AOPA Pilot Information Specialist Sean Collins helps a state legislator experience the joy of flight through a flight simulator at the association’s booth at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual summit.
During the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) annual summit last week in Philadelphia, Pa., AOPA explained the importance of general aviation to legislators from around the country and even gave some lawmakers the chance to try their hand at flying a flight simulator.
As part of the event, AOPA was invited to join the FAA and the National Association of State Aviation Officials on a panel at an NCSL Transportation Committee meeting to discuss what state legislators could do to protect GA. Key legislators from around the country who have a direct role in regulating transportation in their state learned that GA provides $103 billion in economic activity, supports 1.2 million jobs, and transports 166 million people every year—all with 500,000 pilots and 5,200 public-use airports. These legislators also learned about AOPA’s GA Serves America campaign and how small communities and businesses rely on GA.
To help educate the lawmakers on what they can do to foster GA in their state, AOPA provided an example of recent state legislation that has done just that: a New York Aviation Jobs Act that grants a permanent sales tax exemption on aviation maintenance to attract business and jobs to the state.
In addition to the committee discussion, AOPA also helped the lawmakers experience the joy of flight. The association invited the officials to fly its flight simulator and even programmed it to allow the legislators to fly over their home towns and land at community airports.
“This event was certainly a great opportunity for AOPA to connect with state legislators from around the country. Some came from as far away as Alaska,” said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy. “These relationships are critical to our advocacy efforts and help us effectively protect and defend GA in all 50 states.”