May 17, 2012
By Jim Moore
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman put pen to paper May 16, officially recognizing the many ways that general aviation benefits his state and declaring May the state’s General Aviation Appreciation Month. In so doing, Heineman put Nebraska among the growing ranks of states that recognize the jobs, charitable contributions, transportation flexibility, and revenue generated by the aviation community.
In Nebraska, that contribution comes in the form of 5,300 jobs, many of them at the state’s 81 airports. More than 3,600 certificated pilots fly about 2,750 aircraft based in Nebraska, activity that generates more than $720 million annually for the state’s economy.
AOPA has been a prime supporter of state-level efforts to recognize GA, working with other aviation organizations, state transportation officials, and state-level aviation groups. Such was the case in Nebraska, and the benefits extend beyond lip service: States in which lawmakers have given GA official recognition frequently follow it up with aviation-friendly policies and statutes. Lawmakers in those states, when briefed on the basis for such proclamations, often gain a better understanding of the far-reaching impact of GA, which includes charitable flights for medical transportation, disaster relief, and animal rescue.
In April, Maine became the thirty-eighth state to recognize GA; with Nebraska joining the list, nearly eight in 10 states have done the same since 2010.
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