Former Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter received a “water-cannon salute” from airport firefighters as he returned to Boise from his final official trip on the state’s King Air B-200. The event marked the end of Otter utilizing the state fleet of business aircraft, an accident and incident-free 12-year period where the governor flew 840 hours, logged 204,000 miles and saved 2,820 hours of driving time which provided 352 additional days of productivity, according to state officials.
As a combat veteran in the Navy’s En Route Care program and air transport nurse for Duke and Vanderbilt’s Life Flight networks Ron Bolen can attest firsthand to the life-saving impact of general aviation. “Across the country, small and medium-sized airports support general aviation aircraft that provide access to medical services, disaster relief programs, business development opportunities, and industry growth to communities that need it the most,” Bolen wrote in an op-ed for the Andalusia Star-News.
The latest report from the New York Department of Transportation said Penn Yan-Yates County Airport (PEO), in the state’s Finger lakes region, was responsible for $52.8 million in economic impact in the area, ranking sixth among the other 67 general aviation airports in the state at the time the report was released. In addition to economic activity, the airport contributes to the local area by giving back to residents. The first “Penn Yan Airport Runway 5K” race held at the airport in May 2018, and raised $3,000 to support the New York State Sheriff’s Institute Camp on Keuka Lake.
As the executive director of the Wayne County Mississippi Economic Development District, Sean Dunlap is familiar with the challenges faced by rural communities when it comes to economic growth and infrastructure. “Local airports are an important part of the infrastructure for towns across our state,” he wrote. “There are 65 public-use general aviation airports throughout Mississippi, and each one of them plays an important role in supporting their communities.”
On Dec. 9, the Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA) participated in its Annual Holiday Charity Drive and VFW Airlift. The first year, 1,500 pounds of toys and other goods were delivered, said Kandi Spangler, CABA chairman and JetAviva sales director. “We thought that was a good turnout at the time. This year, we collected and distributed 10,000 pounds toys, food and other goods, using business and general aviation to deliver the goods to rural VFW families.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich highlighted the importance of the industry to the state by proclaiming December 2018 as General Aviation Appreciation Month. “General aviation airports in Ohio support 17,497 jobs, $688 million in annual payroll and contribute more than $1.8 billion to the state’s economy,” he wrote. “The state of Ohio has a significant interest in the continued vitality of general aviation, aerospace, aircraft manufacturing, educational institutions, aviation organizations, community airports and airport operators.”
The documentary “For Military Merit: Veterans Airlift Command” depicts the stories of the volunteers of the Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) in hopes of encouraging more professionals in the business aviation industry to assist the group. “Our hope for the video is that it touches potential volunteer pilots and other supporters and leads them to participate in the great mission of the VAC,” said Walt Fricke, the group’s chairman, CEO and founder. The documentary premiered at the VAC’s annual Hero Flight event, where Castle Aviation was recognized for conducting more than 100 VAC missions.
The VAC provides free air transportation to post 9/11 combat wounded and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.
Many of the plane owners who volunteer with us are also pilots who welcome the opportunity to perform a valuable service while maintaining their proficiency.
This is their story – the Veterans, the Pilots and the supporters. Sometimes harrowing, occasionally joyful, it is a story of adversity, and redemption.
As the home of the world’s largest retardant base, the Sacramento McClellan Airport (MCC) is raising money to support the Red Cross’s work assisting the thousands of individuals affected by the recent Camp Fire.
General aviation, including business aviation, is a vital economic contributor in cities and towns across the country, and in December city mayors in Florida and Ohio officially recognized the industry for the important role it plays. To date, hundreds of local officials from coast to coast have issued similar proclamations.