By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
General aviation airports and private aircraft have taken a beating in the press lately (click here if you missed it), but the industry is not taking it without a fight. This week, the Alliance for Aviation Across America unveiled a new tool for the defense of GA — an online compilation of data from each of the 50 states detailing the jobs, businesses, and other economic activity generated by all those little airports and aircraft. “We’ve been working for about six months to collect all this data,” AAAA spokeswoman Selena Shilad told AVweb on Tuesday. “So it’s not a direct response to the recent USA Today stories — but it is particularly important in light of that.” She said AAAA aims to communicate to the public, to lawmakers, and to the media that GA is a crucial element in our communities, supporting thousands of jobs and small businesses. Click here to view the new map, which allows users to look up local airports by state or by Congressional district.
“This is just the start of a big new campaign to educate the public,” said Shilad. The map will be an ongoing project and data will be updated periodically, she said. The nonprofit Alliance, formed in 2007, comprises more than 4,000 representatives from business, agriculture, FBOs, small airports, government, and charitable organizations. Members include AOPA, EAA, NBAA, the Air Care Alliance, and Helicopter Association International.