September 12, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
Proclamations recognizing the role general aviation plays to support the health, safety, and prosperity of the community at large have been issued by governors in Oklahoma and New Mexico, where a month of celebratory aviation activities were in progress as part of the state’s centennial observance.
In Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin declared August 2012 the state’s Aviation and Aerospace Appreciation Month, issuing a proclamation noting the $1.2 billion impact of general aviation on the economy of the state, with 8,000 pilots and 11,000 aircraft operating from 139 public-use airports.
Throughout September, celebrations in New Mexico have marked a Centennial Aviation Celebration with fly-ins, airshows, and a weekend air tour.
A proclamation issued by Gov. Susana Martinez credited aviation with supporting 48,795 jobs and cited the role general aviation airports play in supporting firefighting responses. Martinez’s proclamation also noted that visitors to New Mexico who arrive in general aviation aircraft spend $61 million, providing economic support to many local communities.
Yasmina Platt, AOPA central southwest regional manager, expressed her appreciation for the governors’ actions. Platt is scheduled to participate in New Mexico’s celebratory events by attending the New Mexico Aviation Conference in Ruidoso Sept. 19 to 21, where she will teach a safety seminar on Sept. 21 and will also attend the Ruidoso Airport Open House the following day.
Platt is also a scheduled speaker at the New Mexico Centennial Aviation Celebration opening ceremony in Santa Fe on Sept. 28.
Flying over Manhattan en route to Nantucket for the event. Nantucket Flying Association President Chris McLaughlin introduces the documentary "Shady Lady" before a packed audience at the Dreamland Theater.
Pilot Skip Gibbs regularly uses his Bonanza A36 to bring medical volunteers and supplies to remote areas of Mexico. Just before sunset, Gibbs was flying to the historic city of El Fuerte in the state of Sinaloa where LIGA International Flying Doctors of Mercy has been doing good works since 1934.
Connecticut lawmakers have voted to recognize Gustave Whitehead as the first pilot to achieve powered flight. The bill awaits the governor’s signature, and marks the latest round in a newly revived debate.