Michigan is known for manufacturing with a total annual output of over $90 billion. Here in Clare, we owe the founding of our airport to manufacturing.
For states like ours, located in the heart of the rust belt, general aviation is a critical tool for supporting manufacturers. There are over 11,000 manufacturing firms here in Michigan, and our network of 211 general aviation airports are here to support them. Years ago, one auto parts manufacturer built the grass strip that would become our local airport because they needed a fast and direct means to deliver parts to Detroit. Today, it continues and our airport continues to support industries and manufacturing across our region.
General aviation and local airports help businesses to transfer people and parts faster, and more directly, than cars, railways or commercial airlines so they can keep to a tight schedule to meet their set production goals.
The public benefits of general aviation are almost endless. Law enforcement uses it to help support their officers on the ground. There is a functional advantage to having eyes in the sky that can augment the work occurring on the ground. General aviation helps law enforcement cover a large area in a short time and see into blind spots, increasing officer safety. Within the medical field, general aviation is utilized from everything from transferring patients from one location to another to flying specialized doctors out to underserved communities. Here at the Clare Municipal Airport, I personally patrol the nearby natural gas pipeline keeping an eye out for any discolored grass, which indicates a leak.
General aviation airports serve an essential role in the growth of communities across America. As we continue to talk about the importance of infrastructure, and our roads, bridges and commercial airports, let’s not forget the importance of our smaller airports as well.
Manager, Clare Municipal Airport