June 5, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
A newly organized alliance to promote general aviation in Colorado has held its first full membership meeting, electing a board of directors and setting goals for strengthening the state’s GA community.
The first full membership session of the Colorado General Aviation Alliance took place June 1 at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, Colo. AOPA is a member of the alliance, and Bill Hamilton, AOPA’s longtime former Central regional representative, participated in the initial session on behalf of the association. David Ulane, AOPA Northwest regional manager, participated in an earlier series of organizational meetings.
Organizers believe that the Colorado General Aviation Alliance “will help provide a unified voice on aviation issues, legislation, and policies in Colorado,” said Ulane.
One important function of the group will be public education about those economic benefits, and the various ways GA serves Colorado’s communities. Ulane cited a 2008 Colorado Division of Aeronautics Economic Impact Study showing that GA airports in Colorado contribute $1.36 billion to the state economy, and provide nearly 15,500 jobs with an annual payroll exceeding $540 million.
Facilitating cooperation between Colorado General Aviation Alliance members on issues of mutual concern was another area of focus where the group is seen making members’ efforts more effective.
More than 15 state and national associations, including AOPA, are founding members of the alliance. Its board of directors—whose members will select the board’s officers at the next session—includes Iver Retrum of the Colorado Aviation Business Association, Lance Barber of the Colorado Aviation Historical Society, Walt Barbo of the Colorado Pilots Association, Tanya Gatlin of Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Mike Straka of the Colorado Aviation Business Association.
Ulane credited Barbo, Hamilton, and Retrum with being “the true catalysts” for the group’s founding. The breadth of the Colorado General Aviation Alliance membership “is testament to the strong general aviation focus in the state, and the desire of aviation interests in the state to work together on the issues,” Ulane said.
“Members in states without general aviation alliances should consider working together to start one,” he added.
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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