September 5, 2013
By Dan Namowitz
When Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe declared August 2013 to be General Aviation Appreciation Month, three city mayors joined the tribute, issuing proclamations supporting the role of GA in their communities.
AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Melissa Rudinger expressed appreciation to Beebe in a letter on behalf of the entire association and its 3,100 members in Arkansas for proclaiming the importance of general aviation’s $494.5 million annual contribution to economic activity, 5,400 jobs it provides, and the "vital role" it plays in residents’ lives.
With more than 8,100 pilots, and 3,000 based aircraft in Arkansas, the role of general aviation also won official recognition at the local level.
Following Beebe’s action, mayors Rick Elumbaugh of Batesville, Bob McCaslin of Bentonville, and Stewart Nelson of Morrilton also took measures to spotlight GA's valued presence in their communities' airports by adopting municipal proclamations. General aviation serves those communities at Batesville Regional Airport, Bentonville Municipal/Louise Thaden Field, and Morrilton Municipal Airport.
Arkansas has 90 public-use airports, and eight airports with commercial airline service.
AOPA’s Central Southwest regional manager recently put GA’s utility to the test with a whirlwind trip covering four states, seven airports, and nine meetings.
Wisconsin’s governor has signed a bill adding aviation to an existing recreational-use statute.
Smith Field in Fort Wayne, Ind., has withstood three separate attacks—in the 1970s, 1990s, and 2002—to close it and redevelop the land. Now, it's thriving.
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