April 2, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Members of the Arkansas legislature have founded the Arkansas Aerospace and Aviation Legislative Caucus, created to “promote a business-friendly environment through common-sense legislation that supports the growth of the Arkansas aerospace and aviation industries.” The newly formed caucus is the brainchild of Arkansas Rep. Joe Jett (D), a pilot, aircraft owner, and AOPA member, along with Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R), who is working toward his private pilot certificate.
Twenty-five representatives and eight senators attended the first meeting on March 18. State GA caucuses have been formed in Arkansas, New Hampshire, Michigan, Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio, complementing already established general aviation caucuses in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The importance of GA’s presence in Arkansas, in terms of economic development, jobs, access, and tourism, among other things, will be the main focus of the caucus.
Arkansas is home to approximately 180 aviation and aerospace companies, including completion centers for Beechcraft and Dassault. The state is also home to 18 charter flight companies, 43 repair stations, 76 fixed-based operators, and five flight schools that operate 43 aircraft and support 72 jobs.
Yasmina Platt, AOPA’s Central Southwest regional manager, worked with Jett and Hutchinson to create the caucus by gathering statistics on the importance of GA in Arkansas. Some of those numbers include 91 publicly owned/public-use GA and community airports in the state, an economic impact on Arkansas of almost $500 million annually, airports that employ more than 5,400 residents with an annual payroll of $133.4 million, and 5,100 pilots and 3,600 aircraft based in the state.
"It is an honor to be a founding member and co-chair of the Arkansas Aerospace and Aviation Caucus,” said Jett in a press release. “The caucus can help coordinate support for workforce training and curriculum development for aerospace and aviation jobs through Arkansas’ two- and four-year universities and highlight issues and bills impacting aerospace and aviation industries under consideration by the Arkansas General Assembly."
AOPA will continue to work with the Arkansas Aerospace Alliance as well as other groups to use the caucus to educate legislators about the importance of GA to the state and introduce legislation to grow GA in the state.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
The Flying Physicians Association (FPA) has become the latest group to lend support to third-class medical reform and urge government officials to speed up their review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would expand the number of pilots who could fly without needing to obtain a third-class medical certificate, a standard that has been successfully used by sport pilots for a decade.
A survey of flying doctors found that 80 percent favor third class medical reform.
AOPA has asked the mayor of Chesapeake City, Maryland, to reconsider a proposed ban on overflights below 400 feet agl that would impact helicopter operations.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>