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.
The management team running Chelton Flight Systems and S-Tec Corp. in Mineral Wells, Texas, for parent Cobham Avionics saw an opportunity and bought in.
AOPA met with key California legislative staffers to educate them on a proposed overflight of parks regulation.
Three-time national aerobatic champion Patty Wagstaff will speak July 29 at Build a Plane's 2014 Teachers' Day event during AirVenture.
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