Lawmakers take the flight controls

April 12, 2010

State lawmakers got a chance to take the controls and fly over the National Mall—virtually—at a Washington, D.C., event hosted by AOPA and other aviation organizations April 8.

More than 200 state legislators and staff from across the nation came together for a reception following the National Conference of State Legislatures 2010 Spring Forum to find out more about the excitement, utility, and economic importance of general aviation. Many got a taste of the excitement in a full-motion Redbird flight simulator.

“It is both fun and effective to be able to present GA's message in a forum like this,” said AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Mark Kimberling. “With this amazing Redbird simulator we can not only tell legislators about the vast network of GA airports in and around their district, but we can actually show them as we fly over. So we really got these legislators thinking positively about GA in their states and even sparked an interest in taking flight lessons among some of them in the process—a win-win.”

AOPA sponsored the event, with cosponsors the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, and the National Business Aviation Association. AOPA’s regional representatives, who were in town for their annual spring meeting, took the opportunity to build relationships with lawmakers who influence aviation-related legislation in their areas.

The association continues to meet with state decision-makers and monitor aviation-related legislation in all 50 states; the event aids in these efforts and had the additional benefit of allowing legislators to experience the allure of flight for themselves. Lawmakers were also able to visit many multimedia stations illustrating the excitement of GA flying and the vital role GA plays in many state economies.