By Curt Epstein
Alliance for Aviation Across America, a Washington, D.C.-based general aviation advocacy organization, has released an economic impact study detailing general aviation’s value across the nation. Using an interactive map on the association’s Web site (www.aviationacrossamerica.org), visitors to the site can scroll from state to state and view key statistics compiled over the past year about aviation-related jobs, airports and flight schools. As one of the group’s main goals is to enable grass roots aviation users to communicate their needs to elected officials, the map is also overlaid with congressional districts.
With a current membership of more than 4,500 pilots, aircraft owners, airport managers, elected officials, and local chambers of commerce, as well as most of the alphabet organizations including NBAA, AOPA, the Helicopter Association International and the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the donation-funded and mainly volunteer-staffed coalition has been outspoken against proposed industry-threatening legislation such as user fees and the Large Aircraft Security Program.
The organization has been busy quantifying the necessity of general aviation to many rural communities and small businesses in response to the negative perception of the industry. It recently brought together more than 70 mayors and elected officials from cities and towns across the country to sign a letter to President Obama conveying the importance of general aviation to their constituencies, in hopes that it will be on his mind when the subject comes up during future transportation legislation.