomplished, even if it wasn’t a success entirely. Never forget the children. That’s what we all say, but when the time comes, the airport, the freeway, the park, the library is all named after some adult. I can’t stand that. I am going to eventually find a way to make these things happen. We give children and toddlers much less credit than they actually

I almost cried when I saw this post by Coastal Plan, because I was looking for something like this for a long time. I never forgot about Jessica Dubroff…I haven’t heard her name mentioned in a long time, but I never in reality forgot about her and her tragic flight.

I totally agree with the planner, and I think that this should go to the government level of San Mateo, a judge, or legislature in San Mateo County and the HMB aiport should definitely be renamed the “Jessica W. Dubroff Memorial Airport”.

God bless her and all children

Warm regards
Preston from Turlock, California
<email>[email protected]</email>

I do have one more thing to add

here is the newspaper article about the Blake Ryan Kennedy memorial library in Amber, Oklahoma.
Elementary school students at Amber-Poccaset Elementary School pass by Blake’s large toddler picture every day. It is a great honor to a
sweet toddler

So yes, we should name the airport in Half Moon Bay after Jessica Dubroff!! A2.pdf

Comment 20
Tue, February 28, 2006 8:52pm
Cid Young
All my comments

Airports should be named according to the locality they serve?  (...Like these?)

JFk & La Guardia Airport       (New York,NY)
McCarran International           (Las Vegas)
John Wayne             (Irvine-Newport Beach)
Regan National & Dulles     (Washington D.C)
O’Hare & Midway                 (Chicago)
George Bush Intercontinental       (Houston)
Heathrow & Gatwick               (London)
Charles de Gaulle, Orly, & Le Bourget   (Paris)
Schiphol                   (Amsterdam)
Rickenbacker               (Columbus, OH)
Will Rogers World Airport     (Oaklahoma City)

I’m in favor of re-naming it after Jessica. She as special.


Re: Jessica Dubroff Airport or not

Dear Earlier Poster with the name of Nicole who said: “I stand beside my earlier comment, though, that renaming the HMB airport would remind most of Jessica’s death—not her life—and would thus be inappropriate.”

You may in fact be right that it would be “INAPPROPRIATE” to rename your HMB Airport after my daughter Jess. It all depends on where Half Moon Bay’s Heart is at.

Inappropriate or Appropriate. What a lousy question. This question is simply not big enough. How in God’s Name can you speak of whether or not it is appropriate to rename your airport after any one. Renaming any airport is a cause for celebration. It is an honor placed on a human being of your choice. And yet, the best you can do is try to decide whether it is Appropriate or not to honor my daughter Jess. If this choice in your heart and your mind is this difficult then don’t bother. Renaming your airport in the wrong spirit will not be the right thing to do for Jess or for You. 

The bigger question to ask of yourselves is “not” whether you should rename your airport after Jess. The question before you is: Do you have what it takes to honor her. Can you do her justice as a human being.  Are you big enough in heart and mind to comprehend the magnitude of her, the brilliance of her, the tenacity of her, the fearlessness of her in the exact the way the rest of the world has been doing for the past TEN YEARS.

Jess won the hearts of men, women and children worldwide. She changed the lives of the people she knew long before you noticed her. If you can’t see past her death as the rest of the world has successfully done, then what would your motives be in renaming your airport after her.

What truly amazes me is that your Half Moon Bay Community was blessed with the successful part of their “Sea to Shining Sea Flight” and still since December 2004, you’re having a difficult time in your own minds about whether to rename your airport after her. Yet in great contrast to where your heart is at, Look at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Jess, Joe & Lloyd were out of towners, visited Cheyenne for less than a day, died simultaneously in their streets, narrowly missing their homes and still Cheyenne honors them.

Cheyenne did not know Jess, Joe or Lloyd from Adam and still Cheyenne welcomed them with open arms on both their arrival and their departure. Amazingly so, even in their death Cheyenne celebrated Jess, Joe & Lloyd’s good, good souls for having lived even in the face of bad press. All you hear from Cheyenne since the day Jess, Joe & Lloyd arrived in 1996 is the celebration of Jess, Joe and Lloyd in how they speak of them and how they refer to them. They do so with reverence.

Jess did not have Cancer to overcome, or Epilepsy to Outrun nor did she have any disability to brace herself against in order to live her life. She was not a victim of 9-11 or the Oklahoma Bombing. She was simply a person living her life without compromise, educating herself to the enth degree on her own terms and she died living what she loved with those she loved.  This is what captured people’s heart in the first place. Jess continues to be a celebration of life for people worldwide. A celebration of being self-made, self-directed, self-educated, self-reliant and if she bypassed anything in her life, She was fortunate enough to have bypassed being what America so irrelevantly calls a “kid”. 

The struggle I hear through these posts shows that you simply have no idea how many lives Jess has changed by Jess living until she died nor how many lives she continues to change since her death, for all good that exists, exists in children and that is exacting what people saw in her, that is exactly what they celebrate in her and that is exactly what makes them still smile at the thought of her.

Most of all, if I have to explain what Jess continues to be in people’s hearts and mind worldwide, then it truly is not “APPROPRIATE” for you to bless your airport with her name for you will fall short in representing her for generations to come. Cheyenne on the other hand has earned using Jessica’s name in any way they see fit from the fact that they truly know “her”, love “her”, honor “her” in ways that equally honors them. Cheyenne has yet to fall short in any matter concerning Jess, Joe or Lloyd.

To be continued in Next Post…

The Continuation is here…

Do you know that every year the People of Cheyenne vote what the most popular event of the entire year is for them and religiously, every single year their Frontier Days Event comes in first, hands down every single time. And yet in 1996, the people of Cheyenne voted Jess, Joe and Lloyd’s visit as Number 1. Imagine a people with hearts so big that in spite of Jess, Joe and Lloyd’s death in their city, they still voted being with Jess, Joe and Lloyd’s as Number 1 next to their revered Frontier Days.  Imagine the magnitude of the hearts of the Cheyenne People to do so. Cheyenne does not live in a forward thinking, New Age, California Mindset about life and death. What they do do is value people while they live and after they die. Honest to God, it is far more fitting to have Cheyenne, Wyoming rename their airport after my daughter Jess than you in your current mindset.

For what it’s worth, renaming any airport after Jess is more fitting than you know, had you known about her life. On the day of Jessica’s Birth, out of the blue and in great celebration, small aircrafts entered her life and then continued to show up in her life. Jess knew that flight was going to be with her, her entire life and she rightfully said, “I’m going to fly til I die”.  Which in your current mindset might mean sheer recklessness and yet, for Jess it was simply the truth. She loved everything about flight and flying.

I am all for your renaming your airport to Jessica Dubroff Airport without the memorial part put in, “if” that is where Half Moon Bay’s Heart is At. For Jess still brings a smile to people worldwide. The Bottom Line is: Are you up to the task of Celebrating & Honoring Jessica Whitney Dubroff in ways that honors you as a community. If yes, go for it. If not, simply drop the question.

Lisa Blair Hathaway,

Jessica’s Mother
<email>[email protected]</email>

Yes, airports should be named after the area they serve.  Just because you can supply a laundry list of airports named after famous people doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do.  (“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”)  I don’t even know all of those names, and at least 2 in that list don’t even deserve a dog kennel named after them.  Naming public works after people is just too controversial, as the number of comments to this article proves.  I’ll settle for requiring a 2/3 vote of approval of all people within a certain distance of the public work to be renamed.

RE: Jessica Dubroff Airport (To honor or not to honor)

In December 2004, Someone from the coastsider planning commission has raised the question of whether to rename the Half Moon Airport after my daughter Jessica Dubroff. My question is, “Where is Half Moon Bays Heart At” and “How American Are You” in regard to this renaming question.

There have been some posts about this renaming question on the coastsider website. I have posted as well. It will take a day or so for last nights post to be cleared for posting.

My question to you, the Half Moon Bay Review is… Are the people of Half Moon Bay aware that this renaming questiion has been raised. To not rename the airport after Jess would be an opportunity missed especially when the rest of the world has been celebrating her for Ten Years Now. Half Moon Bay has an opportunity to honor one of their own. Had they recommended renaming their airport the “Joe Reid Airport “, I am all for it for Joe served your community very well in many Half Moon Bay Arenas.

Would it work for your paper, The Half Moon Bay Review, to publicly ask the Half Moon Bayers where their heart is at. Do they want to have the honor of honoring Jess for having lived, for having loved, for having stepped up to the plate without any fear at all and flew.

Would re-erecting the Twin Towers be celebrating terrorism. Of course not, We celebrate Fallen Americans who were in the process of living their lives.

Jessica Dubroff is a Fallen American and celebrating her would honor your community as Cheyenne and the rest of the world has been doing for Years. The added fact that Jess was also a child means that we equally value children as Fallen Americans.

Jess without a disease to spur her on, lived beautifully, loved greatly and shined without a pause and she blessed your Half Moon Bay Community with her presence and her passion for flight itself. Therefore, how can there be any hesitation in this matter of renaming your airport and what does it say about where your heart is at if you don’t.

When we celebrate Amelia Erhardt, not one of us is celebrating the fact that Amelia knowingly tossed critical, life saving, navigational equipment on her last flight to lighten her load. Not one of us is celebrating the fact that she died.

Americans have a generous heart, Americans celebrate Fallen Americans regardless of all the irresponsible debris that can be mustered.

When we honor and celebrate 9-11 Fallen Americans, no one is celebrating Terrorism nor are they encouraging it. So Half Moon Bay, How American are you. How big is your heart. Is their room in your heart to honor and celebrate a Fallen American who happened to be far more American in Spirit than child.

I am asking Half Moon Bay to step up to the plate and rename their airport to Jessica Dubroff Airport to honor another Fallen American who also happened to be a Child. And in doing so, you honor not only yourselves and your community, you honor children, and by honoring children you dignify their existence and that is to be applauded.

Jessica still brings a smile to people worldwide and they are still very, very proud of her.

All My Best to You,

Jessica’s Mother
<email>[email protected]</email>

Wonderful Idea! Well said.

Cid Young

I have 8 Condolence Letters that are PRO-JESS and will contribute greatly to the tone here. These letters represent individuals from very different walks of life. Each one expressing the way they remember Jess. You are welcome to contact me by email [email protected] or perhaps Barry Parr here at Coastsider if he does not mind, in order to get a copy of these letters in PDF emailed to you.  These letters are from:

(1) Mexico - 4 Young Children;
(2) Rhode Island - A Dominican Priest who knew Jess during her paper route days;
(3) California - EAA Young Eagles Student Pilot;
(4) North Carolina - A Complete Stranger via the Internet;
(5) San Francisco - 86 Year Old Skydiver
(6) New York - Kevin W. Cosgrove
(7) Los Angeles - Combat Veteran
(8) Massachusetts - Someone’s Grandfather

Patty Fisher, a Peninsula Columnist from the San Jose Mercury News (650) 688-7510, contacted me to say that she has been following these posts and may do a column on this renaming question. This is part of her email explaining that there may be new policy approved on naming county buildings: “I thought the 10th anniversary would be good time to address the airport naming issue, especially since the county is now considering a new policy on naming county buildings and property. Although the policy hasn’t been released yet, my understanding from talking to county supervisors is that it will say that buildings, etc., should be named after people who “made a substantial contribution to the county in some way’’—I’m assuming they mean a civic contribution, not a monetary one.”

So, whether you are required to rename your airport after someone you value or you rename your airport from the fact that you choose to, I recommend the following names in the following order: The Joe Reid Airport; The Joe Reid Jessica Dubroff Airport; The Dubroff Reid Dubroff Airport. The Jessica Dubroff Airport. The good news for you is, I do not get to choose on this matter. This is a vote for HMBay Residents only. What I can do and am doing is offer support on Jess, Joe & Lloyd’s behalf while you have the pleasure of deciding for yourselves whether or not to rename your airport and who to honor if you do.

Yes, I would most love the airport named after Jess, Joe and Lloyd since they lived backing everything bright and brilliant about Jess. And yet, knowing Joe and especially knowing Lloyd, they would want your airport named solely after Jess to emphasize all that continues to be bright and brilliant about all children everywhere from the fact that All children are bright and brilliant; All children have callings early on; All children are naturally accountable and educate in themselves when given the room and the resources to do so.

The fact that one-leg of Jessica’s Flight resulted in their simultaneous death speaks for itself and does so loud & clear for generations to come. Which means that the fine line between life & death is ever present especially for pilots. If you do choose to rename your airport after Jess, the bottom line for all flights in and out of The Jessica Dubroff Airport will be for Sound Take-offs, Sound Landings by making Sound Choices in Sound Aircrafts while thoroughly enjoying yourself in the process.

My Best to Each of You,

Jessica’s Mother

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  The letters are now online as a 5.5 MB PDF file. ]

God Bless Jess, Joe & Lloyd’s good, good souls.
God Bless All Children Everywhere.
God Bless All Posters Here.
God Bless All Media.
God Bless Us All.

Jessica’s Mother

May God Bless the life and spirit of Jessica Dubroff.  May God bless everyone she inspired, empowered, and remembers. May God bless her Mother, Lisa Hathaway. She raised her Daughter in life. Today she continues to raise her memory.

I have posted here a few times before. I concede that I do not have the power to convince those who are set by their narrow or morbid views. 
I will write now, only what I know and understand is right. 

The Half Moon Bay Airport should and ought to be named after Jessica Dubroff. Jessica’s Mother, Lisa Hathaway gave the reasons. And I do not feel that anybody has more right to decide this issue than her. 

Though most of us have never met her Daughter, Jessica, many of us were so inspired, moved, and even changed by what little we knew of her in what little time she came and so suddenly left our lives.

Jessica entered most of our lives on April 10th, 1996 and left it the following day. In remembrance and tribute to that one moment we knew her, your airport should be renamed to honor Jessica.
For that one moment was filled with courage, freedom, life, and joy. The moment and the flyer showed each of us an American dream and an American spirit as true as the heroes of our past who also perished in an act of greatness.

We are blessed that Lisa Hathaway has come to this forum to share her encouragement to honor our hero, her daughter. Where we had but one moment with Jessica, Lisa was blessed to share millions with her. So, who better to decide how and why Jessica should be honored?

To those who disagree with the renaming of the airport, I feel pity rather than understanding.  Like much of the media who covered Jessica’s story in the end, you choose only to see her passing rather than her life.  Does the JFK Airport or Lincoln Tunnel remind you only of how these two Americans died? Or do, like most of us remember them for what they did?

We ask that the Half Moon Bay Airport be renamed for Jessica Dubroff not because she died in a plane crash but because she flew. And this should be honored because despite society’s opinion that she should have stayed at home playing with toys rather than flying Jessica flew without boundary. Just as John Glenn flew to space in 1998 even though society believed he should have been at home collecting his social security.

In the past society has put barriers on peoples’ ages, genders, and colors of skin.
Yet, there have been a few Americans with freedom and joy in their hearts breaking boundaries. Like those heroes, Jessica did not fly to break any barrier. 
She flew for the love of flying. Jesse Owens ran because he loved running. 
Let us remember and honor this person who at age seven piloted a plane.
Let us bless and pay tribute to someone who reminded us that in America, any dream can come true, anything is possible, and in this country we are free to live and be whatever we choose.

Thank you all for reading what I think is fair and right for the Half Moon Bay Airport. May God bless you.
Thank you, Lisa Hathaway.
Thank you, Jessica Dubroff

For those of you who want confirmation about who stills ~ Remembers Jess ~ outside of Pescadero/Half Moon Bay Area simply visit…

and YOU WILL SEE a list of the TOP COUNTRIES who visit daily from all over the world. Last July’s count (2005) was over 61 different countries.

I hear from the newspaper that there is a meeting tonight about the renaming ordinance. I am sure your mind will be stretched and your heart strings pulled to both sides of the question.

Since the renaming question arose it was and continues to be such a clear ~ Yes ~ that moves through me. I have been all for it being renamed to the “Jessica Dubroff Airport” from the fact that I see the fit; I see the fact that people young and old continue to be in awe of Jess; and I see the honor & recognition it will bring your community for generations to come.

I am also quite aware of the fact that you may not be up to the task of honoring Jess in such a prestigious way. What ever your decision, I am sure you will make the best choice for you and that’s what matters. Meanwhile, I am grateful for   your truly being there for Jess, Joe and Lloyd during their successful take-off. They left in great spirits and with a full heart knowing they were backed by you, you gave them that and with my whole heart I thank you.

My Best to All of you,

Jessica’s Mother

Dear Poster Zac…

I applaud you for pointing out the fact that Jess in life and even now in death still inspires people who simply caught one moment of her or her story, people who never even met her.

At the same time Zac, it is important that you know how much I disagree with your stand that I, as Jessica’s Mother, should be the only one to decide this renaming question. At Best, to ask my blessings is the only importance that I should be granted here, and they already have that. Half Moon Bay gets to choose solely on this issue for themselves and that’s how it should be. The rest of us continue to have value here. We are keeping who Jess chose to be “true to her” so Half Moon Bay can choose well for themselves based on very accurate information.

If it was solely up to me to rename the Half Moon Bay Airport to the Jessica Dubroff Airport, I would have done it already. I would have done it in the spirit of honoring All Children Everywhere in ways Jess would have wanted, had she known such an opportunity were to present itself.

I would have done it to encourage life not death.
I would have done it to encourage Tools Over Toys in all arenas of life that Children enter.
I would have done it to encourage flight lessons for children who wanted them, and done so in all sounds ways in order to make them increasingly more present to the task at hand and increasingly more alive in the face of a potentially deadening act such as a missed moment during flight.
I would have done it to honor the community that supported her.
I would have done it to thank Jess for living life without compromise; for shining without a pause in a world that is full of both compromise and pause.
I would have done it to encourage everything bright and brilliant in every single child.
But that’s me.

Zac, I know you intend to honor Jess by referring to her as a Hero and to her flight as Her Dream. However, I would not rename the airport to encourage DREAMS nor to make Jess a HERO, for Jess would not want any part of either. Jess did not call her flight her dream, the media did that for her in order to create the exact spin they wanted for their articles. Also, Jess was not raised to believe in HEROES. She was raised on Real people living Real lives making Hard Choices in the face of Great Adversity such as Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Gandhi and so many more. Yes, Jess was raised most on Black History.

Our children do not have to be pumped up with HEROES nor DREAMS to inspire them. They have to have real live 7 year old people who live with honor & integrity to the nth degree as Jess did, a 7 year old person who was far more American in Spirit than Child. That’s the gift to be shared with children, gifts that will knock the socks off of the rest of us.

To the Rest of You, Our Children are our future. It’s high time we honor them as if this were true. You have the opportunity to do so “here & now” beginning with the Jessica Dubroff Airport and not with some half measure simply to shut me up. I invite you to rename your airport and to do so without a single compromise, for Jess knew no compromise, Ask Anyone in Pescadero.

My Very Best to You,

Jessica’s Mother

Ms. Hathaway:

<<Dear Earlier Poster with the name of Nicole who said: “I stand beside my earlier comment, though, that renaming the HMB airport would remind most of Jessica’s death—not her life—and would thus be inappropriate.” [...] You may in fact be right that it would be “INAPPROPRIATE” to rename your HMB Airport after my daughter Jess.>>

It’s not a matter of “right” or “wrong.”  It’s a matter of opinion, and mine is that renaming would be inappropriate; yours is that it would not.  We’ll have to agree to disagree.

<<Inappropriate or Appropriate. What a lousy question. This question is simply not big enough. How in God’s Name can you speak of whether or not it is appropriate to rename your airport after any one.>>

Again, my opinions are my own, and they are statements, not questions.  I am not questioning whether it would be appropriate to rename the airport; in my mind, the question is already answered. 

<<The bigger question to ask of yourselves is “not” whether you should rename your airport after Jess. The question before you is: Do you have what it takes to honor her. Can you do her justice as a human being.  Are you big enough in heart and mind to comprehend the magnitude of her, the brilliance of her, the tenacity of her, the fearlessness of her in the exact the way the rest of the world has been doing for the past TEN YEARS.>>

I don’t think these are the questions at all.  These may be the questions as seen by one who is viewing the issue through a refractive lens of grief, but I don’t believe your questions address the fundamental issue: whether or not to rename _the airport_.  The issue is not one of being “big enough”, or “having what it takes,” etc. 

Simply put: no one is saying that you shouldn’t honor your daughter’s memory, or that her memory shouldn’t be honored by those who choose to do so.  Some of us are merely expressing the opinion that, to our minds, _renaming the airport_ is not an appropriate gesture, given the circumstances of Jessica’s death. 

The general tone and substance of your posts suggests that you are still dealing with your own grief and anger.  I don’t doubt you are; I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child, a daughter.

Again, I stand by my earlier comments, and I wish you all the best in your endeavors toward remembrance and healing.


I apologize for double-posting, but this will most likely be my last post on the subject, so I ask your brief indulgence.

I’m ending my participation in this discussion for two reasons: first, I’ve made my stance on the issue clear, and I don’t believe further repetition of statements already made will change the minds of those who don’t agree with me, just as their repetition will not change mine. It’s been a lively and interesting discussion, and I’ve enjoyed it, but—second—I also believe that it’s a discussion that’s ended, no matter what we say.

Patty Fisher at the San Jose Mercury News (referenced in one of Ms. Hathaway’s earlier posts) writes, in her “Debating best memorial for child pilot” (03/29/06) that County Airports Manager Mark Larson had not been asked about renaming the airport, and wasn’t even aware that some were debating the issue.  She further comments that “Supervisor Rich Gordon, who represents the coast communities on the county board, said no one had approached him about the idea, but he doubted it would get very far.”  As the rules for naming public structures _have_ subsequently been made much more strict in their qualifying criteria, Gordon’s prediction has become reality; there is little chance the airport will be renamed for Dubroff under the current criteria.

Thus, I believe the discussion to be over, and my part in it as well.  I wish you all the best, and will leave you with the final few lines of Fisher’s article, which I believe sum up the opinions of several of us here:

“But I’m with those who think a proper memorial would remind people of her life, not her death. A scholarship fund for Coastside kids, perhaps, to pay for college—or flying lessons.

If Jessica had lived, she’d be 17 now. Old enough to get her pilot’s license. Old enough to drive a car. Old enough to know that sometimes the best dreams are worth waiting for.”