Bismarck – When we think about airplanes – it’s usually the kind that we board at the airport to get away for a while.
This month, in North Dakota, we’re celebrating another kind -the kind that gets much less attention, and is doing great things for our economy without us even realizing it.
Governor Doug Burgum proclaimed March “General Aviation Appreciation” month.
It makes sense, because general aviation – or private airplanes – pack a positive punch on the economy in our state.
“The misconception of most people in our community is that the airport is for airlines only -” says Jon Simmers, CEO, Bismarck Aero Center.
According to Simmers, that’s only a tiny portion of the economic drive of an airport.
“When businesses look to come and invest in a community like Bismarck- like Mandan – one of the first things that they look at is the airport,” he says.
And the opportunity for private airplanes.
& The Bismarck Aero Center plays host to over 120 of these for businesses in North Dakota.
“A clinic, a construction company, maybe an insurance agent…” says Simmers.
Some of those flying these private planes, may surprise you. Its not the big businesses…
Instead its planes supporting our biggest industry in the state. Agriculture.
“80 to 85 airports across the state have tremendous ag activities,” says Simmers.
“They need to have an airplane come in, spray for them, take care of the fungus on the wheat…” says Steve Iglehart, Owner, Operator, Ag Business.
They say using airplanes in several aspects of farming is the most efficient route you can take.
“Speed is the main thing – you can get somewhere quick,” says Iglehart.
“The efficiency is unbelievable,” says Kaelin Schneider, Lead Line Tech, Bismarck Aero Center.
Simmers says with 125 private planes operating in Bismarck alone-
The Aero Center is giving the community an economic boost that’s much bigger than we realize.
“Can their business function at a high level in our community? That starts with airport access,” says Simmers.
Simmers also told me that the Aero Centers in Bismarck and Mandan alone provide 2,000 jobs for engineers, pilots, etc.
He strongly encourages anyone who is interested in mechanics or flying, to check out the Aero Center and see where they fit in.
Click the link below for more.