Summer in Nebraska means aviation

June 25, 2012

ground breaking ceremony

Among the attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony for Sky Werx Aviation were (from left to right) Rod Storm, Blair City Administrator, Darrell Podany, US Senator Mike Johanns Constituent Services Representative, Yasmina Platt, AOPA Regional Manager, Blair Mayor Jim Realph, Nebraska State Sen. Lydia Brasch, Blair Airport Authority member, and Geary Combs.

Aviation events that bring the public out to small airports to learn and enjoy are a hallmark of summer, and Nebraskans have been sharing in the fun.

General aviation generates $700 million in economic activity annually in Nebraska, supporting 6,000 jobs—and support from aviation-friendly municipalities helps make it happen, said AOPA Central Southwest Regional Manager Yasmina Platt during a visit to the Blair Municipal Airport.

paper plane competition

Platt spoke June 14 at a groundbreaking ceremony to launch construction of a new hangar for Sky Werx Aviation in Blair, an airport she described as “a gateway for recreational flying, flight training, and corporate aviation users in addition to accommodating cargo, the Nebraska Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, and search and rescue and medical flights among others.”

“With more than 3,600 Nebraska pilots and many others utilizing the state’s 84 public-use airports, the need for expanded capabilities and additional support facilities is vital to the prolonged viability of our nation’s community airports. Blair’s new hangar clearly illustrates the commitment of city leaders and private investors,” she said.

Platt also represented AOPA at the Nebraska Airfest and 2012 State Fly-In at Norfolk Regional Airport on June 16 to 17, where she taught a seminar titled “Can I Fly Light Sport Aircraft?” and discussed the Sport Pilot certificate, light sport aircraft, and the medical exemption petition submitted to the FAA by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Volunteer pilots from EAA Chapter 918 gave Young Eagles program rides to more than 120 youngsters age 8 to 17 during the weekend. While the young people waited their turns, Platt amused them with activities including foam and paper airplane competitions.

The pilots “touched a lot of kids’ lives,” Platt said. “It was exciting and motivating to see their huge smiles after flying.”

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.