Oct. 9, 2018

Acknowledgement of aviation’s contribution to the communities it serves is key to building the support for aviation as a whole. It takes many forms, including specialty license plates, and two of newest are now available in Colorado and Oklahoma.

“Creating a specialty plate does more than recognize aviation’s contributions,” said Steve Hadley, NBAA’s Southwest regional representative and director of regional programs. “It is an opportunity for the different aviation organizations within the state to join together as a team working toward a common goal.”

The Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA) began its effort to create a specialty plate four years ago, said Vice Chair Chris Swathwood, and the governor signed it into law in 2017. Chris Glaser, a graphic artist who’s worked in aviation for 10 years, designed the plate with aircraft that represent different facets of aviation.

To begin, the effort needed at least 3,000 petition signatures, said Swathwood. This collaborative endeavor enlisted the Colorado Pilots Association, the Colorado General Aviation Alliance, the Colorado Agricultural Aviation Association, the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

With a one-time $50 fee, the new plate clearly states the plate’s overall goal: “Support Aviation.” A collateral benefit is that it introduced CABA to the legislative process in Colorado, said Swathwood, an arena in which CABA wanted to be more involved on aviation’s behalf.

With a $44 billion impact, aviation and aerospace is Oklahoma’s second largest economic engine. To recognize this contribution, and to help fund the aviation infrastructure and education programs responsible for a competent aviation workforce, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission requested the plate. State Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa), a pilot, led the legislative effort.

In 2017, the governor signed the legislation, that reads, in part, “such plates shall be designed and issued to any person wishing to demonstrate support for the Oklahoma aviation industry and to promote awareness of aviation and aerospace.” Oklahoma artist Christopher Nick designed the plate that recognizes civilian, commercial, and military aviation. It costs $35 annually, with $24 going to the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.