April 22, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Recognizing the critical role that general aviation and community airports play in the lives of the citizens, as well as the operation of businesses and agriculture in the state of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has become the latest to designate April 2013 as General Aviation Appreciation Month.
“Florida is home to 190 charter flight companies, 509 repair stations, three fractional providers, and 73 flight schools operating 858 aircraft and providing 3,500 jobs,” the proclamation states. The state is also home to 154 fixed-based operators.
Many GA companies have headquarters or a major presence in Florida, including Piper Aircraft, Piaggio, Embraer, Rockwell Collins, and Avidyne, which all contribute millions of dollars to the state’s economy. Aviation organizations including the Florida Airports Council, Florida Aviation Trades Association, and the Florida Aviation Aerospace Alliance also support GA efforts.
“There are 129 public-use airports in the state, serving l,671 pilots and 25,328 general aviation aircraft, which represent nearly 80 percent of all aircraft operations in Florida,” Scott said in a statement. “The aviation industry in Florida supports over one million jobs with an annual payroll of over $30 billion, with general aviation airports supporting over 54,000 jobs and an annual payroll of $1.8 billion, and an economic benefit of $6 billion.”
The movement to exempt thousands of general aviation pilots from the third class medical certification process is gaining momentum in Congress and the aviation community.
The recent warrantless stops and searches of law-abiding pilots on general aviation flights have drawn the attention of mainstream media.
The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the Collier Trophy for “the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”
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