West Virginia officials and policymakers showed their support for general aviation at the 2009 West Virginia Aviation Conference Aug. 9 through 11.
AOPA Vice President of Local Airport Advocacy Bill Dunn spoke to the group about the importance of airport advocacy and AOPA’s ongoing efforts, including the GA Serves America campaign. He met individually with officials involved in GA issues in the state, including Gov. Joe Manchin III, a 40-year AOPA member and aircraft owner.
“The Governor is clearly dedicated to ensuring that the state has a vibrant and strong network of general aviation airports,” Dunn said.
Dunn and the governor discussed some of the challenges facing GA in the state. Manchin is a strong GA supporter and understands the value to the state’s economy. He has taken steps to reduce aircraft taxes in order to grow the number of aircraft based in the state.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito also attended the conference. Rockefeller chairs the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over aviation issues. About 100 airport managers and elected officials were at the event, hosted by the West Virginia Department of Transportation Aeronautics Commission and Yeager Airport in Charleston.
Dunn also met with Susan Chernenko, director of the WVDOT Aeronautics Commission, to discuss GA issues such as the proposed closing of the cross-wind runway at Yeager Airport to accommodate construction of a $27 million hangar for the W.Va. Air National Guard.