To the editor:
When I first got my pilot’s license 22 years ago, I knew flying would be an important part of my life. What I didn’t realize was that general aviation would touch so many aspects of my life – from supporting my business and family farm, to helping me to give back to my community through charitable flying.
My company, Sprague-Killeen, uses business aviation to fly employees to clients and educational seminars across the country. This gives our business a competitive advantage that we couldn’t have otherwise.
And I am not alone. Across the state, companies like mine support 37,800 jobs and an economic output of over $7 billion.
In addition, as a pilot with Angel Flight East, I have the opportunity to give back and help patients in need. One teenager I flew several times had a serious stomach disorder that required life-saving treatment from a research hospital in Baltimore. He needed to get back and forth regularly, but his condition prevented him from traveling for more than 2 hours at a time. Using general aviation and flying into smaller airports meant that we could get him the care he needed.
Some people in Washington DC however, continue to push proposals to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system.
The biggest problem with this proposal is that it is Congressional oversight of our public aviation system that protects all of these critical services and use of small airports and aircraft, along with routes to small and mid-sized communities.
Our public air transportation system supports communities and companies of all sizes – and critical care. Let’s keep it that
Dwight Coombe is the owner and President of Sprague-Killeen, a volunteer pilot for over 22 years, and a member of the Alliance for Aviation Across America.