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Planes are useful tools
January 25, 2011
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  • Hooray for Gov. Joe Manchin.

    I’m not talking about the politics of table games, taxes, highways or any other Mountain-State specific issue.

    I’m referring to his declaration of this month as “General Aviation Appreciation Month.”

    Manchin, as other West Virginia governors in recent years, knows well the use of the state’s Beech King Air for getting around. West Virginia isn’t exactly dotted with major international airports or major jet-capable airports. So, he gets around in the state’s turboprop business plane. It enables the governor to get up in the morning in Charleston, do some business there, then fly to the Northern Panhandle or the Eastern Panhandle for some appearances and meetings, then get back to Charleston before bedtime. One cannot drive across the state and achieve that. Only an aircraft can pull off the feat.

    In making declaration, Manchin notes the impact of general aviation on the economy in West Virginia and across the nation.

    West Virginia, for example, estimates it receives $616 million a year from general aviation, from employment and services, as well as in indirect impact.

    West Virginia added nearly 600 jobs in aviation in the first half of the decade, according to the state development office, including several manufacturing and repair facilities.

    Manchin, by the way, counts being a pilot among his many activities.

    West Virginia doesn’t hide the use of state aircraft, either. There’s a section of the state Department of Administration Web site that notes the work of state airplanes allow in a couple of hours what would be accomplished in West Virginia in one or two days of automotive travel.

    Those aboard the plane can comfortably prepare for the business ahead. In West Virginia, the general aviation aircraft, as noted above, access places where there is no commercial aviation (in other words, most of the state).

    So, kudos, Joe Manchin III, for displaying common sense, even while the federal elected officials keep bashing aviation as some kind of luxury for ultra-rich, bailed-out bankers.

    Planes aren’t toys for the rich. They’re tools, and they even can be employed to service taxpayers in an efficient manner.

    (Giannamore, a resident of Toronto, is business editor of the Herald-Star. His e-mail address is

    Date: 2011-01-17