January 25, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
A congressman from Kansas who believes that general aviation is too important an economic engine to be misunderstood by policymakers has launched an education campaign to correct common misconceptions.
“General aviation is a $150 billion economic engine for the U.S. economy, but too few Americans actually understand what it is, how it works, or why it’s important,” wrote Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) in the first of a monthly series of letters to his colleagues. “GA is not about ‘corporate fat-cats;’ it’s about productivity. Largely utilized by small and mid-sized companies to move people and equipment in the most efficient, cost-effective way, general aviation is absolutely essential to the competitiveness and productivity of companies around the country. GA is simply a business productivity tool—much like cell phones and computers.”
Pompeo’s “Get the facts about General Aviation” letter cited information from No Plane No Gain, a joint educational undertaking by the National Business Aviation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association explaining that business aviation employs more than 1.2 million people and reaches more than 5,000 public-use airports—compared to only about 70 major airline hubs.
“Even worse, the airlines have abandoned nearly 100 mid-sized cities in just the last year,” he wrote.
Since the United States dominates the business aircraft manufacturing industry, Pompeo noted that half of the GA airplanes manufactured in the United States are exported, helping the nation’s balance of trade.
“We truly appreciate Congressman Pompeo’s efforts to educate his colleagues in Congress on a monthly basis about the importance of general aviation,” said Lorraine Howerton, AOPA vice president of legislative affairs.
Pompeo is one of GA’s strongest proponents in Congress. He is a member of the House General Aviation Caucus and strongly opposes user fees. In addition, he authored the bill protecting the Block Aircraft Registration Request program which became law.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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Changes to departure and arrival procedures in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport airspace will take effect Sept. 18, and AOPA is cautioning pilots to plan ahead for the new procedures.
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