While the ill-advised decisions of the auto company CEOs regarding their use of small aircraft has been detailed repeatedly (Nov. 21: “Companies deflect criticism over private plane use”), we should not let the actions of a very small minority tarnish the many benefits that these aircraft have on the businesses and communities of America.
The truth is that the vast majority of small, non-commercial aircraft – called “general aviation” – are not used by big corporations. In fact, 85 percent of the businesses that use general aviation aircraft are small- to mid-sized companies.
They serve farmers, ranchers, telecommunications firms, manufacturers and construction companies. They employ many thousands of citizens and provide millions in economic output for the backbone of our national economy. They operate from hundreds of communities that do not have airline service.
But their benefits do not end there. A great many pilots volunteer for aviation-based charities like Angel Flight, Mercy Flight, Lifeline Pilots, and Flights for Life, which serve those in need in all corners of our country.
These pilots fly critical and terminally ill patients to specialized treatment centers that may not be accessible or affordable otherwise. They provide disaster relief and conduct overflights promoting the protection of our environment.
Moreover, these pilots pay for the trip, the fuel and all additional costs out of their own pocket, providing an essential service to families in need.
It is disappointing to see that the many benefits of general aviation have been overshadowed by the foolish actions of a small group of CEOs.
We must not forget the true value these planes provide to residents all across the country.
Chairman and president
Air Care Alliance
Source: NASHUA TELEGRAPH